A lesbian princess/priestess-in-disguise slow burn overthrow an empire? Sign me up. I couldn’t resist this book, and Tasha Suri didn’t disappoint with THE JASMINE THRONE, a complicated and messy fantasy full of political machinations and characters that are easy to love and hard to trust.
Rating: 4 stars!
Thanks to Orbit for the eARC of this book. It has not affected my honest review.
Content Warnings: violence, gore/blood, murder, poisoning, public execution, nonconsensual drug use, homophobia, suicidal thoughts, self-mutilation, abuse.
About the book:
Imprisoned by her dictator brother, Malini spends her days in isolation in the Hirana: an ancient temple that was once the source of the powerful, magical deathless waters — but is now little more than a decaying ruin.
Priya is a maidservant, one among several who make the treacherous journey to the top of the Hirana every night to clean Malini’s chambers. She is happy to be an anonymous drudge, so long as it keeps anyone from guessing the dangerous secret she hides.
But when Malini accidentally bears witness to Priya’s true nature, their destinies become irrevocably tangled. One is a vengeful princess seeking to depose her brother from his throne. The other is a priestess seeking to find her family. Together, they will change the fate of an empire.
What did I think?
This is a slow paced fantasy, especially to start with. If you’re expecting a fast past battle packed fantasy, you’ll be disappointed. Which would be a shame, because THE JASMINE THRONE is a fantastic start to a series that will no doubt ruin me emotionally. The first few chapters of the book do take some time to get into, there’s a lot of worldbuilding being introduced where the political and religious influences are introduced in turn. However, that worldbuilding is so, so interesting and I enjoyed learning each and every facet of this Indian inspired fantasy world. There are varied gods and spirits, and I really enjoyed the way they were threaded throughout the story. If you like conflicted family relationships, twisted backstories and slow burn love full of mistrust, THE JASMINE THRONE is the perfect read. The prose is supremely readable, and I absolutely stormed through this book despite the length. Tasha Suri’s writing is beautiful and descriptive, and I felt completely immersed in each of the settings. The magic system is really interesting, with the magical deathless waters. It’s unusual, and I don’t want to delve too much into what happens later on in the book as I liked the way it all unfolded, but it kept me really curious about what was going on under the surface. There’s also the rot, a disease that’s spreading with frightening speed and strange symptoms, and that had me hooked from the first chapter.
Every character in this book has secrets upon secrets upon secrets. Especially our main characters, Priya and Malini, who have complex and messy backstories that they keep to themselves for good reasons and bad. It made their relationship a glorious slow burning simmer, as they flutter back and forth between their attraction and trust, mistrust and (rightful) paranoia. It was gorgeous, and I loved watching them draw closer and closer together. And the wonderful moments of dagger-to-the-ribs and kissing-under-waterfalls made me fall in love with them even more. I can’t wait to read more from this series and find out what happens next. I honestly feel like this is the kind of book that when I inevitably reread it, I’ll find even more hidden depths to this politically steeped fantasy.
Release Date: 10th June 2021