Sunbolt – Intisar Khanani

4 Stars

Absolutely lovely. A familiar feeling fantasy, Khanani has built an interesting world with fleshed out characters. Sunbolt is just so short and I’m dying to pick up the next in the series, I’d gladly read hundreds of pages more.

I mean just look at this synopsis (from Goodreads):

The winding streets and narrow alleys of Karolene hide many secrets, and Hitomi is one of them. Orphaned at a young age, Hitomi has learned to hide her magical aptitude and who her parents really were. Most of all, she must conceal her role in the Shadow League, an underground movement working to undermine the powerful and corrupt Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame.

When the League gets word that Blackflame intends to detain—and execute—a leading political family, Hitomi volunteers to help the family escape. But there are more secrets at play than Hitomi’s, and much worse fates than execution. When Hitomi finds herself captured along with her charges, it will take everything she can summon to escape with her life.

I don’t know how Khanani does it, but in just 142 short pages she builds up an interesting world, interesting characters and ends the book on a satisfying enough note to call it the end of a book. Magic!

The main character and cast of Sunbolt are people of color and it’s set in a non-Westernized setting, which is a refreshing change of pace.

Sunbolt is the first in The Sunbolt Chronicles.

A version of this review first appeared on Goodreads on April 23.