Today I am excited to share my review of The Sand Scuttler, which has just gone on sale today. I received a ARC copy from the author ahead of its publication (1st May 2018).
Ripped from her mother’s arms and forced into slavery, the beautiful Jakira is soon sold. Destined to become her new master’s bed slave when she matures, she’s put to work in the kitchen.
But whilst Jakira is being branded, she discovers she can tame fire.
Determined to gain her freedom and find her mother before Jakira comes of age, she uses her magic to ask the bloodthirsty God for a miracle.
When this fails, a desperate Jakira goes in search of a mysterious creature, the last of its kind, who lives deep in the vast desert. Known as the Sand Scuttler, it can bestow great power on the one it deems worthy.
For centuries it hasn’t met that one, until now.
Set in the same ruthless world as the grimdark, epic fantasy novel Melokai (In the Heart of the Mountains #1) and twenty years before, The Sand Scuttler tells of the early life of Ammad’s mother Jakira.
This adult fantasy novella can be read as a standalone story, no prior knowledge of Melokai is required.
First of all I was drawn to this book by the cover. It feels to me as if Jakira is inviting you to read her story.
I’d heard of Melokai (book 1 in the series) and had it on my TBR list, but when the author called for advance reviewers in her newsletter I jumped at the chance to start with this novella.
From the start you are thrust into a vividly different world with a young girl ripped away from her family when her father sells her and her mother to pay off his gambling debts. In this one act, you realise how cheap life is for these people and that Jakira is not going to have an easy time.
The story of Jakira’s life in slavery draws you along and I found myself desperately turning / flicking the pages on the kindle to see what happens next.
The desert setting is very different to the fantasy I’m used to and is populated with a race of people who have humps on their backs – the richer the people, the smaller the humps as they live closer to the precious water source. I found this concept strange at first, but it’s well imagined and the history of the people is described within the story so there is no need for info dumps.
I really liked Jakira. Her determination to get free of slavery and save her mother made you will her to succeed. When she discovers her ability to withstand any fire, she starts to plan her escape with single-mindedness.
The supporting cast is well drawn including her disgusting master and the disfigured cook who befriends her. The Sand Scuttler is a mysterious and tricky beast, and is one I wouldn’t want to mess with.
I really did not want this book to end. As soon as I finished, I bought Melokai. I can’t wait to see what adventures will befall Jakira’s daughter.
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