Originally read 17th November 2013, reread 19th June 2016. And I still love it.
Book 1 of The Sunbolt Chronicles
I chose this for my Diverse Universe reading because I liked the cover that I saw posted over on BookLust so double thanks to Aarti for this read :)
Intisar Khanani, the author, is from Wisconsin with her family having origins in Pakistan, where she still has extended family.
As for the book, it starts out on the island of Karolene. Hitomi has lived there for a number of years, but she has never managed to fit in. She is sixteen now1 and is an orphan. Her father died and her mother joined the ranks of the Disappeared one day. Now Hitomi makes her living however she can. Thieving occasionally. And helping out the Shadow League whenever she can. They are a secret organisation trying to recover Karolene from the darkness into which it is slipping under the influence of Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame.
When I first starting reading this it felt like an entertaining, but fairly predictable “young thief’s adventures”. But although it is a short story2 there is plenty more going on.
Hitomi is a character who is doing the best she can in trying circumstances, she doesn’t really know what’s going on, and there is plenty out there to surprise her, usually not in a good way. There is a wonderful sense in a much larger world than the one Hitomi knows about. She knows her island, its people and streets, but when she is taken from there she begins to realise just how big the world is. The world building is excellent, you really get the impression there is a whole world out there, a history and cultures that have shaped the different lands and people. I know I’ll be getting the next book in this sequence, and, so that I don’t let Khanani’s writing slip out of my memory I have already downloaded her short story The Bone Knife and I think I’ll most probably read her novel Thorn as well.
Other reviews : Refracted light ; Runaway Pen
I really enjoyed Thorn, so I hope you give that one a shot! I think it may seem similar at first – a fairly straight-forward retelling of the Goose Girl. But the world building is really wonderful and the characters are so well fleshed-out and it's easy to fall in love with them. I highly recommend it.
I have this one on my Kindle to read but am wondering if i should wait until the other ones are out, too, so that I can read them all at once!
Aarti´s last blog post ..A More Diverse Universe Link Post
I've just started Thorn. Enjoying it so far.
The only problem with waiting for a series to be completed before starting it is that sometimes the anticipation of a new book is part of the fun. Plus you get to reread :)
Thanks so much for this review of Sunbolt! So glad you enjoyed it. It has been a lot of fun to develop a non-traditional "world" for an epic fantasy story :)
Intisar Khanani´s last blog post ..Cover Reveal and Giveaway – Fanged Outcast by Elisabeth Wheatley
You're very welcome:) I look forward to seeing more of the world.