For some, loss merely deprives. For others, it consumes.
Ashtadukht is a star-reckoner. The worst there’s ever been. Witness her treacherous journey through Iranian legends and ancient history.
Only a brave few storytellers still relate cautionary glimpses into the life of Ashtadukht, a woman who commanded the might of the constellations—if only just, and often unpredictably. They’ll stir the imagination with tales of her path to retribution. How, fraught with bereavement and a dogged illness, she criss-crossed Sassanian Iran in pursuit of creatures now believed mythical. Then, in hushed tones, what she wrought on that path.
Review 3 of 5 Stars
I was provided with an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) of this book by the author. The book is available for pre-order and actually comes out on October 2.
I’m going to preface this review with two things. The first is that I found the book enjoyable and worth my time to read. The second is that this book would have received four stars if I had not been so put off by the author running words together (to extremes) for one of the characters and continually using s,o-[insert next word] in so much of the character’s speech to achieve the accent/dialect/speaking pattern (whatever you’d like to call it). I found it annoying, distracting and it slowed me down when I was reading since I had to sort out what the character was saying when many words were run together. It would’ve been fine to have a little of it at the beginning to get the feel of the character’s speech pattern, but by the end of the book I was thoroughly annoyed as the practice seemed to increase with the number of pages. I sat on this review for several days in the hope that my annoyance would fade and just leave my entertainment with the story. We all see how that turned out.
Now that I have that off of my chest, I enjoyed the actual story and was interested to see what happened with the characters, even the one that talked in an annoying manner (this character also weaseled its way into my heart a little). I was a little thrown by the country being referred to as Iran despite this obviously being a story based far in the past with mythical creatures. I had to look this up because it drug me out of the era the book was based in. Apparently Iran is the name of the country in Persian and the government requested to be called Iran in 1935. So that was a little strange for me since for the majority of the western world Iran is the modern country and Persia is the past. I only mention it because it drug me out of the story and onto the internet to find out why. Griping done. I actually learned a lot during the time I read this book as I was drawn to research some of the areas, etc. to get a better feel for where the characters were.
Ashtadukht was an interesting character, as were her companions. She is a star-reckoner who can command the power of the constellations to do her will, albeit a somewhat lousy one as her control isn’t very good and there are often unexpected consequences when she draws a star-reckoner’s lot. Star-reckoners search out divs (demon/monster) wherever they are stirring trouble to protect the kingdoms. Ashtadukht, Tirdad and Waray are an unlikely band of adventurers, but they face the dangers they encounter together, often in unexpected and sometimes humourous ways. They are also a strangely endearing group as the book unfolds and I found the settings interesting. I was fascinated by the locales and myths that were explored in this book.
Ashtadukht fights her illness each day as she rises to combat divs that bring harm upon mortals. Tirdad, her sworn protector, stands by her side as she does so. And then there’s Waray. I’ll let you read the book to find out more about Waray as this character has a style all its own. All things considered it was a pretty good book and I enjoyed the story. There is action throughout the book, but it really picked up as the characters moved through the story. I’ve listed the things that I didn’t like, but some of it was fascinating. I enjoyed it on the whole. If you are the fantasy type and are interested in traveling through some less written about myths, I think you will enjoy the book.
I do want to add that the author was still making revisions from proofreading when he emailed the ARC to me. I really didn’t notice many grammatical errors. The story was pretty tight aside from me being put off by the jammed together words and sentences of the one character. Perhaps some of that will get ironed out in the final edit.
I kind of skipped ahead on my reading list because I had this file on my tablet and left my Kindle loaded with previous books behind when I started this one, but have made my way back to the pending list for those authors who submitted books ahead of this one and are wondering what’s up. Hope everyone has a great week. Happy reading.