C. Gold's Reviews > Sand Dancer

Sand Dancer by Trudie Skies
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really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a review.

I was really excited to read this book, especially since I'm a sucker for strong heroines and I also love the idea of pretending to be a man in order to do things forbidden to women.

Mina, the heroine, starts off with the crazy idea of unmasking a man she thinks is hiding fire magic. She wants to prove herself and is sometimes young and dumb and impulsive (traits she keeps throughout the story). Naturally, things go from bad to worse when her plan backfires and she winds up on the run as her own fire magic rears its ugly head. This intro was exciting, with a bit of trauma, and I am thinking oh yeah, this is awesome.

And then she finds sanctuary and the story comes to a screeching halt. Everything is fine, she's being solo trained, and there's absolutely no drama except for this weird, contrived encounter with the enraged guy from earlier. He's conveniently alone with nobody around besides the fire girl he's going to kill even though everyone had been roused to deal with the visitors. Once that oddity is over, the story goes back to training and no drama. This boring stretch starts around 20% in and lasts until around 30%. The good news is, once you slog through this, it's all excitement afterwards as the plot kicks back into gear. There's more training, but this time she's in an academy with other students to make life difficult for her.

Mina as a character can be annoying. She's brash, impulsive, a smart mouth, and basically seems too immature for a sixteen year old who had to scrounge on the streets. Predictably, this gets her into trouble throughout the story. Part of me didn't like this about her, but the other part felt she fit right in with the boys at the academy as she held her own with overconfident swagger -- something lacking in girls all too often, so in that respect it was kind of fun to witness. She's probably a bit too talented with the sword, but I kind of like that about her, especially when she's tackling all these large, bulky men.

The villain is one dimensional, which is too bad, but has enough going on to cause plenty of interesting trouble. There's some good plot - counter plot going on between him and Mina to keep things lively as to who is going to one up the other.

The side characters are decently fleshed out and I love the concept that the blood bond lets each member of a house see key emotional events in their dreams. Mina's friends were also interesting and diverse and I wouldn't mind reading more about them. The only real letdown is the younger prince - I expected him to be or do more.

The world building is exceptional. The description of the environment and the cultures are nicely detailed to where I can almost taste the sand in my mouth and feel the sweat running in rivulets down my back. The author writes description very well and has a very vivid imagination. Lovers of descriptive fantasy will definitely enjoy this aspect.

Overall, aside from the slump at the beginning, the plot moved at a good pace and kept me turning the pages to the end. If you don't mind a teen protagonist and are looking for a detailed fantasy world to invest in, then you should check out this book.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
July 1, 2019 – Shelved
July 1, 2019 – Shelved as: fantasy

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