Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sultana by Lisa J. Yarde

I'm very impressed with this novel. It's about a Sultan's granddaughter (and Sultan's daughter.. depends on who sits on the throne) who is married at the tender age of eight amidst much war between clans, tribes, and kingdoms.

The Sultana is Fatima. When she is married off to Faraj, a war breaks out because she was supposed to be married to a member of the Ashqilula tribe, as tradition dictates. Her mother kidnaps her in order to save her, but instead Fatima ends up witnessing her murder. What follows throughout the novel is war.. War between Fatima's people and the Ashquilula people and between Fatima's people and another group of people (starts with M.. can't spell it) and war between Fatima's people and Castillians and also the Aragons. Are you confused by all that? I was confused half the time too. My eyes glazed over at times over all the politics and after a while I lost track of who was battling who and who had betrayed who.. That is the only thing preventing me from giving this a five star.

However, the story of Fatima and Faraj had me on the edge of my seat. She is 8 years old in the beginning.. so not much action there, but as the novel continues, she grows into a young woman and slowly her and Faraj begin to love each other. They don't "get it on" till the 70% mark and the anticipation by then just built up wonderfully. Great job, Ms. Yarde!

There is some conflict regarding Faraj's concubines, the Sultan's concubine, an aunt that betrays the kingdom in some way, Fatima struggling to pregnant, Faraj trying to fight off his thirst for revenge, and even Fatima's brother does something appalling. The last 15 % really had me tense with excitement as Faraj is accused of committing a crime... and Fatima tries to save him. Did he do it?

Fatima is a strong heroine. She even holds her husband at the tip of her arrow in one scene. LOVED that!

Truly I was impressed. If I hadn't been confused sometimes by the politics and all the different groups, I would have gave this a five. A little thing that bugged me: How does Fatima's hair color go from ink black in the beginning to copper?

Favorite quote: "All beauty fades with time. What shall never fade is the power of your mind."

Four stars.

I bought this on Amazon Kindle.

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