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Twelve Kings

(The Song of the Shattered Sands #1)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  5,913 ratings  ·  801 reviews
Sharakhai, the great city of the desert, center of commerce and culture, has been ruled from time immemorial by twelve kings -- cruel, ruthless, powerful, and immortal. With their army of Silver Spears, their elite company of Blade Maidens and their holy defenders, the terrifying asirim, the Kings uphold their positions as undisputed, invincible lords of the desert. There ...more
Hardcover, 592 pages
Published September 3rd 2015 by Gollancz (first published September 1st 2015)
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Rebecca I think 5 or 6!! And on top of that there are several novellas that expand on some of the secondary characters.
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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Aug 11, 2015 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Hi everyone! Please Like this review. I'll be using it to post news about the book.

Please like this review. I'll be using it for various updates as the book heads toward release and beyond!

Dec 28th, 2016 - With Blood Upon the Sand has ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies). Find out more at my blog. If you're a reviewer and would like a review copy of the book, please send me your name and the site you review for and I'll do my best to get you a copy. NetGalley should have it up next week, and you can re
Mar 31, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here:

2.5/5 stars

For me, Twelve Kings in Sharakhai has everything except the most important one: characters to care for.

Believe me, no one is more saddened by this rating than I am. Twelve Kings in Sharakhai by Bradley P. Beaulieu has been on my radar since 2017; the cover art of the entire series looked spectacular, and everything I’ve heard about it sounds like this is going to become one of my favorite series. Heck, if
✨Desert setting.
✨Sinister immortals.
✨Blade Maidens. Blade maidens!
✨Monstrous creatures.
✨Secrets, revenge and glorious battles.

I think I’ve heard enough.

The desert fantasy I’ve been waiting for has finally landed on my lap.
May 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended
I reserve my 5-star ratings for a VERY few books on the tip-top of my all-time favorite's list, so don't let the lack of a 5th star mislead you. This book was a joy to read and Twelve Kings in Sharakhai is my favorite Bradley P. Beaulieu to date.

Çeda is a wonderful protagonist--beautiful, capable and I enjoyed traveling with her through the sun-scorched streets of Sharakhai while she searches for clues to her past and future.

I highly recommend this book, and predict it will elevate Brad's alrea
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites-2019
4.5 stars - full review to come on my channel
Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
[3.5 stars] Twelve Kings in Sharakhai is a book I’ve had high on my priority list ever since that enticing cover came across my radar in 2015. The cover is actually a pretty good indication of what to expect from this book – excellent attention to world-building and a main character determined to shake up the status quo using swordsmanship and stealth. It was a very entertaining read, but it did leave a few elements on the table.

Pacing was by far the biggest miss for me. This book is riddled wit
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

I love Epic Fantasy for many reasons, not least of which is the fact every book is a portal to a whole new world. But when you read as much as this genre as I do, you sure get to visit a lot of them. That is why, when every once in a while I come across a setting that truly stands out, I sit up and take note. And Bradley P. Beaulieu’s Twelve Kings in Sharakhai made me do just that.

Right from the start I was captivated by
Mayim de Vries
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“This I vow, O Kings.” She did not whisper; she spoke plainly and clearly, as if the Kings were standing there before her. “I am coming for you. I am coming for you one and all.”

You know me, I am the weird one. I love books nobody likes and hate books everybody loves. And this one is not an exception to this rule.

The first thing is that I must have a soft spot for desert cities settings (as you'd know if you remember my love for the City of Bones). Enter Sharakhai, Shangazi Desert ’s amber jewel
Stefan Bach
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The best stories thrived when they contained a kernel of truth.
One just needed to know how to prune the falsities and deceits to find the truth lying at their shared center.”

Twelve Kings in Sharakai is probably the best epic fantasy book this month you probably won't be reading.

Actually, I'm not even sure this book even belongs to that genre.
There's no dragons in it. No dwarfs and no elves.
There's no magic and mages, nor epic quests. There's no Tolkien's big bad Sauron, and the fat
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Just friggin damn it!!

I thought I would love this damn book so I bought all the pretty damn editions from damn Book Depository! I’m not doing that damn crap any damn more!! I liked the damn beginning and then in went into some other damn past crap!! Plus, I’m in a damn mood. I have a damn CT scan tomorrow and then go to oncologist to talk about results and I swear, I can’t handle much more damn shit. But they have to find out what the pain is and I have a damn MRI at the end of the month for ra
Jul 02, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs-and-galleys
In the city of Sharakhai the people hope to see the Immortal Kings overthrown. Çeda, a young woman with a sad past, fights in the pits to make a living. Çeda as much as anyone prays for the downfall of the Kings and on one holy night she may have just received the hint she needs to overthrow them.

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai from the outside seemed so appealing. It has an interesting cover and the premise was promising. The first chapter of Çeda fighting in the pits as The White Wolf enveloped me w
Karina Webster
Twelve Kings by Bradley P Beaulieu is the first book in a six book epic fantasyseries set in the great city of Sharakai, deep in the heart of an oppressive desert landscape. This is the kind of fantasy I’ve been searching for. A world of sand dunes, fighting pits & kings; tribes, waking gods & monsters. Sex, lies, betrayals: determination, ruthlessness, skill all together makes Twelve Kings one of my favourite reads.

It is wonderful. and I’ll tell you why.

Now, I’m the first to admit that I enjoy
Feb 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I am really not sure if I want to carry on with this series. Definitely split 50/50 on it. A pretty solid three stars, mainly because of the world building. To be honest, I really didn't gel with the characters and at times the writing style annoyed bored me. I felt it was a little too long and that there really wasn't enough plot growth for such a large book. At 25% shorter, the pacing would have felt better.
The premise behind the story, trying to bring down the ruling 12 kings is good and the
Kevin Xu
Mar 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
One of the best book I have read in years. Even though this book has flashbacks, which I don't like, I felt like it really adds on to the story since basically the whole book is trying to figure out/uncover the main character's past history.

P. S. I wish more people would read the book.
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book a month ago and I forgot to leave my thoughts besides a rating. It is quickly becoming hazy so without further ado I'd like you to know I truly enjoyed this book!
I love book with strong female lead characters and even better if they know how to kick ass! I connected to Ceda quickly and love how she can fight!
So we have a strong woman, an intruiging story, an amazing desert city, and secrets.... together they make a fantastic book!
Being a late-comer to the Lays of Anuskaya (the trilogy is still on my TBR list), Twelve Kings in Sharakhai serves as my first real introduction to the work of Bradley P. Beaulieu - and I was not disappointed.

Initially, I was a bit hesitant about the book, based not on Beaulieu's reputation, but on the book's setting. I'm a traditionalist at heart, with a love for the sprawling forests and towering mountains of epic fantasy, so the recent trend towards desert fantasy has presented something of a
Scott  Hitchcock
Apr 03, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Guy Gavriel Kay
Shelves: epic-fantasy

I was on a skydiving team for a number of years. One of my teammates described our performance as a strobe light. Moments of blinding brilliance followed by utter darkness. That pretty much describes this book for me perfectly. One of my own favorite axioms is that a person's greatest strength is also their greatest weakness. As an example a person who is very detail orientated can often take it to such an extreme they become pedantic and inflexible to the point where they are ineffective and al
Sadie Hartmann
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Goodreads 4.5 stars!)
Wow. Wow. Wow. I think Bradley Beaulieu managed to transcend stereotypical epic fantasy and bring us something totally new. New world building, new culture, new characters, weapons--everything!
(It just so happens that this morning on Twitter, Bradley shared his Pinterest Board he used as inspiration behind all of the above so it was really cool to see the visuals he had in his mind as he crafted this story)
It was so nice to finally read fantasy that didn't share roots in f
Althea Ann
Four hundred years ago, during the night of B'eht Ihman, twelve leaders, each the representative of their tribe, were established as the rulers of the city of Sharakhai. Since then, they have led the city - and demanded harsh sacrifices.

Now, we meet Çeda. Orphaned due to the law of the Kings, under which her mother was executed, she has vowed revenge. Secretly, Çeda has become a pit fighter of some renown, but how will even her swordsmistress skills allow her to defeat a dozen men who may have s
Jan 21, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2016, arc-review
Stunning, immersive world..................check
Deep, rich history..........................check
Epic scale................................check
Compelling plot...................................check
Exciting ending.................................check

So why only 3 stars if this books scores so well on so many levels? Well, it comes down to the characters. I really didn't feel much for them. Ceda starts out really cool and compelling. She's the mysterious "White Wolf" who beats the crap out of a
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-the-book
What a strong start to a series, 5🌟🙌🏻. What really jumps out for me is the storytelling and atmosphere! It is rich and exotic, this is my first middle east influenced fantasy and the details surrounding it were amazing. From the imaginative sounds that filled my ears to the wide range in clothing and its colors in contrast to the the desert land. It reads fast and immersive with awesome action scenes, stealthy lurking and pitfights.
Which brings me to Çeda, the MC, now she is passionate and stro
This was a realy great book that kept me on my toes with exactly the right amount of sense of wonder and plot revelations.
The desert city Sharakhai is brought to life amzingly and it is a lot of fun to run through the streets with main protagonis Ceda, who is not only a a small time message runner, but also a pit fighter in disguise. But all this is nothing compared to her thirst for revenge upon the twelve kings, the mystical rulers of the great city.
Bradley P. Beaulieu finds a good mix of fami
Sep 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-sff-faves
This is a book I'd not heard a huge amount about before picking it up but I decided to do so as i'm going to an event with the author next week and I really wanted to try out something by him before I did so. I have to say that I'm very happy I did pick this up because I ended up really, really enjoying it and it's a thoroughly good book with some dynamic characters and relationships, a fairly original setting, some cool magic, and a rip-roaring plot. Basically it's everything I love in a good b ...more
Aly (In Wonderland)
Jul 17, 2015 marked it as dnf
Shelves: fantasy, arc, adult
I tried. I tried and tried and tried. I read 350 pages out of this 720 or so page book, and for exactly 20% of it, I was excited. The rest of the time, I was bored.

This is not a bad book. I think, had I read it when I really wanted to read a long, detailed Game-Of-Thrones-style book, I might have enjoyed it more. Had I read this, maybe, when I was on a fantasy binge, then I might have adored the hell out of it.

As it stands, even though it wasn't a bad book (it's definitely a good one) it just wa
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: epic-fantasy
[4.5 Stars] A truly fantastic first book to an epic fantasy series! Video review posted below!
Jan 11, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I can not wait to read this series.
Matt Smith
Writers of fantasy books tend to love their mythology. I mean, we're nerds. It's what we love. We love any world that isn't this one, a place where our imagination is allowed to run rampant, where we can create and design entire systems of government, economy, class, politics, and, of course, magic. And it can take over an author's brain, be the most interesting thing about whatever it is a given author is obsessed with.

I mean, it's not like any story has ever gotten LESS mythology-obsessed as i
Review from Tenacious Reader:

4.5/5 stars

This book released last year, and somehow I missed it. What I didn’t miss was how many Best Of lists it made at the end of the year. A clear sign I overlooked something good, and so I had to find a way to fit it in (and this is not a short a book). A perfect Backlist Burndown choice! Turns out I am very glad I chose it this month.

Epic fantasy is what drew me into the Fantasy genre, and its always so wonderful to rea
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-arc
4-4.5ish - Wonderfully written epic fantasy with characters that stand out, a world that's fully realized, and a story that constantly moves from one thing to the next. While slow at times, and though it has a steep learning curve, this is more than worth the time it takes to read. Full video review: ...more
So much fun to reread because there were so many things that I forgot. A truly well-written and well-detailed high fantasy series, this one.
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Bradley P. Beaulieu began writing his first fantasy novel in college, but life eventually intervened. As time went on, though, Brad realized that his love of writing and telling tales wasn't going to just slink quietly into the night. The drive to write came back full force in the early 2000s, at which point Brad dedicated himself to the craft, writing and learning under the guidance of writers li ...more

Other books in the series

The Song of the Shattered Sands (6 books)
  • With Blood Upon the Sand (The Song of the Shattered Sands #2)
  • A Veil of Spears (The Song of the Shattered Sands, #3)
  • Beneath the Twisted Trees (The Song of the Shattered Sands, #4)
  • When Jackals Storm the Walls (The Song of the Shattered Sands, #5)
  • A Desert Torn Asunder (The Song of the Shattered Sands, #6)

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  Jenny Lawson is the funniest person you know. And if you don’t know her, just read one of her books and she becomes the funniest person you...
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“She could smell it now as well, a scent like red wine, like powdered amber, subtle yet deeply powerful, as if these twisted trees somehow fed upon the stories of man throughout all the pages of time.” 3 likes
“None so blind as a wrathful man, Çeda thought.” 1 likes
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