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on July 18, 2011 :
When I hear 'historical fiction' I usually think bodices and corsets, but this book was so different! First of all, I've never read a YA novel set in Arabia; secondly, I've never read one set in 200 BC! For those who don't know their history, that wasn't caveman times, it was after Alexander the Great.
The book summary gives you the premise, so I won't repeat it here. Instead, a few random observations:
This book has the best antagonist I've come across in ages! I spent the whole book wondering 'is he bad or is he good?' (You won't find out till the end. Actually, I'm still wondering about it!)
The friction between Alia and Kardal is great. They're two characters who seem fated to have tension right from the beginning. In fact, even before they meet! And the resolution chapter... great!
Which brings me to my next point: you know how when you were a teen, there were certain books you'd read over and over, and in those, certain chapters you'd read over and over? Well, this book has 2 of those for me - if I were a teenager I'd probably read those chapters every night!
Which is a nice segueway to my next point... I found Alia kind of naïve at times, but then I had to remind myself that she's 15, hasn't been anywhere, and doesn't live in times when she would see or hear much of the outside world. If I were a teen, I probably wouldn't find her naïve at all; in fact ,she's a good role model ' equal parts compassionate and brave.
I think I'm going to re-read this book and focus less on the plot, more on the writing, setting, and mood, because there are some really beautiful descriptions and evocative scenes.
I definitely recommend this book!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on July 17, 2011 :
I was privileged enough to have helped this author out by reading the first couple of chapters for her so I was really excited to read this when it was released. I have Jody's other books on my to-read list but this was the first one I've read to far. Set in 200 B.C. Middle East this was different from anything I have read, ever. You can tell much research went into this book and the descriptions were so colorful I could see everything play out in my mind as I read. A few extras in this book, like a map of the trail, glossary of words, and a well written afterwards were just an added bonus. I highly recommend this book!
This is a story about a teenage princess, still dealing with the grief of the death of her mother, recovering from a illness that had swept through the town she lives in, feeling like she has not seen anything in her young life, and a desire for adventure. Not the oldest child and not the youngest, she feel stuck in a lavish life being in the middle, knowing soon she will be married off.All she wants is be heard and help get her father's kingdom thriving again. When no one will listen to her or her ideas and seeing a small caravan of traders stop in her town she decides her wanted adventure time is now. With the help of her best friend/servant she disguises herself as a boy, as the traders will not take a young unmarried woman with them, no less a princess! Alia gets more than she bargains for as the desert and it's harsh elements show her trust, friendship, life and death. As she starts to find herself and her purpose in life, she realizes she has a lot to learn, as life outside of the palace walls is not always fair. She wears her heart on her sleeve and stands up for what she believes is right, although the caravan leaders are not so sympathetic to anyone. I would LOVE to see a sequel to this book! *wink wink*
(reviewed within a month of purchase)