Tuesday 8 November 2022

Review: Spice Road by Maiya Ibrahim

In the hidden desert city of Qalia, secret spice magic aw
akens affinities in those who drink the misra tea. With an affinity for iron, seventeen-year-old Imani wields a dagger like no other warrior, garnering her the reputation as the next greatest Shield for battling the dangerous djinn, ghouls, and other monsters that lurk in the sands beyond city limits.

Her reputation has been overshadowed, however, by her brother who tarnished the family name after he was discovered stealing their nation's coveted spice - a tell-tale sign of magical obsession. He disappeared soon after, believed to have died beyond the Forbidden Wastes, and leaving Imani reeling with both betrayal and grief.

But when Imani uncovers evidence her brother may be alive and spreading their nation's magic beyond the desert, she strikes a deal with the Council to find him and bring him back to Qalia before he can reveal the city's location. Accompanied by Qayn, a roguish but handsome djinni, and Taha, a powerful beastseer whose magical talents are matched only by his arrogance, they set out on their mission.

Imani will soon discover there are many secrets that lie beyond the Forbidden Wastes - and in her own heart - but will she find her brother before his betrayals endanger the fate of all of Qalia?

📌 Publication date: 24/01/2023
📌 Disclaimer: I received an e-arc from the publisher for review   

I first heard about Spice Road on Twitter, and was excited when I saw that Hodder & Stoughton would be publishing it in the UK.

Set in an Arabian inspired world, the magic system in Spice Road is interesting and unique. Imani is a stubborn main character, frustratingly so at times. However, it's a realistic portrayal of a teen, so this is more of an observation than a criticism. I loved her fierce loyalty to her siblings, and thought her sister was a well developed secondary character. 

The romance between Imani and Taha was an enemies-to-maybe-more-to-enemies type situation. I didn't like it and am more interested in the potential second love interest, Qayn. Imani is forced to bind with Qayn -who is a djinni with a mysterious past- in order to find her brother. 

The first in a planned trilogy there is a lot of travelling and set up in Spice Road. For me, this is a 3.5 leaning towards 4 star read, I think I will enjoy the sequel more now that the foundation has been set.  


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