Today I’m bringing you a review of a short, but very cool middle young adult fantasy – Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani. Sunbolt is the first book in The Sunbolt Chronicles and it came in 3rd in the 2022 BBNYA. Congrats!
I received this book for free from TheWriteReads/BBNYA to facilitate my review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani
Series: The Sunbolt Chronicles #1
Published by Purple Monkey Press on 06/17/2023
Genres: Middle Young Adult / Fantasy
Buy on: Amazon CA // Amazon UK // Amazon US
The winding streets and narrow alleys of Karolene hide many secrets, and Hitomi is one of them. Orphaned at a young age, Hitomi has learned to hide her magical aptitude and who her parents really were. Most of all, she must conceal her role in the Shadow League, an underground movement working to undermine the powerful and corrupt Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame.
When the League gets word that Blackflame intends to detain—and execute—a leading political family, Hitomi volunteers to help the family escape. But there are more secrets at play than Hitomi’s, and much worse fates than execution. When Hitomi finds herself captured along with her charges, it will take everything she can summon to escape with her life.
I loved that Sunbolt is a short read. So many of the fantasy novels I read are 300-500 pages long and just seem to take so long for me to read that I end up not wanting to read them. So the fact that this one is only 152 pages is a huge plus in my opinion.
I also loved the writing in Sunbolt. It wasn’t overly flowery, it wasn’t overly long on the narration. It gave you the information you needed, when you needed it. You won’t have to wade through two pages of unnecessary descriptions to read this book. It’s simple, easy to follow, and just plain awesome.
Now, I loved our main character, Hitomi. Of course, I love the whole trope of having magic but having to keep it a secret for whatever reason. But I just found her to be a great character all around. She’s had losses but she doesn’t play the victim. She still wants to help others. She still has a conscience. A lot of characters who’ve had losses or bad things happen to them end up cynical and hardened, but not Hitomi. She still has heart.
I also loved Val. There’s just something about him – and when you come to a certain part of the book, there’s something he says that I don’t think means what it sounds like. You’ll know what I mean when you come to it. He’s not like the other “breathers”…
There are other characters of course, but the two you see most in Sunbolt are Hitomi and Val, so they’re the ones I decided to talk about.
As for the plot? It was interesting and it moved along quite well. There are things that aren’t resolved, but since this is a series (or at very least, a duology), that’s to be expected. I gave this book a solid 4 stars because it was just a great fantasy book all around.
BBNYA is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors, ending with 15 finalists and one overall winner. If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website http://www.bbnya.com or Twitter @bbnya_official. BBNYA is brought to you in association with the @Foliosociety (if you love beautiful books, you NEED to check out their website!) and the book blogger support group @The_WriteReads.