The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri
|The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri|
|Reviewer: Amber Wells|
|Summary: An Indian inspired fantasy that breathes new life into the genre.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 592||Date: June 2021|
|External links: Author's website|
On the night of her sacred burning, Princess Malini defies her brother and refuses to step on to the pyre. She is immediately sent to be imprisoned on the Hirana: an ancient temple that was once filled with a community of people who got powers from the mysterious deathless waters. But now the temple is nothing more than an overgrown, decaying ruin. One day, Malini witnesses a girl kill someone with magic. Instead of reporting her for such a gruesome crime, Malini claims that the girl saved her from an attacker and begs for the girl to become her own personal maidservant.
Priya has remained anonymous her whole life. So when she if expected to leave her current position to become the princesses personal maidservant, she is happy to remain relatively insignificant after almost being caught for murder. But travelling each day to the Hirana brings its own troubles. The Hirana remembers its own, and soon the deathless waters start calling Priya's name. In a desperate deal, the two agree to work together in order to achieve their own goals. Malini is a neglected princess that wishes to depose her wicked brother of his throne, whilst Priya is a secret priestess seeking to find her lost family. If they want to succeed, they must bring down the empire.
Despite Malina and Priya being the two lead perspectives, there are about ten perspectives in total that we encounter throughout this novel. At first, most of them seem completely unconnected. This meant that it took me a while to really immerse myself into this story because there are so many names are thrown at you in the opening chapters that it's hard to discern what plot line goes with who, and you are barely given any time to keep up. But once I got used to all of the characters and managed to keep their storylines straight in my head, I really began to enjoy it. By the end, it became clear that these perspectives are just as important as Malina and Priya's, and they soon began to weave and merge with each other to create one complex and layered plot.
There is quite slow build up throughout; any advancement in character interactions, plots, and any political intrigue are shared in small snippets, but it's worth it by the end because of the big political climax it leaves us with. The slowness bothered me a little bit since I like faster paced novels more, however, it never felt like it dragged in any parts. It felt like the natural pace that the story should be told at.
The gorgeous world building and magic system were undoubtedly my favourite aspects of this novel. Everything about the World was lush and vivid. And as an Indian inspired fantasy, it was refreshing to experience another place that didn't feel like a murky European town set in the middle ages. Instead, we got a vibrant culture with new and interesting takes on tired fantasy tropes. I also enjoyed the exploration of a sickness called the "rot", and how it had a sort of cruel beauty in the way it was presented: It's an incurable illness caught from diseased plants—so it is most common amongst farming families who work in agriculture—and it develops in people as patterns of vines and flowers beneath the skin. I found this imagery to be quite beautiful, but it was also quite upsetting to see how destructive it was in one of the younger characters we follow.
Overall, this was a highly enjoyable fantasy and I look forward to its sequel. Other books I would suggest if you also enjoyed this would be Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri and Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
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