Review: The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Title: The Stardust Thief
Author: Chelsea Abdula
Series: The Sandsea Trilogy #1
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Adult
Format: Hardcover
Length: 468 pages
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: May 17, 2022
Source: BOTM subscription
Recommended for fans of: An Ember in the Ashes, Daughter of the Moon Goddess, A Song of Wraths and Ruin
Content Warnings: violence, death, murder, torture, death of parent, animal death, child death, grief

SYNOPSIS

Neither here nor there, but long ago…

Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal who, with the help of her jinn bodyguard, hunts and sells illegal magic. When she saves the life of a cowardly prince, she draws the attention of his powerful father, the sultan, who blackmails her into finding an ancient lamp that has the power to revive the barren land—at the cost of sacrificing all jinn.

With no choice but to obey or be executed, Loulie journeys with the sultan’s oldest son to find the artifact. Aided by her bodyguard, who has secrets of his own, they must survive ghoul attacks, outwit a vengeful jinn queen, and confront a malicious killer from Loulie’s past. And, in a world where story is reality and illusion is truth, Loulie will discover that everything—her enemy, her magic, even her own past—is not what it seems, and she must decide who she will become in this new reality.

Inspired by stories from One Thousand and One NightsThe Stardust Thief weaves the gripping tale of a legendary smuggler, a cowardly prince, and a dangerous quest across the desert to find a legendary, magical lamp

MY THOUGHTS

I looooooved this debut adult fantasy inspired by One Thousand and One Nights. While the jinn lore was familiar, the story brought new twists that kept me on the edge of my seat and subverted expectations.

There was always something happening in this book. The pacing reminded me of Daughter of the Moon Goddess, with so many action sequences starting from the beginning. The setting and characters were reminiscent of An Ember in the Ashes.

My favorite thing about this book was probably the characters. The story is multi-POV with three narrators. I wasn’t sure why Aisha’s perspective was included at first, but she ended up having the best arc. All of the characters are complex individuals who are deeply flawed but have their own strengths. I appreciate that Mazen is not the typical warrior prince type we’re used to reading in fantasy, but while he sometimes acted cowardly, he excelled at storytelling. Qadir is a fascinating character, and I hope we get his POV in book 2!

The book doesn’t really have romance. The author seemed to set up a potential romance in the early chapters, but it didn’t really go anywhere…and I was glad because by the end I shipped both of them with different characters!

Overall, I thought this book was magical, adventurous, and enthralling. I impatiently await the next installment in this series.

Author: Caroline | Carolibrary

Hello! I’m Caroline! I am a teacher, a book lover, and a nerd. My passions include reading, writing, bookstagram, barre & yoga, baking, binging TV shows, and Star Wars. I love stories in all formats because they can transport you to a different world while helping you understand the world around you. I have always found books to be a particularly magical source of imagination.

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