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Indulging in lots of different things | Weekly Snapshot

For whatever reason, it's been somewhat busy the past couple of weeks. I'm actually not sure where the past two weeks went but judging from the blank my memory is drawing, they were either boring or routine. 
LifeAlong with the majority of the country, the case count in my area is going up. It does feel as if everyone is now in fatigue and letting their guard down. It's not easy to live like this even for a few months and here we are at the end of the year and things are getting out of control. We're continuing to try to stay mostly indoors and socially distance when with company. I'm encouraged that the schools in the area have been able to keep the case trend at extremely low levels. My daughter's school has not had any cases so I'm considering sending her and my son to school/daycare during Spring. But with the rising cases, it feels difficult to take that step.
Not looking forward toWe're getting to the point where all my appointments are due soon. I …

Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani


Sunbolt
Absolutely. Justice served with a side of pineapple. That's what I'm here for.

If you told me that I could potentially love a book that featured vampires, werewolves, and other paranormal characters, I would have smiled politely and promptly forgotten the book you were trying to recommend. (I do love Bram Stoker's Dracula though - one of the most original books I've ever read.) If I had spent any amount of time on Sunbolt's Goodreads page and saw that it was categorized under Paranormal Fantasy, I would probably not have given it even a few pages. But Jenny's review couple of months ago and my general lack of awareness regarding what the book was about worked in Sunbolt's favor. And boy, am I glad I read it!

Before you turn away, let me emphasize that although I did mention vampires and werewolves in the above paragraph, Sunbolt is less about them than it is about this magical world where many of these kinds of charactes co-exist. (Plus, no one is dating a vampire or proclaiming the many eye candy benefits of being with one.) Intisar Khanani is now on my list of of authors to watch out her. She writes a beautiful hand and a compelling tale.

Hitomi is a Promise, an untrained magician who is generally viewed with suspicion by most of the people of Karolene, where Hitomi lives. Not being native to Karolene, she tends to get picked on by people trying to cause trouble. Hitomi is also a part of the Shadow League, an underground movement whose main goal is to overthrow the corrupt and villainish Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame. When they get wind of a ploy by Blackflame to assassinate a leading politician, they try to save the latter and his family. But a lot of things go wrong and Hitomi finds herself captured with no chance of escape.

That, in a nutshell, is what Sunbolt is about. When I started reading the book, I found the writing very easy to get lost in and the book an addicting one to come back to every time. I wasn't quite sold on the plot initially but when I finished it, I couldn't quite stop believing that I loved it. That's a strange way to feel about a plot-oriented book that's more a novella than a full-length novel.

In Sunbolt, Khanani creates a world that feels very natural. She doesn't waste her time in world-building or introducing complex characters. She lets the plot do that at its own pace without making the reader feel lost. To me, that was one of the selling points of this book because the author takes you right into the heart of the book without running the risk of starting the book with a slow introduction.

Yes, there are supernatural characters and if you are like me, maybe you will prefer not having them in your books. To me though, these characters felt more substantial and relatable than the ones in a typical paranormal fantasy book. (Not that I have a problem with those characters - I do love the Vampire Diaries TV show, but this book is as far away from that brand of paranormalcy (paranormalism? paranormality? paranormaltion?) as possible.

Sunbolt is also super-diverse. It had a feel of being set in the Middle East and the character map could have easily spanned across the spectrum. It felt super good to read a fantasy set in a non-European, non-American locale. I'll be watching out for the next book in this series (trilogy?).


I received this book for free for review from the publisher via NetGalley.

Comments

bermudaonion(Kathy) said…
I can tell you loved this book but I'm not good with magical worlds so I'll think about it.
Aarti said…
I really liked this one, too! I like Khanani a lot. If you haven't read Thorn, I highly recommend that one, too :-)
Hooray! I'm glad you liked it! I've been super excited to read Thorn ever since I got through with Sunbolt.
literaryfeline said…
You've sold me on this one, Athira. This sounds like something I would really like.
iliana said…
I used to love vampires a lot more before they were everywhere but I do like the sound of this one! So glad you discovered this one and I'll have to add it to my radar!
jen mullen said…
I loved it! I also enjoyed Thorn by Khanani.