Tag Archives: new release

The Jasmine Throne: Blog Tour and Review

(And Why You Need to Pick It Up ASAP!)

My thoughts and review of The Jasmine Throne, a 2021 desi sapphic adult-fantasy bestseller that you need to pick up as soon as possible!

The Jasmine Throne banner
The Jasmine Throne, by Tasha Suri

(I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book from the publisher Orbit Books and Caffeine Book Tours as part of my participation in their tour)

A desi adult-fantasy with just the right ingredients!

The Jasmine Throne was in my most-anticipated releases of 2021 and I was so happy that I could participate in the blog tour! I was intrigued from the beginning and I have to say, I loved every bit of it!

🌻And so I also gave my own twist to the book cover!🌻

My take on The-Jasmine-Throne cover
The-Jasmine-Throne

The Jasmine Throne is set in a world much inspired by medieval India and along with the author’s spellbinding imagination and writing, the end product was a novel I was not going to forget anytime soon!

We follow the two protagonists Malini, an exiled princess of the kingdom and sister to a very hate-mongering Emperor, and Priya, a maidservant who is tasked to take care of her. But not all is as it seems. Behind the now, needle flower drug-addled mind of Malini, there was once a sharp wit and political wisdom and Priya has her own secrets to hide – her history as a temple child.

Apart from them there are a host of other characters – princes, rebels, lords and ladies, all of whom play various major and minor roles in the culmination of this story. Executed with stupendous talent, the world of The Jasmine Throne is one you will never forget!


Desi Representation and Other Highlights in The Jasmine Throne

🌻Women in saris

🌻The food (Oh my god, I swear I have lost count of the number of times I have smacked my lips as I read on through the nights)

🌻Traditional and religious beliefs (or rather, the way they reflected our own differences in worship and practices)

🌻The architecture (havelis, temples, pleasure houses and all of it!)

🌻THE WATERFALL WET SARI SCENE 👀

🌻Women rising against the patriarchy!

🌻Morally-grey characters and Sapphic Leads!


The-Jasmine-Throne book cover
The-Jasmine-Throne book cover

Relationships and Family Dynamics in The Jasmine Throne

Oh what a tangled thread this bit was! Human relationships and all its nuances were nudged upon via the interactions of these characters.

Malini’s brother wants her to burn to become pure. Priya’s brother wants to use her for his own agenda. Malini and Priya need to work together despite the doubts and queries about the other, that plague their minds.

We have Bhumika, a former temple-child and Priya’s temple-sister who has chosen her path to survive. There is Rukh who is torn between his loyalties. We also have Prince Rao and Prince Prem who are making allies and enemies in the path to achieving their goal.

As I read, I was amazed at the ways in which all of it was intertwined and how it affected the people and their actions.

Myths and Allusions in The Jasmine Throne

I especially love how the author included myths and legends from our own stories and alluded to them often in the book. It was like coming across Easter Eggs that really made me, as an Indian person, feel represented and alive!

Priya once tells the story of how a man was born under lucky stars and therefore could not marry another human. And so her marries a tree. For those that know, this is very much inspired from the ways Maanglik people conduct their marriages.

There was also a reference to the ‘palace of illusions’ in the form of a pleasure house that was literally named as such. Priya spoke of a beautiful queen who had many husbands – clearly a reference to Draupadi from the epic Mahabharata.

There was also the story of how Aloran people did not reveal their true names to others. It was in fact very relatable as we often do not reveal our names (those assigned at birth by the priests, and written on our astrological charts, made at the time of our births). I remember how I and my brother were told never to reveal it except for religious purposes.

World-Building, Politics and Romance

The world-building was definitely one of the best points about the book, if not the best. I loved how an entire nation was conjured up by Tasha Suri’s imagination and was given life to. The legends and historiography also helped in this regard. It was such lush imagery, that as a reader it clearly brought up images in my mind’s eye.

When it comes to the politics of this world, it is inevitable that I also talk about the secrets that the characters held close to them. They held their cards close to them throughout and it was only on the crucial points that the important bits were revealed!

A lot of the book is political precisely because of the way in which Malini and Priya meet. Being a politically exiled person, albeit a princess, Malini’s actions are limited and at the same time, every action she takes has some importance. Without trying to reveal much or give any spoilers, I must say that it is in some ways very reflective to the world today – in the curbing of the people’s ways of living, be it sexual, philosophical, political or even religious.

The romance was thrillingly slow-burn and it kept me on the edge of my seat. From princess/maid dynamics to allies to lovers, it was a long ride and I was rooting from them throughout.

What Didn’t Work

My only complaint was the way the middle bit of the story became slow. The pace was dragging and I thought some of it was just filler material and could have been done without.


What ‘The Jasmine Throne’ is about

The Jasmine Throne cover
The Jasmine Throne cover

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.

Publisher: Orbit Books

Publication date: 08 June 2021

Cover art: Micah Epstein (illustrator)Lauren Panepinto (designer)

Age group: Adult

Genres: Fantasy


Trigger/Content Warnings in The Jasmine Throne

  • Immolation/self-immolation
  • Child murder
  • Human sacrifice
  • Abusive family dynamics
  • Forced drug use, depictions of addiction/withdrawal
  • Colourism, xenophobia
  • Violence against women
  • Homophobia/internalized homophobia
  • Body horror

About the author

Tasha Suri
Author Tasha Suri

Tasha Suri was born in Harrow, north-west London. The daughter of Punjabi parents, she spent many childhood holidays exploring India with her family, and still fondly remembers the time she was chased around the Taj Mahal by an irate tour guide. She studied English and creative writing at Warwick University, and now lives in London where she works as a librarian. To no one’s surprise, she owns a cat. A love of period Bollywood films, history and mythology led her to begin writing South Asian influenced fantasy. Tasha Suri has won the British Fantasy Society Best Newcomer Award and Starburst Brave New Words Award.

Website | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter


Check out the book here:

Goodreads
Amazon
Pretty Little Bibliophile banner
you might also enjoy these

Popular Youtube Videos

  1. Books for beginners
  2. Massive Flipkart Book Haul
  3. Autumn-themed bookshelf and reading nook
  4. Bookshelf Tour
  5. Massive Book Unhaul
  6. How to Read More Books

Aurora Rising, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, 2019

Title: Aurora Rising (Aurora Cycle 0.1)

Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Publisher: Rock the Boat, an imprint of Oneworld Publications

Publication date: 6 June 2019

Genre: Science fiction/fantasy

Format: Hardcover

Language: English

No. of pages: 470

Synopsis:

From the internationally bestselling authors of THE ILLUMINAE FILES comes an epic new science fiction adventure.

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

My review:

I received a review copy from the publishers in return for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Superfluously saying, if the cover does not make you pick up the book itself, then I’m sure the synopsis will. Aurora Rising is an adventure story, set in space, one that is bound to keep you turning the pages on and on, eager to know what happens next. I was literally at the edge of my seat when I was sitting and reading, and had to actually sit up in attention, when I had been lazing on my bed while reading. Such is the writing of this powerful duo. I finished this book in like 5 hours and I went crazy throughout!

I’ve never been a fan of sci-fi, to be honest. So many of us are not. But Aurora Rising has completely made us switch sides! Although this book is so often described as a SIX OF CROWS set in space, the only similarity I found was the presence of this crew, where each one is so very different from the other. Through all the different characters in this bunch, we see similarities in what each of them faces. The leader of this team in known as the Alpha and he is Tyler, the golden-boy. He misses the Draft because he is rescuing a girl frozen in time. So basically instead of having his pick from the best, by the time he returns, the ceremony is over and the other Alphas have picked the cream. Throughout the story, we see the inner conflict in Tyler – he regrets that he was missing at the Draft but then again, he was rescuing this historically significant person in their universe. Later on, he is conflicted as to whether be the good pupil he has always been and follow the orders of his superiors, or to do what he believes is right.

There is also Scarlett, Tyler’s twin sister who is bold and flawed and yet is so very caring. The brother-sister bond that these two share is so much beautiful to see. Their love is always shining bright between them. And may I just say how wonderfully charming she is? Scarlett is the Face of the group, the diplomat basically and is an amazing people-person.

Then we have the Ace – Cat. She is a very passionate person I feel. She hates with all her might and she loves with all her might. Her love is real and made me choke so many times. Her character arc is very relatable – her feelings towards Aurora change from hate to respect and I love that the authors have made her so bold. Women are too often subdued anyway.  

Aurora is literally the girl out of time. She had been cryogenically sleeping, you could say, for 200 years, without ageing. And now, her dilemma and confusion as she comes to terms with her new surroundings and learns more about what happened to her that has led her here, is heartwarming. Her behaviour is funny and so very awkward at times with the rest of the team and I couldn’t help but laugh at so many parts. Her character arc is also significant in this story and although I think there could be more to it, I look forward to the rest of the books in this series. She is a person of our times and the references she makes were like Easter eggs to me. Especially Middle Earth!

Finnin, the alien (that rhymed!) is also another team member. He has always felt different all his life and his struggles with it – underneath all that sarcasm, is slowly revealed throughout the story. Zila is a character whose back story has still not been properly explained in the book and I am very curious about her, I admit. I look forward to reading more about her.

Lastly, Kal is oh0my-god hot! If you have a thing for the tall, dark and brooding, handsome kind. Especially, elfin-handsome kind! Aurora describing him as Middle-Earth is so relatable and that is how I imagine him too. And may I say that I am an absolute fan of the mate trope!

The writing felt very interactive in nature and the reading just flowed for me. I am absolutely in love with this duo’s writing and so I think that I am slowly going to pick up and read all of their books. The world-building was also very fascinating and made me stop and wonder myself, how it would feel like to stay there – after remembering that I was not actually in the story. There’s humour and the characters are so fierce in their natures, it was a fast-paced ride of a read! The plot was very strong and the inclusion of multiple POVs worked wonderfully with it. When there are so many characters, having multiple POVs often make the story lose its beauty but in this case, it only gave more depth to it.

Verdict:

I loved this book and I rate it a solid 5/5 stars! I know this review sounded more like an ode to these amazing complex but lovable characters, but god! You all need to pick it up ASAP!

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

The Nirvana Threads, Rachel Tremblay, 2018

IMG-20180621-WA0011.jpg
The Nirvana Threads, Rachel Tremblay’s latest book, is a modern day interpretation of 90s magical punk and spiritual romance, a combination which I have never come across before. Sometime back, I reviewed the first chapter of the book, and I remember being very pleased and eager to read more. And so, when this book was released on the 1st of June, the author was kind enough to send me one too! Another disclaimer: although I was given this book by the author, my thoughts are entirely from a personal viewpoint and have in no way, been influenced.
One thing I would like to point out is that there is a lot of parallelism between the stream of consciousness method applied by Virginia Woolf and the similarities in our protagonist Carlie’s journey. Having said that, I propound that there has been no plagiarizing if you’re thinking in that line; I had meant the method itself.
We have our young protagonist, Carlie, a young woman living in the 90s, whose life changes after a life-altering accident. In the review I wrote for the first chapter, I was very much impressed with the way the author has beautifully portrayed the hollowness in the independence that people strive for. Carlie is a person facing a harsh reality- she does not really have any friends, and her parents are just people who gave her birth. They are just ‘family’ without the emotional connotations that otherwise come to mind when one talks of their families. It’s her husband who is her only ‘home’ in the world; someone others have not approved of, but in her defence- “She loved the fiery spark in his eyes, his sense of humour, and their common love for music. And his smile. His smile that showed his good heart. That was reason enough for her.”
The accident in itself is a great loss for her and almost a foreshadowing of the great change that is to come, as we see in the blurb! There is mention of a brother who lifts up her gloomy mood while she is recuperating in the hospital and I cannot help but be eager to know more.
It is June 1994, when “she climbed aboard the spaceship, as she kept calling it, and flew high above and away from Johnny’s game-board piece, wondering if his warm soul was enjoying a similar view.” Yes, that’s how the author had ended the first chapter and it had left me restless.
The journey in one sense is a journey of growth for Carlie- she’s broken and she heals with the help of her “Nirvana Threads” like she fondly calls them. She learns about acceptance and the meaning of selflessness and love, and it was a spiritual journey for me too. The book in its essence is a spiritual journey of a young woman, as she fights after a heart-wrenching loss and her subsequent healing. I myself was very moved with the story and I think that most will be too. I am a spiritual person as well, and that’s why I suppose I could connect with it the way I did. Having said that, I also feel that this book is a miss-or-hit because I feel that while many will love this, there will be a select few who won’t, and that would just mean that some people won’t be able to connect with it.
The plot was very well woven- I especially loved the intense episodes Carlie had- the author has described them beautifully and I was almost in tears during them. The characters were well planned out- I loved Damien! Leo, Hazel, Lucas were also very well planned out. I think that the author has done a great job in exploring the different facets of human life and jotting them down so well on paper. I personally would have loved a sequel to this- I would love to know more about Carlie’s story. The characters were magnificent and tangible and real for me, even though I truly felt that it was more of a plot-driven story.
I rate this a 5/5 stars and wish the author a hearty congratulations for this amazing, touching and beautiful book!