Hello humans! Remember back in 2017 when I talked about wanting to read this book? Well, I finally did! The Library of Fates is a YA fantasy novel with a smattering of romance and a lot of questing.
No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.
The unthinkable happens, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos of a palace under siege. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.
Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life—and another love—await?
I was drawn to this book because I am absolutely unable to resist the idea of a library in a fantasy setting. Make that a mythological library that holds everyone’s fates? This is the best thing ever. I’m, interestingly, paralleling it with Death’s library in the Discworld novels. However, pretty much all of this book takes place anywhere but the Library of Fates.
BUT I DIDN’T MIND.
This novel is so much more than it’s description. It has princess/luxurious description elements, it has chase scenes, fugitive scenes, some romance, some brutal murder. You know, all the good stuff. I don’t think I could pin this book down to one sub-genre if I tried for another hour or so.
This book contains a female friendship which builds from their first meeting which is one of my favourite things to read. I love books where women befriend each other, it warms the cockles of my cold unfeeling heart. These two characters were definitely my favourites (Amrita and Thala) which is probably because most other characters don’t actually get a lot of ‘screen time’ (page time?).
That brings me on to the only reason this book didn’t manage to get the full five stars from me. While the description is rich and detailed, there isn’t a lot of world building. Well, it’s complicated. There is world building in the sense that you get a good feel for the politics of the world and the mythology. Perhaps what I mean is that Amrita’s viewpoint is quite closed off in this story, she is raised in the palace, she goes on her journey and so on, the reader only gets her impression of the world at large. I think, in part, I’m so used to reading multiple POV books that I felt quite cut off from some detail because of that.
The upside of this approach is that the story gets right into the action quite quickly. I was surprised at how quickly Amrita was on the run for her life. If you’re worried that this will be a slow burn then fret no longer friend. The story comes out of nowhere, you hit the ground running and it doesn’t really let you rest until you get to the end. It’s not a violence-heavy story however, there aren’t oodles of combat scenes which is often how fast-paced books go.
I think it was honestly the writing in this book that captivated me so much. I can’t think of any writer’s I might compare it to, it is simply it’s own style. There’s a fable and folklore feel to it that reminds me of the WIP I started a very long time ago in which I wanted the mythology and stories of the world I was writing to come through in basically every scene. This does that in a way I never could.
To cut a long story short – I loved this book. It was something I was worried would disappoint me, but I ended up thoroughly enjoying it and I might have to reread it later in the year if the fancy takes me.
My rating: 4/5 stars
All opinions are my own.
What say you? Have you read this – if so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below!