The Jasmine Throne: Burning Kingdoms #1 by Tasha Suri
Reviewed by Laura Fliegel
This book is pure excellence and you need to read it immediately!!
Holy crap, like, being coherent is going to be hard, The Jasmine Throne is so excellent and phenomenal!
Malini is the imperial daughter and her brother who is currently emperor has been using his newly-gained power to burn women to purify them and Parijatdvipa, and execute or get rid of any advisors who are not Parijati. When he sends Malini and her two handmaids to be burned at the pyre, Malini refuses to walk into the fire, and per their religion she cannot be forced; it must be a willing sacrifice. In punishment, Chandra sends her to the Hirana, which used to be the religious center of Ahiranya but is now haunted by the spirits of the elders and temple children who were burned alive because of Parijati fear of the powers so like the yaksa that was growing in them.
Priya is a handmaiden, but once she was a child of the temple. In a land where rot is infecting people and making them like the yaksa, more plant and earth than human before dying, she uses her wages to buy sacred wood beads for those infected in order to help them live a little longer. When she has an opportunity to return to the Hirana of her childhood, and earn more wages, she takes it and tips a series of events into play where rebels are hoping to find the Deathless Waters and return Ahiranya to its glory and freedom.
Bhumika is the wife of the Parijati regent of Ahiranya as his Ahiranyian bride, a choice that was made to smooth tensions after he’d ordered the deaths of all the Temple’s inhabitants. She is also a powerful force doing what little she can to help those orphaned and in need by offering jobs and a place in her household, but also there’s more going on with her behind the scenes.
This book is such a gorgeous layering of personalities, political machinations, making the wrong and hard choices for what are believed to be the right reasons. These characters are all so nuanced and complex, full of individual motivations. I loved the variety of interpersonal dynamics and the different strengths all the characters have.
I really don’t want to spoil anything, but suffice to say I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do with myself while waiting for the sequel. I already loved Suri’s writing after reading her Books of Ambha duology, and this book has just more firmly cemented that she is an author to watch! The romance, the politics, the characters are all so beautiful and woven together so excellently. I do not have enough words to express how much I loved this, except to say I kept wanting to scream in joy and horror and surprise—a full ride of a book!
Published by Orbit, June 8, 2021