the jasmine throne – tasha suri | arc review

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri


Series: Burning Kingdoms #1
Published June 8th 2021 by Orbit
Age Range: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, LGBT
Representation: Desi sapphic

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis:

Imprisoned by her dictator brother, Malini spends her days in isolation in the Hirana: an ancient temple that was once the source of the powerful, magical deathless waters — but is now little more than a decaying ruin.

Priya is a maidservant, one among several who make the treacherous journey to the top of the Hirana every night to clean Malini’s chambers. She is happy to be an anonymous drudge, so long as it keeps anyone from guessing the dangerous secret she hides.

But when Malini accidentally bears witness to Priya’s true nature, their destinies become irrevocably tangled. One is a vengeful princess seeking to depose her brother from his throne. The other is a priestess seeking to find her family. Together, they will change the fate of an empire.


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Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher.

trigger and content warnings:

Even before venturing into The Jasmine Throne, the hype around these two morally grey lesbians left me wondering how much I would like the story. Glad to report that I’m not disappointed. In fact, The Jasmine Throne lived up to my expectations and even surpassed them.

Banished to Ahiranya by her emperor brother, Princess Malini of Parijatdvipa will spend the rest of her days atoning for her treachery in a ruined temple. Hirana itself holds a great history of the Age of Flowers when the temple children and elders were conduits of the yaksa. Years ago, under the command of Malini’s father, the temple and everyone within were burned alive and the power of the yaksa disappeared with them.

However, the legacy and the magic continued to live on with a few survivors, and Priya is one of them. As a maidservant, all Priya wanted to do is keep her head low and help those who were suffering from rot, a disease that will overwhelm the infected with plants and leaves breaking out of the skin. With an uncanny connection to Hirana, Priya inevitably felt the magic that courses throughout the temple and within herself. Finding the deathless waters would be simple. Surviving it to be once, twice or thrice-born is a whole other question.

“I don’t believe that is the way things are,” said the princess. “That we have no choices. And if fate must be star-burned into us, then I don’t believe we can’t bend to the needs of our times and turn from our prescribed path.”

The alliance between Malini and Priya started out shaky and unstable. Each has their own motives and goals to achieve. Gradually, as they discover more about one another, romance blossomed. Regardless of their feelings, this duo understands perfectly what they would need to do to achieve greater things.

While Malini schemes to overthrow her ruthless brother, the rebels lead by a surviving temple child are seeking the deathless water. To wrestle back control from the empire, they’ve drunk from vials instead of the actual waters, consequences be damned. Another player, Bhumika, the wife of the regent in Ahiranya, is often overlooked and people underestimated the power that lies underneath her patience. Instead of the brutality and bloodshed that Ashok seeks to do, Bhumika’s method is quieter and more subdued.

Within this vast empire, the Ahiranyi worshiped the yaksa while the Parajati’s faith lies with the mother of flames which Chandra twisted into something that he could wield against his own people. For the Alorians, their religion surrounds the nameless god. From birth, their names kept secret, reflect the prophecy into which they’re born. I liked how the different faiths were explored in The Jasmine Throne and the extent to which the characters believed in their own religion.

She could make herself something monstrous. She could be a creature born of poison and pyre, flame and blood.

Tasha Suri’s writing is incredibly intricate. Since this is a huge world with multiple players having their own plans either to free Ahriyana from imperialism or to remove a heartless emperor, Tasha Suri flawlessly plotted out their actions and gradually interwoven the story to include more than just Malini and Priya’s collaboration.

Ultimately, The Jasmine Throne is about the women who were denied things they should have been able to obtain. Pushing back against the rules, odds, and expectations, be it Malini, Priya, or Bhumika, these fearless and independent women will carve out a path that is solely theirs to walk.

I have great hopes for the rest of the Burning Kingdoms series!

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