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The Jasmine Throne - Review

*I received this e-arc and physical copy from Orbit Books & NetGalley. All views are my own*

Whew, this one was a journey! Ever since reading Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran, I've been looking for a satisfying Indian-based story to fill my cultural anthropology curiosities. This round of insight comes from a Fantasy book entitled, The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri. It has magical water, people turning into plants, lesbian love interests, and of course, a looming war over territory because of women dying by sacrificial fire. But enough of my raggedy intro. Let's get into the review!

"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."

Hold up. Wait. Women being burned at stake??? How are you just going to breeze past that? Easily. Like this: I liked the book. Fantasy isn't my preferred genre (although it seems these last few months TLL has been riddled with them), but I was very interested in The Jasmine Throne. Suri painted a culture of ancient beliefs that were destroyed in acts of violence against children and women. The story is a deep rich-cultured world, and I liked every detail, down to food preparation to the mysterious dark wilderness that sits on the side of the country. Some people may find the detailing excessive and slow, but I think it was suitable for the book's pace.

I did tend to get lost in some of the scenes. As beautiful as everything was detailed, some images I had a hard time processing. I also almost had a fit when I notice the POVs in the story began to multiply, but as the story went along, it all started to make sense.

The two stars of this adventure are Priya and Malini – two women from very different backgrounds working together to change history. Even though it was a group effort to tell the tale, I believe Priya brought the story to life, making her my favorite. At the same time, Malini was the underlying second voice that will undoubtedly reign supreme in the sequel. I like these women because Priya is mysterious, unpredictable, and vulnerable, while Malini is essentially a con-woman who falls for the unknown. Their dynamic starts rough, but they have a loving political understanding for each other towards the end.

Overall I rated this book 4-stars. It was lengthy but worth signing up for a book club to read it. I'm invested in these characters, their strange religion, and the "rot" that's taking over people's lives. I can't wait to see how the empire turns out in book 2. Until then, gush and discuss with me and pick up The Jasmine Throne now!

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