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Review: The Oleander Sword by Tasha Suri (Burning Kingdoms #2)


Thanks to the publisher (Orbit) for the ARC of this book.

This has been one of the most anticipated sequels this year and I was very happy when I got it. But while I liked The Jasmine Throne well enough, this one just didn’t work for me. I expected to be drawn in and then heartbroken by a suitably tragic ending, instead I was simply bored.

Malini is now empress, on her way to confront her brother with her army. Priya is a thrice-born priestess, with all the duties that come with it, but she doesn’t stay in Ahiranya long. And when she leaves, things get…complicated.

My main problem with this one: the slow pacing. Especially in Malini’s part, not much of consequence happens for well over half the book. The army travels. Malini is now an empress struggling to retain control. There’s a little bit of action, a little bit of drama. But the plot or the characters, fundamentally, barely move. Bhumika’s part, after Priya leaves to go to Malini, becomes far more interesting and with far more tension.

I love ruthless protagonists, but…I don’t know. I’m not quite sure what I expected, but being bored and speedreading through to get it over with wasn’t it. Perhaps it’s my increasing dislike of epic fantasy, especially of the military variety. Perhaps it’s that the hurt/comfort aspect I liked in the first book wasn’t present here. But I was not having a good time. The ending was suitably bitter, as promised, though it didn’t quite make up for how bored I was with the rest.

I don’t think I will continue the series. Still, if you loved the first book, you may enjoy this one too.

Enjoyment: 2/5
Execution: 3.5/5

Recommended to: those who LOVED the first book, if you like ruthless women and painful endings
Not recommended to: …if you were meh on the first one, no need to read this


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