Kinds in Sharakhai
is Bradley P. Beaulieu's first novel with
DAW Books and the start of a new and interesting series. I'm looking
forward to seeing where he takes this.
Premise: Ceda lives in Sharakhai, a city in the middle of the desert
that's ruled by twelve Kings who made a pact with the gods centuries
earlier in order to survive. But their rule is tyrannical, the populace
kept in line by the Blade Maidens and the Silver Spears. The Kings
killed Ceda's mother when she was a child and she's vowed revenge.
Using the clues left to her by her mother, she hopes to complete what
her mother started and bring the Kings down, one by one. But the clues
are frustrating and difficult to unravel, and the Kings near impossible
to get close to, protected by the Maidens. The only way to reach them
may be for Ceda to become a Blade Maiden herself.
This is a great start to a fantasy epic, with all of the details that
will make for a compelling story. Probably the books' strongest suit is
the world-building and the world itself, which is full of life, provides
a unique setting, and has a compelling history. Ships that sail on the
sands and the creatures that haunt the thorny forest that surrounds the
city are but a few of the interesting elements that bring Sharakhai to
The reader will want to unravel the mysteries Ceda is presented
with along with her. The two main characters--Ceda and Emre--are
likeable and draw you into their own personal stories, with flashbacks
that show you their backstories and how their lives became so
My only complaint is that there are obviously many more books to come in
the series (at no point does the author try to hide this fact, so it's
not a surprise) so only one main plot thread has been finished by the
end of the book, leaving many other threads hanging. It's obvious that
Emre's story has just begun, for example. But the ending is still
satisfying, while still leaving the reader wanting more.
Overall, a great start to what I hope is a spectacular series. I'm
interested in exploring this world further, and following Ceda and Emre
on whatever paths destiny sends them.
Joshua Palmatier/Benjamin Tate