About the Book:
Title: The Jasmine Throne
Author: Tasha Suri
Series: Burning Kingdoms #1
Page Length: 480
Publication Date: June 8, 2021
Synopsis: Author of Empire of Sand and Realm of Ash Tasha Suri’s The Jasmine Throne, beginning a new trilogy set in a world inspired by the history and epics of India, in which a captive princess and a maidservant in possession of forbidden magic become unlikely allies on a dark journey to save their empire from the princess’s traitor brother.
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.
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The first book in The Burning Kingdoms series, The Jasmine Throne was one of my most anticipated books of 2021. A carefully constructed and nuanced story, this book captivated me from the first page and surpassed my expectations. I love the author’s beautifully poetic writing, the gripping storyline, and the amazingly layered characters and world.
Suri is an amazing storyteller who creates rich and atmospheric worlds and characters. I was so engrossed in this captivating story, and I loved the writing. The author uses vivid descriptions, wonderful imagery, and powerful symbolism, all of which fully immersed me into the novel. The world is complex, and I loved learning about the history of the many kingdoms as well as the people who inhabit them. It explores the different beliefs and faiths of the kingdoms and how their beliefs define their cultures. It shows the destructive nature of colonization and the misogyny and prejudice that permeates all of their lives. It also exposes the oppressive nature of their world and how that oppression affects all aspects of one’s life, no matter the circumstances.
The multiple points of view work so well with this story, and you really get an in-depth look at many different characters even though the perspectives mainly focus on Priya and Malini. The characters are diverse and well-crafted, each with their own goals and motivations, which often clash with the other characters in the story. I love that each voice is unique and distinct, and all of their respective stories and perspectives are compelling. These characters show that there are different kinds of strength, especially Malini and Priya.
I love Malini and Priya and their complex relationship. They, as well as the other strong female characters in the story, are so well layered and interesting. Malini is exiled by her powerful brother and forced to live in the Hirana, an ancient temple with a horrific history. It’s there where she meets Priya, a maidservant with secrets. Malini is fueled by revenge, but without help, her circumstances seem dire. She is intelligent and a bit power-hungry, and she can be ruthless at times. Malini is such a morally grey character, and I enjoyed trying to peel away the layers of her character.
Priya is so kind and stubborn, and her compassionate spirit and unwavering strength are remarkable, especially considering how difficult her life has been. From her first introduction, she shows her caring and protective nature. That’s not to say she is a pushover because she can be ruthless and hard when she needs to be, and she’s very stubborn at times as well.
As you would expect, the enemies-to-lovers relationship between Malini and Priya is complicated and messy and filled with obstacles, and I loved every second of it! It is slow-building and slow-burning and absolutely *chef’s kiss* perfect. Though it is not the main focus of the novel, it’s definitely one of my favorite parts.
Like the characters, the story is so well-layered. The magic and the mythology are complex and woven seamlessly throughout the book. Political machinations are also fascinating and detailed. The corruptive nature of power plays a predominant role in the story, as it explores the lengths people will go to attain and maintain it. Politics, the quest for power, morally grey characters, a terrible disease, revenge, rebellion, and more contribute to a unique and immersive story.
In addition, this is a thought-provoking and captivating read with strong and relevant messages, and I love that the story focuses on women – women faced with tremendous adversity who don’t succumb to the harsh dictates of society, women who resist familial greed and power and fight for what they believe in, women who fight for each other, and women who try to be true to themselves.
This is an outstanding epic fantasy that I thoroughly enjoyed reading – the perfect balance of character and plot. There’s so much more that I want to say about the plot and the characters and my experience while reading this powerful book. The political intrigue, the examination of different kinds of relationships, the plight of those infected with a deadly and horrifying illness, the detrimental effects of hubris, the corruptive nature of power, and more make for an engrossing read that I’m sure to be thinking about for a long time to come.
Evocative and immersive, The Jasmine Throne is a fantastic introduction to the Burning Kingdoms series, and I can’t wait to read the next book! I’m so thankful to NetGalley, Orbit, and Tasha Suri for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review, and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.
- The writing.
- The characters.
- The world-building.
- The romance!
If I must burn, then I’ll take you with me, throne and all.
This is a fantastic book for readers who like YA fantasy with :
- unique magic systems
- morally grey characters
- rich world-building