RELEASE DATE: June 17th 2019
AUTHOR: Maria V. Synder
GENRE: Young-Adult, Adventure, Fantasy.
PUBLISHER: Harper Collins
‘He thinks you are the thief…’
Shyla is a researcher who resides in the underground desert city of Zirdai, which is ruled by the wealthy Water Prince and brutal Heliacal Priestess. Even though Shyla is sun-kissed – an outcast, considered cursed by the Sun Goddess – she is still renowned for uncovering innumerable archaic facts, lost artefacts, ancient maps, and obscure historical documents.
Her quiet life is about to change when Banqui, an archaeologist, enlists her services to find The Eyes of Tamburah: legendary gemstones that bestows great magic to its wielder. These ancient objects can tip the balance of power and give whoever possesses them complete control of the city.
But chaos erupts when The Eyes are stolen soon after they’re found – and Shyla is blamed for the theft. Forced to flee, with the Prince’s soldiers and the Priestess’ deacons on her trail, Shyla must recover the jewels and clear her name. A quest that will unearth secrets even more valuable than The Eyes of Tamburah themselves…
I never thought that I would like slow adventures and this book proved me wrong. It was actually my first book by Maria V. Synder and I’m very much impressed. Although there were some minor issues, the overall story was a great read. I enjoyed the characters, the setting, the adventure, the quests, and the intriguing plot. The concept was very unique. It felt more like Tomb raider meets Indiana Jones.
The story follows twenty year old Shyla who’s a researcher and also a sun-kissed with blond hair. In Zirdai, the Sun-kissed are considered to be cursed by the sun goddess and they’re sacrificed to the desert. Luckily Shyla was raised by the monks and after she had left the monastery, she earns for her living by finding missing artifacts and lost treasures. Her quiet life is disturbed when the water prince’s chief archaeologist who’s also her employee Banqui enlists her services to find The Eyes of Tamburah: legendary gemstones that bestows great magic to its wielder. Shyla succeeds in finding its hidden place, but while retrieving the eyes it was stolen by someone. Shyla is blamed for the theft and if she doesn’t recover the jewels, she would face serious consequences. While being chased by the prince’s soldiers and the priestess’ deacons, Shyla must find the mysterious people who had stolen the eyes, and during her search she uncovers secrets that will change her destiny.
I really liked Shyla! She’s smart, determined, independent, and a snarky character. She loves exploring the outside world and discovering lost artifacts. I found her character pretty fun and enjoyable. She always stood strong even when people shunned her. She never gave up even when the odds were against her. Next we have, the water prince’s commander Rendor. He’s a little bit broody and aloof, but I like him. He was ordered to be with Shyla and track her every moment. If he failed in his mission, then they both would be executed. I loved the slow burn romance between Shyla and Rendor. I enjoyed their relationship and I’m totally shipping it. There’s also another interesting roguish character that we meet in the second half. Some of his actions angered me but overall I really enjoyed his character. To not spoil things for you guys I wouldn’t say anything about him.
The plot was engaging but the pacing might be a bit slow for some readers. Personally, it didn’t bother me much because I quite enjoyed the protagonist and her quest to find the mysterious group called The Invisible Sword. There are some clever twists and turns in the book which I really loved. There are also some dark and gritty scenes so be warned. The author’s writing was good. The entire book was written in Shyla’s third person POV. The world building was unique and well written. All the people in this book are dark skinned. Our heroine has dark skin, golden eyes, and blonde hair. Zirdai is actually an underground city. Most population lives in underground because the surface is a desert and during the mornings the sun’s heat becomes too deadly to live. The time in this world was measured in angles, sun jumps, and circuits which was the only aspect that I had a hard time following with because the author didn’t provide any glossary. The magical system was interesting and I would love to learn more about it.
Overall, this was a good start to a new series. It was an enjoyable read filled with adventure, quests, magic, and a dash of romance. I can’t wait to know what the author has in store for us.
I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a unique YA fantasy read.
Unfortunately, this book is currently available for Australian readers only but there’re some outlets that sells paperback copy to international readers.