The second book in The Burning Kingdoms trilogy and it definitely heated up the story! Thanks to Orbit Books for the gifted copy.
Here’s more about The Oleander Sword
The prophecy of the nameless god—the words that declared Malini the rightful empress of Parijatdvipa—has proven a blessing and curse. She is determined to claim the throne that fate offered her. But even with the strength of the rage in her heart and the army of loyal men by her side, deposing her brother is going to be a brutal and bloody fight.
The power of the deathless waters flows through Priya’s blood. Thrice born priestess, Elder of Ahiranya, Priya’s dream is to see her country rid of the rot that plagues it: both Parijatdvipa’s poisonous rule, and the blooming sickness that is slowly spreading through all living things. But she doesn’t yet understand the truth of the magic she carries.
Their chosen paths once pulled them apart. But Malini and Priya’s souls remain as entwined as their destinies. And they soon realize that coming together is the only way to save their kingdom from those who would rather see it burn—even if it will cost them.
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This one turned out a lot different than I imagined it to be. It was brilliant, but also different than The Jasmine Throne. I slowly savored this book over weeks rather than rushing to finish it within a couple of days. And as I progressed, I found myself wanting to read more and more per day to see what happens. The story moves slowly adding more perspectives from different characters and revealing more dark secrets within this world that really added to the story. However, the ending was well worth the slow burn and truly left you in shock.
While preparing for the third book in the series, the second book is one battle after another. This slow-burning, military-focused sequel has its ups and downs, but ultimately prepares you for what’s to come in the third book. The story really focuses less on Priya and Malini as two separate characters and shows who they can be when they’re sided together. It was more about the oncoming war rather than their relationship, but I don’t think folks following their romance will be disappointed with this one. The tenderness between them was so sweet and while they both were powerful in their own rites, I loved seeing them vulnerable when they’re with each other.
While Priya and Malini are still the main characters of this story, I found myself waiting around for Bhumika and Rao’s perspectives. In this story, Bhumika really takes on a main character role as she continues to lead her part of the world while also taking care of her newborn baby. I loved the scene where she’s discussing politics while also wiping food off her baby’s chin. If that doesn’t scream modern motherhood, I don’t know what. The interesting part is that Bhumika’s character takes on a whole other life. Her integration into the story really made her a favorite character of mine.
We also get the benefit of a Chandra perspective as well. Yes, the evil emperor that we didn’t hear from in the first book has a perspective in the second and it is pretty much what you expected from a maniacal ruler who truly believes the success of his kingdom relies on the death of his sister. It was true to the person we read about in the first book and really added an interesting depth to the story.
I think my favorite part of this entire book is how Tasha Suri takes her time building up the climax of this story. It felt obvious where the story was going, but I truly loved that she didn’t leave anything behind, wrapped up some loose ends before hitting us with something so much bigger than all of us!
I will admit, the story moved a bit slowly for me. While there were some moments throughout the story that pulled you in and kept me interested, there were also some lags that moved quite slowly. However, by the last 100 pages of the book, there was so much action that you couldn’t put it down.
Overall, this was a strong second book in the trilogy that really gears you up for a much bigger battle in the final book.
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