The winding streets and narrow alleys of Karolene hide many secrets, and Hitomi is one of them. Orphaned at a young age, Hitomi has learned to hide her magical aptitude and who her parents really were. Most of all, she must conceal her role in the Shadow League, an underground movement working to undermine the powerful and corrupt Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame.
When the League gets word that Blackflame intends to detain—and execute—a leading political family, Hitomi volunteers to help the family escape. But there are more secrets at play than Hitomi’s, and much worse fates than execution. When Hitomi finds herself captured along with her charges, it will take everything she can summon to escape with her life.
Review by Katy Haye:
This book is gorgeous. It’s an utter, utter gem. I adored it.
The world-building was superb. I could feel the sunshine and smell the sea in Karolene’s market (which is a bonus, since it’s a miserable spring in my part of the world presently).
And the fantasy was also beautifully thought-through. I often find “straight” fantasy a bit unlikely – very showy and melodramatic with spells flying as fast as sword strokes. Sunbolt avoided those errors by grounding itself thoroughly. There’s magic here … and it’s difficult, exhausting and there are consequences when you use it.
Intisar’s writing was lovely. The words faded away so I was simply right there with Hitomi, who was a fabulous character, utterly convincing and complex. Sunbolt is written in first person present, which I know a lot of people hate (I’m cautious, myself), but I promise it works effortlessly here; I didn’t even notice the point of view. The dialogue was a particular delight: light, concise but conveying more than its weight in information and character.
I was given a copy of Sunbolt in exchange for a review from YA Bound Book Tours, and I’m immeasurably glad of it because I might never have discovered it otherwise. I loved it so much I’ve just bought a paperback copy. This is one for my “keeper” shelf. A well-deserved five out of five.
If you like fantasy at all, give it a try (plus, the e-version is only 99p/99c at present – I can’t tell you what a bargain that makes it). It’s as good as Leigh Bardugo. Really.
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