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Sand Dancer #1

Sand Dancer

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Only monsters summon fire by magic. It’s a sin against the sun god and a crime against the king. The punishment is death.

But when sixteen-year-old Mina discovers fire magic runs in her family’s blood, it’s just the beginning of the secrets her father has been keeping from her. When her father is murdered, this half-starved peasant girl finds herself on the run—pursued across the desert by the soldiers and guards of the noble Houses. To survive, she knows she’ll have to abandon her past and learn the way of the sword. But only boys are allowed to carry a blade. There’s only one solution…

Disguised as a young nobleman, Mina must make a new life for herself in the heart of her enemies. But she knows she can’t keep up the masquerade forever. With time running out, which will she choose to find—the truth or revenge?

408 pages, Paperback

First published July 1, 2019

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About the author

Trudie Skies

6 books108 followers
Trudie Skies has been living inside fantasy worlds ever since they discovered books, and they refuse to return to reality. Within Trudie’s daydreams you’ll find SPFBO and BBNYA finalist The Thirteenth Hour, a gaslamp fantasy described as obnoxiously British and best read with a cup of tea.

When not conjuring new worlds, Trudie spends their free time exploring the realms of indie books and video games, staring at clouds, and chasing after their troublesome dogs.

Visit Trudie’s worlds at www.trudieskies.com

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 48 reviews
Profile Image for Erika Sarutobi.
686 reviews26 followers
July 6, 2019
Finally had time to finish this!! I didn't think I'd enjoy this as much as I thought because of that, excuse me, ugly cover (I'm sorry to the person who worked on that).

I love everything about the world setting in this book especially the lore, magic system and the culture. The characters are diverse and didn't feel superficial. I love the character development of Mina though she could get a bit disrespectful.

The writing style is really good and right up my alley. I'll definitely check any books the author will release next. Though I wish the author used the other cities in the map.

The book gets better the more you read it and I love the subplots that combined all together in the end. Overall, one of the best reads so far for me this year.

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with the digital copy for an honest review.
Profile Image for Rowena Andrews.
Author 3 books67 followers
March 17, 2021

Sand Dancer was an entertaining read that I found myself reading in the space of a few sessions, and that was largely because of the world that Skies has created within its pages. The worldbuilding in this book did an excellent job of treading that line between creating a rich, diverse world with a real sense of history and culture – and I loved the stories and beliefs and how they fed into different aspects of life– without becoming too embroiled in the details. There were a few aspects that I would have liked to have learned more about, but this is the first book in the series, and you are left with the feeling that there is more to come. Also, there is a map (see the bottom of the review!!) which is an immediate bonus point from me.
I enjoyed the magic in this world too, and I found that everything that was built up around the Fire Walkers to be fascinating, and you very much get the feeling that there was more hidden beneath the surface – especially with the second book being titled ‘Fire Walker’. I wanted to know more about the people with the magic, and about how they’d come to be so feared and oppressed, as well as the full potential for this system and those that can use it.

‘“We call it blood fire. All Sandarian are born with fire in their blood, a gift from Rahn. When we die, the fire returns to him so the spirits of our ancestors can burn each day and warm our lands with their light. Some can summon the fire, use it, but not all’.

While I loved the world and look forward to returning there with the next book it was the writing that really made this book shine for me. Skies has a wonderful way with words, which when paired with the world-building really brought this story to life. There were some beautiful descriptions throughout this book, and the writing flows well, and the action is compelling and it all combines to pull you in and immerse you in the world and narrative.

In terms of the characters, there were some fantastic ones, particularly among the supporting cast. Iman in was my favourite, and I absolutely loved the parts involving her, and I also liked Raj and Talin. Mina was a somewhat challenging character for me, perhaps because of her age – and I can definitely see her being a character that will appeal to younger readers. However, she was also an interesting character, and while there were aspects of her personality that irritated me at times, I also found myself rooting for her, and there was definite character growth both in terms of emotion and maturity as well as skill throughout the book, and I couldn’t help but support her goals. Overall, there was not perhaps as much development as I might have liked, and some of the arcs – character and general narrative – might have benefited from a longer book, however, as with the rest of the book they were well-written and this is the first book in this series, and it will be interesting to see how Mina and the rest change and grow in the future.

Sand Dancer was an enjoyable read with some fantastic writing and a world that I greatly enjoyed spending time in, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it, especially if like me you cut your teeth on books like the Tamora Pierce books. I will be checking out the recently released second book – Fire Walker – in the near future as I am eager to see where Skies takes this series, and I will be keeping an eye on what this author does in the future.
Profile Image for Niki.
174 reviews9 followers
July 11, 2019
i enjoyed a lot this book, more that i anticipated i would!

i really liked the story/plot which kept my interest throughout!

the pace of the book is really good which made me not to loose my interest!!

very good option to pick up! :)
Profile Image for Natalie.
6 reviews
June 29, 2019
My 14 year old daughter wanted me to read this book. So with her in mind, I requested an advance copy. I have mixed feelings about this book. I loved that Mina is a strong female heroine in this coming of age story. I enjoyed the adventure and pace of the book as Mina discovered her fire power and the new life that came because of it. I feel like she is a relatable character that my daughter will enjoy. My daughter will be able to empathize with Mina, as she learns to deal with becoming a woman in a mans world, and figuring out who she is and who she wants to become.

Over all Mina is a positive role model. She has to not only face her worst fear after she becomes a fire monster, but she endures the loss of her only living family member and home. She is in constant danger and on the brink of destroying not only her life, but the lives of all her friends, her new family, and the community that has accepted her.

As an adult, Mina’s character frustrated me. She was mouthy and disrespectful to the people who had put themselves in great danger to help her. I often wanted to send her to her room. I didn’t think that Mina’s ability to overcome her foes by sword dancing was very believable, because she didn’t have enough time to really grow and develop her skills as a fighter. In the book, it felt rushed. I loved the setting of the book. I hope that there are more parts to it, as a series that either develops more characters from the other cultures or continues with Mina and her friends and family.

I don’t think my daughter will be bothered by Mina’s character, I feel that this is a book 14+ year old girls will enjoy. I plan on recommending it to my daughter and her friends. Mina is a strong character, she deals with self doubt, loss, female teenage emotions, bullying, prejudice, and she has to make some tough decisions and learn to be unselfish. These are all great life lessons and they are dealt with in a book that is going to keep my child engaged through the entire adventure. This book does contain some violence and some strong language. Thus the 14+ recommendations.
Profile Image for Viking Jam.
1,109 reviews16 followers
May 2, 2019
Rating: 4.4/5

Review: The cover art is hideous.

This novel had everything I loathe and more. Super speshully main character, and “leering and sneering” bad guys smirking their way across the pages under an Oliver type story line.

Mina is an alley rat whom is not only gifted with powers she doesn’t want but somehow gets into a sword fighting academy disguised as a boy and proceeds to fool everyone of said. Right. She is slight of build but manages to kick ass against full grown, battle hardened men utilizing her “Sand Dance”. Which you really have to accept on faith, as the Sand Dance fight scenes are clogged with a visual mirage where, through discernment, you find that nothing makes sense.

The supporting caste either suck outright (i.e.: Snidley Whiplash) or are fairly well built and have some depth despite the limited development time. The world is pleasantly creative and moves in a descriptively robust manner from realm to realm.

At the end of this read the story line is what really elevated my interest. The movement never stops and each turn reveals something new and interesting. Mina grows on you as does her plight and that echoes the talents of a good writer. Well done.
26 reviews
June 13, 2019
Mina fears one thing, fire magic, which is punishable by death. When it's discovered she is a Fire Walker, her life is turned upside down and Mina must run for her life. With vengeance in her heart, for the murder of her father, she is accepted into House Arlbond, where she will hide as a boy learning to use a sword.

This book had a lot of things I love, a girl who pretends to be a boy, a cute furry side-kick, and revenge. I've been finding myself bored with YA fantasy lately, because all the books seem to be along the same line. I found Sand Dancer to be fairly original in its story and fantasy aspect. It hooked me from the beginning and continued to keep my interest.

I had a love/hate relationship with Mina. I love a strong-willed female, with spunk, and sass, but Mina lacked forethought on how her actions would effect those who cared for her. She was arrogant and over-confident with very little to show for herself. While there are negative outcomes for those around her for her actions, Mina continues to bull doze ahead with her schemes, because she is a warrior. Despite Mina's failings, there are some other really great characters supporting her. The strength of the story, is ultimately, what kept me wanting more.

I received an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
June 30, 2019
I wanted to enjoy this so much, I was so disappointed that I didn’t love it. The writing is good and so is the world building and story, but I just found the MC so unlikeable I couldn’t get past it at all. It’s a shame because it could have been so good otherwise

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
Profile Image for K.A. Black.
Author 1 book6 followers
August 6, 2020
I thought I was going to rate this at 4 stars due to the quickness of the beginning, but Skies way with writing craft bumped this up to a five. Writers are no stranger to tension being important to a story and Skies does it so well. Sometimes it’s the plot or other characters, but Skies also made Mina her own source of tension due to her actions and it’s so well crafted. It also makes her very realistic. The fact that Skies has these smaller character arcs within Mina's revenge story gives her a nice depth and then Mina's responses add to the realism. She doesn’t have perfect responses or plans and it’s an amazing show of craftmanship by Skies. This is a YA book written for teens, and Mina is very much a teenager.
637 reviews9 followers
June 12, 2019
Received an arc from netgalley. Really enjoyed this book! Definitely recommend it.
Profile Image for Roxanne.
55 reviews
March 6, 2021
Kept my attention all the way through

This was a well written story that captured my imagination from the beginning. I appreciate that it was a clean book with just the right amount of sexual tension without the graphic details that I don't appreciate. Keep writing.
Profile Image for Esther Jones.
Author 2 books22 followers
October 12, 2020
Fast paced and vivid.

Pros - I loved the worldbuilding, the story, the secondary characters, and the pacing and narrative style of this story. From beginning to end, I was hooked and there was never a dull moment. The lore woven throughout the novel was fascinating and all tied together well, and there was a mystery to uncover that kept the story quite intriguing.

Cons - I could not find it within myself be to endeared to the main character. Certain choices that she made didn't work for me, and it was almost through sheer blind luck that everything worked out for her along the way.

Overall an entertaining story that is surprisingly strong enough to overcome an off-putting protagonist.
February 25, 2021
Support your family

This is a fantasy book which brought me into a unique story which I enjoyed. The author described situations quite well.
Profile Image for Lorraine.
117 reviews7 followers
June 9, 2021
I received an ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Story Tellers on Tour.
It took a little time for me to get into this book, but once I did, I really enjoyed it. Once the paced picked up, it fell into a great adventure from start to finish. There were very unique elements that makes it a refreshing addition to young adult fantasy series. I loved the Middle Eastern-like world of the book. It is a needed change to many fantasies that are set in what resembles old European cities and I think it adds diversity into the genre. The main protagonist is Mina, a well fleshed out sixteen-year-old. She is strong willed, smart, but at times does act rashly. Mina, who has fire magic, disguises herself as a boy so she can train to use a sword and become a warrior. She must go to great lengths to hide her outlawed fire magic. Ms. Skies tackles many issues in this book, including sexism, bullying, LBGTQ+ characters, and menstruation. These are topics that exist and in the realm of YA fantasy are important to include. This book has sword dancing, fire magic, blood bonds, duels and a Fennec Fox named Fez. How can you not love it?
I enjoyed this young adult adventure. It has diversity of characters, which is so important for young readers. Having characters of color and characters from a Middle Eastern culture makes this an important story for not only young adult readers, but for the fantasy genre as a whole. Female characters disguised as boys appear throughout literature, but this was a refreshing take. Another point I found refreshing and bold, is dealing with Mina having her period while disguised as a boy. When I read about this element in other stories, I always wondered about it. This is dealt with head on in a realistic way as Iman shows Mina what to do. Addressing it makes her disguise more believable.
I loved the sword fighting details, which were excellent. The blood fire is a unique magic and adds an element of excitement to the story. As Mina starts her new life, we see her grow as a character and learn that there are consequences to some of her bold and rash actions. I love well fleshed out characters that learn, change and grow. I highly recommend this book to young adult readers who love fantasy. It is a great, evenly paced adventure from start to finish. I look forward to reading the next installment of Mina’s story.
A more detailed description of characters and the world of Mina is on my website: https://bookandnatureprofessor.com/20...
Profile Image for Nessa.
367 reviews16 followers
July 2, 2019
I enjoyed this book. Honestly, I think I enjoyed it more than I had expected to. Debut authors kind of scare me because there is absolutely nothing to compare their works to. You just go in blind and hope for the best. Sometimes it works, sometimes…not so much. Luckily, Sand Dancer works.


Storyline: When I saw the cover, I was hoping for something a little different and I was NOT disappointed. The concept of Mina going into hiding and, eventually, in disguise in order to train, gain control over herself and ultimately seek revenge is something that I know has been done but not overdone like a lot of YA fantasies. I found it refreshing to see something new for a change.

World: I loved this world. It was very simple whereas some fantasy worlds tend to be overly complicated and confusing. I do wish there was a bit more world building though; not enough to complicate but just a bit more to have a better understanding of this place Mina called home.

Characters: Iman and Raj *insert giant hearts here* I absolutely adored these characters and want more of them!

Magic System: Big fan of the Fire Walkers. A more unique magic, or at least a unique presentation is well overdue. I found it interesting that they were the ones oppressed, slaved, feared and condemned. There is definitely a much bigger story there and I hope that it gets addressed in future books. I need to know more about these people and how they came to be the “monsters” they were seen as.


Characters and Character Development: I told you I would get back to this. Other than Iman and Raj, I was not a fan of the characters at all. Mina….I would have punched. I’m okay with having a MC that isn’t overly likeable but I honestly can’t recall a lead character that I have hated so much. She had some issues and I get that but her stubbornness, entitled attitude, selfishness and all out ungratefulness made her so childish that I had to constantly remind myself that she was supposed to be sixteen because she acted like a toddler. There was a little development to her character, but not nearly enough. The same goes for Talin. I wanted so much for him and it seemed like, rather than develop, the author chose to have him revert to some door mat of a character. I wanted to see that tournament champion everyone kept talking about but instead, we got someone who doesn’t hold his ground against a child. The only character that really saw any form of development, in my opinion, was Jonan and I didn’t care enough for him for it to really matter.

Pacing: While there was a point in this book (approximately ¼ the way through) where I couldn’t put it down, it was a lot of work at the beginning to keep my interest. This wasn’t due to the story not grabbing my attention but because of the erratic pace. It seemed like the author tried to move the story ahead so fast that I ended up losing my place and getting confused more than anything else. The ending was quite similar, though less confusing. I feel that the bulk of the book was so well paced and easy to follow that had the beginning and end followed suit the entire book would have been evenly enjoyable to read.

I still have quite a few unanswered questions (where the hell did that damned Butcher keep coming from????) but overall I really enjoyed Trudie Skies’ debut. I think that a younger reader will see value where I did not (Mina’s “I do what I want” attitude) where an older reader will see more that a younger would miss (separation of classes, oppression, genocide) so Sand Dancer is the kind of book that can appeal to any and all who are looking for something just a little bit different.

I will look forward to more works from Skies and will be adding her to my “To-Watch” for new authors.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book to read and give my own, honest opinion.

Review edited 7/2/2019
Profile Image for Sarah Foil.
97 reviews26 followers
October 3, 2019
Only monsters summon fire by magic. It’s a sin against the sun god and a crime against the king. The punishment is death. But when sixteen-year-old Mina discovers fire magic runs in her family’s blood, it’s just the beginning of the secrets her father has been keeping from her. When her father is murdered, this half-starved peasant girl finds herself on the run—pursued across the desert by the soldiers and guards of the noble Houses. To survive, she knows she’ll have to abandon her past and learn the way of the sword. But only boys are allowed to carry a blade. There’s only one solution…Disguised as a young nobleman, Mina must make a new life for herself in the heart of her enemies. But she knows she can’t keep up the masquerade forever. With time running out, which will she choose to find—the truth or revenge?

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I’m am always open to helping self and independent published authors by providing a review or interview for their new releases. You can request a promotion of your book by clicking on this link and filling out the required form.

The plot of Sand Dancer is action packed and exciting from start to finish. I was immediately pulled into the story and had a hard time putting this book down. The reader is pushed quickly from place to place, point to point, and there is a lot that goes on. There wasn’t much, if any, down time in the book and while I don’t like too many slow moments in a story, I could have used a breather at lease once in this novel. As many events that take place in this book, I felt that story may have worked better if things had been drawn out and separated into multiple books, rather than all pushed into one together.

The setting of the book, the country of Gais, was immersive and the author did a great job showing the terrain and environments of the cities Mina travels too. There is a complex social structure at play in the book, which is integral to the plot, and I can tell that the author put a lot of work into building out the world. There is some hinting at the religion, economy and neighboring countries, but due to the fast pace of the novel, I wasn’t able to delve into these aspects as much as I would have liked.

Mina, as the protagonist, was sometimes difficult to like. She’s extremely arrogant, without much evidence to back up her confidence, and often ignores good advice she received from other characters. I was regularly frustrated by the decisions that she made, but appreciate that she remained consistent and strong throughout. The side characters were interesting, but mostly one-dimensional, as the plot-heavy book didn’t allow as much room to explore their lives and personalities as a slower paced novel might.

Sand Dancier is Trudie Skies’ debut novel. This book is a fast and fun read. The story and setting will quickly pull you in and keep your reading until the last page. Due to the fast paced nature of the book, some elements of the setting and character suffered, but overall it was an enjoyable read. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Skies’ novels in the future.

Sand Dancer Is Available Now On Amazon, Barnes And Noble And Through Your Local Bookstore.
Profile Image for Rebecca/Bex.
43 reviews5 followers
July 8, 2019
Honestly, when I picked this book up, I thought it would be something to enjoy as a light read. I ended up loving it more than I thought, but then also disliking it slightly too. I have to admit I didn't finish the whole book, but its to no fault of the story or the author. I hope to finish it and do a full review on my blog in the future, but I'm giving feedback while I still have thoughts on this story.

Sand Dancer follows Mina, a young impressionable girl who discovers she is the one thing she was taught to fear: a fire walker. This discovery soon lands her into trouble, and she's forced to go into hiding as a noble boy in order to stay alive. But Mina isn't ready to stop at that. Mina wants to find out the truth behind her people, long forced into hiding, and prove she is as able to wield a sword as any man before her. This ambition could get her killed, but her time to decide is running out.

When I opened this book, I didn't expect such a well-written, diverse, in-depth fantasy world. If anything, the world building and descriptive writing is what hooked me to this story. The history and stories told were clear and developed, it progressed fast and still gave time for emotion during the first few chapters. The writing was beautiful, so blunt yet full of smooth descriptions that made me keep reading, like the words just flowed off the page.

What turned me away was Mina's character. It could be because I'm becoming picky with YA books, but I found her character was too irritating for me. If she had been slightly older, maybe I would have felt more of a connection with her, or maybe her story would have been more complex. I thought she was very naive, which was at odds with her history of being a street-rat and having to fend mostly for herself. And the fact that she thought all her problems would only be solved if she learned to be a Sand Dancer and wield a sword. There was so much potential, but the book reverted back to its YA roots and just kept loosing me with Mina's character.

Overall, this story is amazing for young readers, probably aged 14 and up due to the descriptive action and violence. As I have been gearing more towards New Adult/Adult, I found I did not keep interest in this book, but I really did appreciate the writing and the world building. If there is another story set it this world, or by this writer in the future, I'd be open to reading it and seeing what she can do with an older audience!
Profile Image for Sirah.
1,398 reviews9 followers
January 10, 2023
Mina was raised as a boy until she became a woman. About then, she discovers that she has the curse of fire blood and can scorch people with a touch. This results in her near capture and imprisonment, but instead, she escapes because some nobleman kills her father. Mila swears revenge, and although she has to act like a boy in a world where women aren't usually permitted to fight, she's determined to do whatever it takes to rise up the social ladder and kill off the guy who killed her father.

I seriously can't believe this book is under 400 pages. It felt much longer. It felt like it took forever. I'm not sure why it was such a slog. The writing was beautiful. The characters were generally well-crafted. Although the pacing was a little wobbly, there was enough action to keep things interesting. There was even an adorable and mischievous fennec fox. But at the end of the day, I just didn't care what happened to Mina. Every time I opened the book, I was basically cringing waiting for an extremely awkward outing scene where someone discovers she menstruates or something, and that made it hard to enjoy. I didn't get the impression Mina really loved her father, so the whole revenge thing felt forced, particularly when Mina is constantly offered the option to choose something healthier or better. I dunno. I think this book had potential. The world-building was beautiful and the magic system was fascinating. I just had zero emotional connection to the protagonist, which, if we're being honest, is the only thing I ever like about books. Try again?
1,129 reviews8 followers
August 15, 2019
Trudie Skies has a solid, fun tale of a desert country where some people have fire magic and are despised for it. Teramina’s father had stopped teaching her sword play when her first period came. Very aggressive, she decides to goad the local butcher into using the fire she suspects he has, only to discover that she has fire magic, and so does her father who is killed in front of her. Running, she somehow finds Lord Talin, the head of a small clan, and the king’s protector. Talin takes to her and adopts her, letting her masquerade as a boy. He and his sister train her as a Sand Dancer (paper from Uproar Books), a special type of fighter. When he is called to court, he thinks he can get special training for her if she maintains her disguise, and eventually get her into the Academy for nobility that trains male nobility as fighters. At court, one thing leads to another, ending with her in the Academy. The heir to the throne is at the Academy, training for the tournament in a few months. He is also quite evil, and was the one who killed her father. This is quite enjoyable, with lots of twists as Mina learns how her magic and politics work. While there is enough threads for a sequel, it isn’t necessary. Lots of fun. Review printed by Philadelphia Free Press
Profile Image for Krys.
393 reviews3 followers
June 28, 2019
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher I was able to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Sand Dancer by Trudie Skies had a great premise and actually really good writing. The world was interesting and if more is ever added to this world, specifically Talin and Jonan, I will jump right on that. These things were great.

Too bad I didn’t care for the MC, Mina, at all. Talin, Jonan, Raj, Ali and Iman were intriguing side characters and helped me get through the rest of the book. Mina just had a level of thoughtless, bullheaded, selfishness that I found it hard to really like or care about her specifically. I’d find myself a time or two thinking oh yay she’s using her head for more than herself, and then that would be wiped away not long after. I did not like her.

But that doesn’t mean a younger reader trying this isn’t going to love finding Mina’s spunk, will, drive, and reckless determination . Younger me would have loved Mina and found her a great role model. Me of now found her ceaselessly whiney and obnoxiously rude.

Different strokes.
Profile Image for S. Kaeth.
Author 5 books47 followers
August 15, 2019
This is a pretty classic coming of age story with a young girl learning to come to terms with who she is, who her people are, and the ramifications of her magic. Mina is likeable, though sometimes you want to shake some sense into the headstrong girl, and she moves from trouble to trouble, getting in her own way as danger increases around her. It was a great moment when she realized that she’d just stabbed herself in the foot though, and I was pleased that she continued to grow from the experience, shedding the impulsive vengeful youthfulness and becoming the hero she’s always yearned to be.

My main complaint was the overuse of the trope of one character not having a chance to tell another vital information in time, and there were parts in the middle that bogged down a bit, but overall it was quite entertaining and enjoyable to read.
Profile Image for Ruth Parker.
766 reviews31 followers
June 10, 2019
I wanted to love this book; I really was adamant I was going to fall head over heels for it. Maybe it was too much pressure? Too heavy on my expectations?

Whatever it was, something just fell a little flat.
I liked the dialogue and the action. The plot points, while a little slow at times, were well crafted and I enjoyed the writing. I didn’t like Mina at all, but I don’t underrate books based on unlikeable characters - my problem is that I don’t think she was meant to be unlikeable though!

I think I’ll try this book again, with fresh eyes in a few months and perhaps amend my review. The author has a great writing style and I’d recommend this book based on that. I’d totally read more by Trudie Skies.

I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Deborah.
1,256 reviews34 followers
March 17, 2021
A strong female character setting out for revenge! Forbidden magic she never wanted!Hidden secrets! Necessary lies to get into an all male sword training academy!

Who could ask for more!?

I loved this book more than I was expecting, I got hooked when we had the ‘Mulan deception’ as our main character Mina has to pretend to be the son of a nobleman to gain admittance to the highly esteemed Academy! As a great job of move from realm to realm and building a rich world. We also have a great cast of characters from Mina’s new family to her power hungry competitors. The end section was action after battle after revelation fantastic ending!

[Thank you to the author and Storytellers on Tour for a copy of the book for voluntary review]
Profile Image for Sasha.
351 reviews8 followers
November 4, 2021

It took a lot to get to page 145. At that point, I just had to stop. I liked all the characters except the main one. Which gained the second star.

The main character is whiny, insolent, and stupid. How else would I take a 16 year old acting like a 6 year old. Her actions is one of someone who has not developed mentally. She repeatedly says she can take care of herself, yet can’t fight. When people try to help her, she responds as if she is better than them. Her constant denial of the obvious is frustrating. She didn’t even mourn the death of her father.

The supporting characters are nice and constantly saving the main character. They go out of their way to help an ungrateful brat. I personally would have kicked her to the curve.

Waste of time.
Profile Image for Lucy A. McLaren.
Author 2 books40 followers
January 10, 2020
**contains spoilers**

This was an enjoyable story set in a well-described and unique fantasy world that’s a nice change of pace from the medieval-Europe based stories I am used to.

I did find Mina annoying at times, with impulsive and selfish behaviour that led to people around her being hut - but I did feel she grew as a character and saw her mistakes as she did so.

I would have liked to have seen more of her building her strengths as a fighter because it seemed to go from her being a novice to a pro who could beat the prince in battle.

While the story was a little predictable, this was nonetheless a fun read and I’d recommend it for anyone who enjoys YA fantasy books.
54 reviews1 follower
May 10, 2021
Having just finished this book, I will say that I would love to learn more about the Mina that I ended the book with. The author definitely took her time building Mina into a character that I was really invested in. The beginning was so very slow for me, it wasn’t until she really found a family and good friends that I really became interested. But once I reached the halfway point, this book transformed from just a book to a book I couldn’t put down. I could think of many ways to discuss this book. Highly recommend. I can’t wait for my teen daughter to read it so we can talk about it!
August 9, 2019
Good YA book about Mina, in a world where those with fire magic in their blood are considered monsters and should be killed.. Mina faces struggles on two fronts - she's female and wants to be a warrior; and she discovers she has fire magic. You follow her adventures as she is forced to flee her old life, dresses as a boy and tries to follow her dreams.

Interesting and complex world building, this is a good start of a series.
December 13, 2019
Good YA book about Mina, in a world where those with fire magic in their blood are considered monsters and should be killed.. Mina faces struggles on two fronts - she's female and wants to be a warrior; and she discovers she has fire magic. You follow her adventures as she is forced to flee her old life, dresses as a boy and tries to follow her dreams.

Interesting and complex world building, this is a good start of a series.
Profile Image for Veselina.
226 reviews4 followers
March 15, 2020
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book.

It is a wonderful story of the life of Mina that after the death of her father, need to pretend to be a boy. She want her revenge but first she needs to become the warrior that can kill the murderer of her father. But not all is as it seems. Is her father truly what he was saying....

Fast paced, intriguing magical system and lots of turn around. Looking forward if there will be book 2. Enjoy.
31 reviews
March 12, 2021
It's good. So much emotion, intrigue, spilt blood, and of course, fire. Had me on tenterhooks sometimes, the author giving me enough reason to believe things were going to get worse. Bad guys aplenty. Grey guys aplenty. Twists aplenty. A brilliant balance of .... everything. It's now past 2am. I have read through to dawn over last couple of days. Gonna finally sleep now, and likely dream of fire and sand, dancing.

I.e. it's good. Go read it.
Profile Image for Cherry London.
Author 1 book79 followers
June 17, 2019
A desert fantasy that takes you on an adventure in the sands, filled with interesting characters. The storyline is a good one with notable characters, like Mina, Talin, and Iman, a family of fire walkers. I believe Mina is on an adventure of a lifetime where she learns who she really is and where she came from. A thrilling and exciting read.
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