"Mgeni! Stay a moment; I have your future for you." I grin, turning towards Mama Ali. She sits beneath the cloth shade of her market stall, her husband's catch heaped on the wooden counter before her: mounds of sardines, glinting silver bright in the sun.
–Intisar Khanani - Sunbolt - c.2013
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.