Hey people !
I hope y’all are healthy and happy.
Today, I am going to review one of my most anticipated 2021 releases.
First of all, Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this arc in exchange for an honest review.
Goodreads Synopsis –
Imprisoned by her dictator brother, Malini spends her days in isolation in the Hirana: an ancient temple that was once the source of the powerful, magical deathless waters — but is now little more than a decaying ruin.
Priya is a maidservant, one among several who make the treacherous journey to the top of the Hirana every night to clean Malini’s chambers. She is happy to be an anonymous drudge, so long as it keeps anyone from guessing the dangerous secret she hides.
But when Malini accidentally bears witness to Priya’s true nature, their destinies become irrevocably tangled. One is a vengeful princess seeking to depose her brother from his throne. The other is a priestess seeking to find her family. Together, they will change the fate of an empire.
It was no secret how excited I was about this book ! This book caught my attention the moment I heard ‘Indian Epic Fantasy’ and the moment I saw its gorgeous cover.
And I am so happy to say that this book surely lived up to my expectations !
Warning – This is not going to be a well organized review. Its just going to be me blabbering about how much I loved it.
What is this Book about?
So, ‘The Jasmine Throne‘ by Tasha Suri is the first book in ‘Burning Kingdoms’ trilogy. It is a world inspired by the history and epics of India. It also throws light on the prejudices against women and politics. And its Sapphic !
We are following two main characters in this story. First is Priya, a maidservant who works in the Regent’s palace. And the other is Princess Malini who refuses to burn and is exiled into Hirana by her Emperor brother.
This book starts with fire, and I mean FIRE. And that fire doesn’t die throughout the book.
We are transported to Ahiranya which faces a peculiar disease called ‘Rot’. Ahiranya has been conquered by Parijatdvipa. The unrest and tension keeps rising as the masked revels set on violent ways to free themselves of the Parijatdvipa’s rule. They also want to restore Ahiranya’s lost glory and magic.
“Even when we try to explain a vision of ourselves to one another – in our poetry, our song, our theater masks- we do so in opposition to you, or by looking to the past. As if we have no future.”
The magic in this world was very lush and interesting, it deals with ‘deathless river’ which has provided power to Ahiranya’s temple children. There are once born, twice born and thrice born(elders). When Parijatdvipa took over Ahiranya, the first thing they did was burn all the temple children and elders. The magic deals with thorns, roots, flowers and everything very foresty.
“There was no void in her any longer. Whatever she was- weapon, monster, cursed or gifted- she was whole.”
I also really loved our main characters Priya and Malini. Tasha Suri didn’t shy away from showing their abusive family background and their vulnerabilities, the characters have proper depth. And I fell in love with both of them. Priya is a kindhearted maidservant who narrowly escaped death as a child, she is kind but also very strong willed. And Malini is fierce, she knows what she wants and she will do anything to get it. Both are so different and yet so same.
I am not a big fan of romance usually but I loved the slow sapphic yearning in this one! It was a crazy battle of wills and power, emotions and fire. It was just so good!
“There are other versions of you that I don’t know. But this one…” Her fingers were against Malini’s lips. “This one is mine.”
“She could make herself into something monstrous. She could be a creature born of poison and pyre, flame and blood.”
There are all in all 8-9 POV(s) and normally that would confuse the heck out of me but in this one it didn’t. The most of the story is told from the perspective of our main two characters – Priya and Malini. And in between we follow other characters like – Bhumika, Rao, Ashok, Vikram, Jitesh, Chandra etc. I also really liked some of the side characters, specially Bhumika and Rao.
And omg! I loved Rukh. He is a little boy that suffers from the ‘Rot’, Priya with her kind heart wasn’t able to ignore him and brings him to the palace. And I was scared for him throughout the story! I also love the way he adds so much to Priya’s character and the story.
I was so immersed in to story from the first page, it was really difficult to put it down. The world is lush and captivating. You know the kind of book that you want to keep reading but then it ends and you suddenly feel breathless? This was that kind of book for me. This was also my first Tasha Suri’s Novel and now I cant wait to read her previous works!
Aesthetic (an effort by me) –
All in all, I love this book with all my heart. It has everything I love in fantasy – a clean and intricate plot, great characters, multi layered story, political intrigues, beautiful and ferocious world and a captivating magic system at the heart of it. A solid first book in a series and also a contender for the best 2021 release !
TW’s – homophobia, gore, violence, execution by burning, forced drug use, torture, death, body horror.