Çeda, the heroine of the widely anticipated, just-released novel Twelve Kings in Sharakhai, is the youngest pit fighter in the history of the great desert city of Sharakhai. In this prequel, she has already made her name in the arena as the fearsome, undefeated White Wolf; none but her closest friends and allies know her true identity.
But this all changes when she crosses the path of Rümayesh, an ehrekh, a sadistic creature forged long ago by the god of chaos. The ehrekh are usually desert dwellers, but this one lurks in the dark corners of Sharakhai, toying with and preying on humans. As Rümayesh works to unmask the White Wolf and claim Çeda for her own, Çeda’s struggle becomes a battle for her very soul.
Thanks to the publisher and author for a copy of Of Sand and Malice Made (The Song of the Shattered Sands #0.5) in exchange for an honest review. Receiving a copy of the novella did not influence my thoughts or opinions.
I have been seeing Beaulieu’s works across social media so I figured it was time to give them a shot. What really had me intrigued were the covers for his Song of the Shattered Sands series; each one more beautiful than the next. I have also seen reviews from some bloggers I wholeheartedly trust and felt confident going into Of Song and Malice Made.
While I do enjoy novellas, what with the ability to read some in very short periods of time (because we all know time is a rarity), I don’t know if the way Of Sand and Malice made was structured allowed me to enjoy the introduction to the series as much as I would’ve wanted. Instead of it being a straightforward storyline, it is broken up into three (3) separate parts that end up being forming the larger narrative. I feel like with each story, I had to gear back up to become engrossed instead of sticking with a pure timeline. This may work for others, but unfortunately it didn’t for me.
On the flipside, the character of Çeda, the world-building, and the gorgeous prose that Beaulieu packs into this “short novel” shine through bright as the morning sun. It is a great introduction to a strong female protagonist who I would put on a pedestal next to Nona and Tam Hashford. Çeda is a very likable and cunning character that I cannot wait to see more of, and the ability to see her beginnings make for an impatient wait to start Book 1. I am also excited to see more of the world we receive a small glimpse of here. The way the author uses language to describe even the streets have me drooling to see the larger landscape.
All in all, Of Sand and Malice made is a good introduction to the larger series. I am hoping to start Twelve Kings fairly soon.