So this being my first official review ever it might come across as amateurish. Sure I’ve “reviewed” some books on other websites but never on the blog.
Beaulieu’s epic saga about Çeyda started with Twelve Kings in Sharakhai in september of 2015. I don’t remember how I found about this book but I do remember how long it to get it, it took 3,5 months which was a pretty long wait, but boy was it worth the wait!
In a time where we’re learned to hate everything middle-eastern Bradley’s writing reminds you of why you loved everything about it. It’s safe to say every one of us grew up with the rich Arabian nights tales often filled with mythical creatures and strong characters. As a small child I devoured books about myths and legends and I always wanted to be a strong warrior, sadly most warriors are men and it proved difficult to find a strong female warrior. Luckily over the years more and more strong women appeared in the many books I read but non of them are so intriguing as Çeyda
I’ll not go into too much detail as I don’t want to ruin it for those of you who haven’t read it.
In Twelve Kings we get to know Çeyda, she’s a pitfighter in Sharakhai the great city in the Shanghazi desert. Sharakhai is controlled by 12 ancient kings who came to power by betraying one of their own. We also learn some about the mythical creatures the Asirim and Erekh and a beautiful flower called the Achidara, this flower holds great power and Çeyda’s mom secretly harvested the petals on the holy night of Beth Zha’ir.
Bradley’s worldbuilding is superior and he really does take you into the dessert to fight along Çeyda. Normally I’m a sucker for maps and I can’t really imagine what the world looks like without one but the way he builds his world I didn’t need one. His characters are well-developed and there’s no excessive infodumping going on, to be honest I hope he will write more books set in this world I simply can’t get enough of it
While the first book mainly focussed on Çeyda and her friends and family the second one also shows you the world from the kings points of view which is really refreshing, often all you read is about the good guys and small bits about the evil ones and how they came to be evil. We also get to read more of my favorite characters Ramahd and Meryam who come from a neighbouring kingdom and were captured by an evil force at the end of book 1. We also get to read more about Emre who has been Çeyda’s best friend ever since they were kids unfortunately he seems to be on a different from her, their choices put them in a difficult situation early on in the story. I have to say I was quite surprised when I learned of the secrets kept by some of the kings, there’s twists I never expected to happen.
Another thing i love about these books is that there are no damsels in distress every woman is strong yet vulnerable in their own way. Meryam for instance is a powerful blood sorceress however her grief makes her a very relatable person. The blade maidens are all admirable in their beliefs and strengths and i would love to be as strong and agile as they are.
The fight scenes are glorious in every wich way, the weapons described come to life and you can totally envision them. I’ve always had a very vivid imagination but the way Beaulieu describes the fights I didn’t need to imagine things.
There’s so much more to say but I’d rather have you throw your money at him so he can keep on writing. I’ve almost read all of his books and I love all of them dearly. Sharakhai couldn’t have come at a better time last year was a real struggle for me and Beaulieu’s books helped me get through that in many ways. He gave me the honor of being a beta reader for With Blood Upon the Sand which meant i got to read it when it was unfinished in his eyes, for me it was perfect from the get go. another thing I love are the covers of his books, the US covers are absolutely stunning. I shall now show you some of the covers and to get you in the mood for this epic tale here’s some amazing belly dancing
With Blood Upon the Sand hits the shelves on february 7th but if you’re Canadian you can order it already