“This was what she had needed. Not forgiveness, not a balm for this strange writhing fury inside her, but the promise of someone to care for–to love–that she could not harm. Even if she had to. Even if she tried.”
Savagely beautiful, The Jasmine Throne kept me riveted from the first page all the way through until the last heart-stopping moment. Fierce characters, bold storylines, and incredible prose all combined into a book unlike anything I’ve read.
From the violent and misguided fanaticism of Chandra to the quiet desperation of Rukh, each character showed a different side to the multi-faceted gem of this world. And what world building! Ahiranya was complex and beautiful-but also broken, with other cultures and peoples crushed and forgotten. The complicated political factions between those with differing views of what Ahiranya should be was engrossing, to say the least. This struggle of will became a powder keg waiting to explode, the question being who will be left standing when the dust settles.
While the world was amazing, the characters were even more so. Chandra, Emperor of Parijatdvipa, has widened the divide between the peoples of Ahiranya. He is the match that starts the blaze. His cruelty leads him to punish his sister Malini by imprisoning her in the Hirana, a holy temple where children with unexplained powers were once burned alive.
Malini is cunning and manipulative. Her form of rebellion is the sort that draws people to a cause and convinces them to take the final step from thought to deed. She can form armies, stage coups, and maybe even kill emperors- if she can escape the Hirana. What I loved most about Malini was her ability to use people and feel zero guilt over it. At times, it was difficult to tell if she was a hero, or simply a different sort of villain.
Priya was my favorite. All sharp edges, she was once a child of the Hirana. She escaped the fire that killed her brothers and sisters, but not unchanged. Her early experiences molded her into someone tough yet vulnerable. She carries a strength and fierceness in her that will carry her through rebellions and give her the strength to blaze her own way. She is also a rebel, in her own way, although her end goal is far different. I expected her to be cold or unfeeling simply because of her past, but she showed a strong sense of loyalty and compassion. It came out particularly well when she interacted with Rukh, a boy that she rescues.
Bhumika is a rebel of a different sort. She uses her status as wife of the regent of Ahiranya to fight in secret. She hides in plain view, subtly doing what she can to protect those in need of it. She is a bit of a contradiction, and I loved seeing more of her personality come out during the course of the book. She is not someone I would want to mess with, I’ll say that.
Other players dance in and out of the narrative, showing up at pivotal moments that set the story moving in directions I would never have expected. No character is superfluous; instead, each adds to the book in important ways.
I have to touch on the mythology and religions in The Jasmine Throne. I won’t explain it because there is no way I could do it justice, but wow. This was a book that was impossible to put down, even though I dreaded reaching the end. I am desperate to read book two of The Burning Kingdoms.
Read The Jasmine Throne. I guarantee you’ll love it.
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