Review by Booklist Review
A tide of ignorance and oppression is sweeping though the lands. Kahn, author of The Unquiet Dead (2015), explores a world both new and familiar in this first volume of her Khorasan Archives quartet. After years of fighting to free others from the chains of Talisman slavery, Arian, a Companion of Hira, is returning home to her sisterhood. She and her loyal though recently appointed apprentice, Sinnia, are accomplished warriors, versed in the Claim a form of magic based in the words of sacred scripture. They bring with them a prize, hoping it will turn the tide in the all-consuming conflict. Instead, Arian finds that changes at the citadel have created suspicion among the Companions and an attack upon Hira is imminent. The High Companion Ilea and a new, unexpected ally, the Black Khan, ask her to take up an even greater mission to find The Bloodprint, a long-lost tome containing the very spirit of their beliefs. Can she fully trust those behind this momentous quest? For fans of complex fantasy series with a girl-power theme.--Lockley, Lucy Copyright 2017 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Inspired by Middle Eastern history and legends, this ambitious but often muddled opening volume of the Khorasan Archives heroic fantasy series (a departure from Khan's debut, the mystery novel The Unquiet Dead) uneasily attempts to address several weighty issues, including religion, the rights of women, and the age-old conflict between heart's desires and duty's claims. Arian is First Oralist of the Companions of Hira. The companions preserve the sacred heritage of the Claim, scripture that encompasses both religion and magic. For 10 years Arian has rejected the love of handsome Daniyar, aka the Silver Mage, instead devoting herself to rescuing caravans of women from slave traders in a desert land overrun by the cruel Talisman, a male-dominated movement loosely patterned after today's repressive Taliban. During many adventures in pursuit of an artifact called the Bloodprint, Daniyar saves Arian and her apprentice, Sinnia, from horrifying tortures, and Arian comes to realize her quest is more personal than political. This colorful narrative is distractingly strewn with foggy capitalized concepts (eventually codified in an extensive glossary) and weighed down with religious excerpts from the Claim. It denounces harsh religion-based restrictions, deplores a growing disregard for the written word, and tangentially memorializes historical real-world massacres. A deep discussion of whether one sacred word can mean both "peace" and "submission" encapsulates the confusion of both Khan's heroine and her sympathetic, occasionally perplexed readers. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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