Today is my stop on the blog tour for ‘Sand Dancer’ by Trudie Skies organised by Storytellers on Tour, and I hope that you will check out the book and the author, and enjoy the rest of the tour with the schedule in the banner below or (HERE). There is also a chance to win a copy of the book along with some goodies for yourself at the end of this post.
*Disclaimer: ‘I was given a copy this book in exchange for an honest review, all views are my own.’*
Only monsters summon fire by magic. It’s a sin against the sun god and a crime against the king. The punishment is death.
But when sixteen-year-old Mina discovers fire magic runs in her family’s blood, it’s just the beginning of the secrets her father has been keeping from her. When her father is murdered, this half-starved peasant girl finds herself on the run—pursued across the desert by the soldiers and guards of the noble Houses. To survive, she knows she’ll have to abandon her past and learn the way of the sword. But only boys are allowed to carry a blade. There’s only one solution…
Disguised as a young nobleman, Mina must make a new life for herself in the heart of her enemies. But she knows she can’t keep up the masquerade forever. With time running out, which will she choose to find—the truth or revenge?
Sand Dancer was an entertaining read that I found myself reading in the space of a few sessions, and that was largely because of the world that Skies has created within its pages. The worldbuilding in this book did an excellent job of treading that line between creating a rich, diverse world with a real sense of history and culture – and I loved the stories and beliefs and how they fed into different aspects of life– without becoming too embroiled in the details. There were a few aspects that I would have liked to have learned more about, but this is the first book in the series, and you are left with the feeling that there is more to come. Also, there is a map (see the bottom of the review!!) which is an immediate bonus point from me.
I enjoyed the magic in this world too, and I found that everything that was built up around the Fire Walkers to be fascinating, and you very much get the feeling that there was more hidden beneath the surface – especially with the second book being titled ‘Fire Walker’. I wanted to know more about the people with the magic, and about how they’d come to be so feared and oppressed, as well as the full potential for this system and those that can use it.
‘“We call it blood fire. All Sandarian are born with fire in their blood, a gift from Rahn. When we die, the fire returns to him so the spirits of our ancestors can burn each day and warm our lands with their light. Some can summon the fire, use it, but not all’.
While I loved the world and look forward to returning there with the next book it was the writing that really made this book shine for me. Skies has a wonderful way with words, which when paired with the world-building really brought this story to life. There were some beautiful descriptions throughout this book, and the writing flows well, and the action is compelling and it all combines to pull you in and immerse you in the world and narrative.
In terms of the characters, there were some fantastic ones, particularly among the supporting cast. Iman in was my favourite, and I absolutely loved the parts involving her, and I also liked Raj and Talin. Mina was a somewhat challenging character for me, perhaps because of her age – and I can definitely see her being a character that will appeal to younger readers. However, she was also an interesting character, and while there were aspects of her personality that irritated me at times, I also found myself rooting for her, and there was definite character growth both in terms of emotion and maturity as well as skill throughout the book, and I couldn’t help but support her goals. Overall, there was not perhaps as much development as I might have liked, and some of the arcs – character and general narrative – might have benefited from a longer book, however, as with the rest of the book they were well-written and this is the first book in this series, and it will be interesting to see how Mina and the rest change and grow in the future.
Sand Dancer was an enjoyable read with some fantastic writing and a world that I greatly enjoyed spending time in, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it, especially if like me you cut your teeth on books like the Tamora Pierce books. I will be checking out the recently released second book – Fire Walker – in the near future as I am eager to see where Skies takes this series, and I will be keeping an eye on what this author does in the future.
About the Author:
Trudie Skies was born in Nottingham—Robin Hood country, she says—and now lives in North East England, where she spends the majority of her free time imagining warmer climates and writing about them.
Her less-than-free time is also spent behind a computer keyboard as an IT administrator, and she promises not to bore you with the details. Previously, she worked as a mobile game designer and tester, as well as a professional writer for video game websites.
Trudie grew up on Tamora Pierce and has always wanted to be a swashbuckling knight with her own medieval castle. She has a thing for swords, and so all her characters also have a thing for swords. She loves to read Young Adult fantasy and in recent years has been inspired by desert kingdoms and cultures, which is clearly apparent in her upcoming debut novel Sand Dancer.
In January 2019, Trudie signed with Uproar Books, a new publisher of epic fantasy and science fiction novels. Sand Dancer was published on ebook and paperback July 1 2019.
Prize: Sand Dancer by Trudie Skies – One (1) of five (5) paperback, bookmark, and badge bundles –
Open to International
Starts: March 14th, 2021 at 12:00am EST
Ends: March 21st, 2021 at 11:59pm EST
You can enter here:a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js