Four out of five stars!
On the exotic, fictional island of Karolene, trouble is brewing. Sunbolt follows the adventures of Hitomi, a fifteen-year-old member of The Shadow League: a renegade organisation determined to counter-act the evils of the notorious Blackflame.
Corruption in Karolene is rife. The Blackflame now control the island’s political leaders and where there was once peace and tranquillity, there is now oppression and fear. Determined to play her part in The Shadow League, Hitomi struggles to conceal a magical secret passed down to her by her late parents.
When one of Karolene’s wealthiest families comes under fire from their corrupted sultan, The Shadow League, and Hitomi, step in to help. A cocktail of misfortune and betrayal catapults Hitomi into the clutches of the Blackflame and the company of Val, a captive “breather” who feeds on the essence of souls. Desperate to escape the Black Flame, Hitomi is forced to use her magic and she and Val flee together, with the Blackflame hot on their heels. In a land far from Karolene, Hitomi struggles to evade the pursuing enemy, and figure out what really happened to her mother after she disappeared.
Author Intisar Khanani has a knack for painting great imagery with seemingly little effort, and a talent for introspection that brings her characters to life. A whirlwind of magic, action and high stakes, Sunbolt is quite a page-turner, sporting an engaging plot and a pro-active, strong female lead who we cheer for long after we have closed the book.
While hosting a great story and believable characters, Sunbolt lacks a satisfying story structure and we find that the climax occurs two-thirds of the way through book. This leaves us with a sense of anticipation for further action throughout the rest of the book which eventually goes unfulfilled. One of Sunbolt’s less serious flaws involves the popular issue of clichés, which the author seems to fall back on a little too often throughout the story.
Khanani’s second novel, Sunbolt is a short book packed with action, magic and mystery which is sure to have you turning the pages. This book is recommended for fans of epic fantasy, and speculative fiction.
Sunbolt is available on Amazon.