After reading this book, I know I can honestly look Saladin Ahmed in the eye at this year's JordanCon and say, "Your book was fantastic. And it made me crave cardamon tea." (I actually drink my own blend of cardamon heavy chai, so it's not a far stretch. But I did spend an inordinate amount of time wondering what the blend at the tea-shop had as ingredients.)
It was very refreshing to read a book set in a world with the middle eastern flavors of ours. It felt at once familiar, and also exotic, and delightfully not medieval. I'm hoping to see Adoulla and rest of the characters fleshed out a bit more in future books, and pacing steadied, but my minor quibbles will not stop me from giving 4 out of 5 stars, or from reading book two when it comes out. The descriptions of foods and life were very evocative. But, (And take my word for this, please) if you tend to sit down with a tea and a nibble, be sure not to think you'll partake if reading the prologue (I) or the lettered interludes. Ahmed does gory well.
(For those unused to my reviewing style, I usually don't include plot summaries. Those are online elsewhere and easily found. I'm more apt to record my response to a book.)
Tags: e-book, fantasy, first-novel-or-book, made-me-look-something-up, part-start-of-a-series, read