The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri is one of my most anticipated sapphic releases this year. An epic fantasy, The Jasmine Throne sets the stage for a fantastic upcoming series.
All quotes are from an advanced reader copy, and may or may not reflect that published edition.
Author of Empire of Sand and Realm of Ash Tasha Suri’s The Jasmine Throne, beginning a new trilogy set in a world inspired by the history and epics of India, in which a captive princess and a maidservant in possession of forbidden magic become unlikely allies on a dark journey to save their empire from the princess’s traitor brother.
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.
“Strength is a knife turned on the parts of yourself that care.”
This book is difficult to review in full because it was beautiful, but also it was quite long. It is the intro to an adult fantasy trilogy, and it genuinely sets the stage for something fantastic. What I appreciated about this book was that, although it is a part of a set, it was a full story. We had a resolution at the end that was satisfying enough till the next year. I wasn’t left on any kind of frustrating cliffhanger. The plot had a steady, medium pace feel to it, that kept me reading without causing me to rush. It’s nuanced, with many different themes. I’m grateful for the reference in the back that helped me continually remember who is who.
“He’d hurt her because he loved her. Love. As if love excused anything. As if knowledge that he was cruel and vicious and willing to harm her made her heart ache any less.”
The character growth in this is interesting, as our female main characters are relatively morally grey. I would not describe this romance as enemies to lovers, at all, though. I’ve seen this repeatedly in reviews, and I personally did not feel this way. Malini and Priya start their companionship as one of necessity for both. They are transparent about their missions and goals with one another, and these goals align. The power dynamic shifts continually, but I would not have ever viewed them directly as enemies. The perspectives from the men’s sides of things were not the most interesting for me. I generally felt that I didn’t care about their feelings or thoughts. It was important to have them from a political standpoint, but that was all.
“If fate is written in the stars, then I am sure his atrocities are already written too.”
Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot. There are a lot of layers and a lot of pieces at play. This could be overwhelming for some who are expecting a fast-paced fantasy. I loved the intricacies of the real culture added in, as well as the fantastical world’s culture, weaved throughout. It was uniquely done, and something incredibly enjoyable to read. I am very excited to read the next books in this trilogy!
“The moment I saw you, I felt a tug. You are the feeling of falling, the tidal waters, the way a living thing will always turn, seeking light. It isn’t that I think you are good or kind or even that I love you. It is only that, the moment I saw you, I knew I would seek you out.”
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.