Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani
Released June 13th, 2013
Received as an ebook through NetGalley
The winding streets and narrow alleys of Karolene hide many secrets, and Hitomi is one of them. Orphaned at a young age, Hitomi has learned to hide her magical aptitude and who her parents really were. Most of all, she must conceal her role in the Shadow League, an underground movement working to undermine the powerful and corrupt Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame.
When the League gets word that Blackflame intends to detain—and execute—a leading political family, Hitomi volunteers to help the family escape. But there are more secrets at play than Hitomi’s, and much worse fates than execution. When Hitomi finds herself captured along with her charges, it will take everything she can summon to escape with her life.
This book completely took me by surprise. Khanani may be an indie author, but this book is as good as (if not better than) many of the books currently sitting in the YA section at Barnes & Noble. If you enjoy reading about powerful females saving people and kicking butt, then this book is for you.
Sunbolt is a novella, so it is fairly short. Most readers will tell you that this doesn’t have an impact on the quality of the book, and I agree with that to a certain extent. However, I do feel that the novel was lacking emotional depth. In the first half, we are thrust into action and adventure, yet we aren’t given the necessary amount of time to form a connection with the protagonist. As a result, I often found myself wondering why I should care about the protagonist to begin with. Why should I be invested in her story? Why should I want her to succeed? I almost felt as if I was handed an incomplete book because of that lack of emotional and mental development.
Other than that, this novella had all the makings of a good fantasy. The protagonist, Hitomi, is a person of color (which is AWESOME). She’s resourceful, intelligent, strong, and witty. She’s also determined and full of a desire to help the people around her.
Being a fantasy novel, magic does play a significant role in the story. There are also vampire and werewolf-like creatures, as well as other creatures such as a “breather” which basically can suck the soul out of you. There aren’t really any love interests in the novella, so if you’re looking for romance this isn’t the place to find it.
Overall, I think this series has potential and I’m looking forward to reading the next installment once it comes out.
Thanks for reading,