Corey Reviews The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri
The Jasmine Throne is a f*cking great read.
That is all.
Corey Reviews The Oleander Sword by Tasha Suri
“Thank you to my readers for joining me for the second book in this series. I’m so glad you’re here. I hope it wasn’t too traumatic.” Author’s Acknowledgements, The Oleander Sword
Well, Tasha Suri, it was flipping traumatic, but I hold no regrets. This novel, the second in the Burning Kingdoms trilogy, continues to engulf me. Your women terrify me and worry me and enthrall me. Sometimes I’m not sure what the heck is going on but your writing pulls such strong feelings from me that I don’t care.
The first book in the trilogy, The Jasmine Throne, dropped me into a South Asian fantasy realm. The fantasy themes felt familiar – political battles for a throne, conquered lands, priests and princesses and soldiers and servants – but the language and imagery and food and clothing are so far from any fantasy novel I’ve read before. In the end, the horrific consequences for women in these realms make the ways women use and gain power even more satisfying.
The Oleander Sword is that classic middle book. Book 1 ends on a thrilling moment. Book 2 continues the stories of many men and women but my heart is with Bhumika, Priya, and Malini. Each woman is on their own journey and they are all so complicated. Priya is the easiest to love, in my opinion, and Malina the hardest because she’s terrifying. And Bhumika, she’s forced into so many compromising choices that I simply worry after her.
This book has battles. This book has machinations. This book has friendships. This book has magic. Best of all for my reading heart… this book has love and desire, as the relationship between Priya and Malina develops deeper, a dangerous thing for them both.
At one point Malina thinks about Priya, “Because I need her. Because she saw me once, for everything I was and could be, and wanted me anyway. And she sees me and wants me still, over the chasm that should make enemies of us. And yet it does not. Cannot. It was a truth like a wound, like a fragile heart exposed, and it frightened and awed her in equal measure.”
This passage could also describe my reading relationship to The Oleander Sword.
Fright and awe and desire and power and (dammit) death and sacrifice are all over these pages. Of course Book 2 ends with my reader’s heart ripped out and bleeding. Of course it was too traumatic. Of course I’m thanking you, Tasha Suri, for this journey.
Go write Book 3, please and thank you.