Title: Blood upon the Sand
Author:  Bradley P. Beaulieu
Publication Date: Feb 9, 2017
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a copy for review from the author through his publisher Gollancz. This does not affect my opinion in any way!

Goodreads Summary:

Çeda, now a Blade Maiden in service to the kings of Sharakhai, trains as one of their elite warriors, gleaning secrets even as they send her on covert missions to further their rule. She knows the dark history of the asirim—that hundreds of years ago they were enslaved to the kings against their will—but when she bonds with them as a Maiden, chaining them to her, she feels their pain as if her own. They hunger for release, they demand it, but with the power of the gods compelling them, they find the yokes around their necks unbreakable.

Çeda could become the champion they’ve been waiting for, but the need to tread carefully has never been greater. After the victory won by the Moonless Host in the Wandering King’s palace, the kings are hungry for blood. They scour the city, ruthless in their quest for revenge. Unrest spreads like a plague, a thing Emre and his new allies in the Moonless Host hope to exploit, but with the kings and their god-given powers, and the Maidens and their deadly ebon blades, there is little hope of doing so.

When Çeda and Emre are drawn into a plot of the blood mage, Hamzakiir, they sail across the desert to learn the truth, and a devastating secret is revealed, one that may very well shatter the power of the hated kings. They plot quickly to take advantage of it, but it may all be undone if Çeda cannot learn to navigate the shifting tides of power in Sharakhai and control the growing anger of the asirim that threatens to overwhelm her.

Wow! What a breathtaking ride and a worthy addition to this series; action-packed and fascinating.

I am in love with this intricate world the author has created, with its Gods, Kings, political schemes, factions and so many other interesting elements including the magical system. What an amazing female protagonist is Çeda ! She is easily one of my favourites of all time. She is smart, resourceful, resilient, infallible and totally badass. Her flaws only make her more real and admirable and I love that all the characters are so real, morally ambiguous, flawed yet all with some redeeming qualities because no one is all bad.
This sequel really expanded on the storyline which began in the previous book and herein we see many of the loose threads coming together to form a clearer picture of Sharakhai, the Moonless Host, The Twelve Kings and the various machinations being carried out for the grand prize of Sharakhai. The political intrigue insures a lot of tension as the various factions all with a vested interest in coming out on top try to outsmart each other. Even within the ranks of the kings, dissension even while the Moonless Hosts try their best to rid Sharakhai of them once and for all.
Çeda has also grown as a character and will come to face a difficult decision being in the middle of all these factions, all in which she has a vested interest and connections and at the risk of being unveiled as working against the interests of the king.
The Asirim’s history is revealed and my heart aches for them. This for me was one of the most interesting parts of the book. Such a price that they paid and are paying. I can’t wait to see if they ever really get revenge or justice and how.
I seriously am dying that I have to wait a whole year maybe for the following instalment because I’m really invested in this fantasy series. It has literally everything I love in fantasy in the right amounts. I was captivated by the first sentence and found myself totally immersed in the story. I took my time reading and digesting it because I didn’t want this experience to end.
I highly recommend picking up this series if you haven’t already. This is a must-read for all epic fantasy lovers. Çeda will become your favourite character of all time, and will stay with you long after you have finished the books. It is magical, breathtaking at times and supported by a cast of characters who are so real and developed, that you no longer see them as mere characters. I am really impressed by this series thus far and I can’t wait to see how the rest of it unfolds. I absolutely loved it!!

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