Monday, September 4, 2017

Labor Day #Review - The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana #YALit #Fantasy

Series: Standalone
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Release Date: July 18, 2017
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy

A romantic coming-of-age fantasy tale steeped in Indian folklore, perfect for fans of The Star-Touched Queen and The Wrath and the Dawn.
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?

The Library of Fates, by author Aditi Khorana, is inspired by the author's heritage. Her childhood in India, its folklore and its magic. The story is eerie familiar to The Wrath and the Dawn, The Star-Touched Queen, and Rebel of the Sands. 16-year old Princess Amrita lives in the Kingdom of Shalingar along with her father Chandradev. Her mother, who she has never known, was apparently from an aristocracy family which one lived in Macedon. The same Macedon where Emperor Sikander rules with an iron fist and unbending laws and a desire to conquer all of the known world. 

Amrita believes that she is to become the Emperor's bride. In fact, he brings her three distinct gifts including one that will be very helpful as the story progresses. However, Sikander has other ideas that lead to the end of the world that Amrita has grown up under. Amrita suddenly becomes a fugitive in the nation she grew up in. She is forced to run away and hide away from a the man who tore her world asunder. Her only companion in this journey is a young woman named Thala who claims there is a way to change what happened. Amrita must find a way to discover who she really is. She must trust in a girl she barely knows. She must travel to mythological places, and she must put her faith in finding the Library of the Fates.

I will say the best part of the story for me was Amrita and Thalia's relationship and their journey. Here are two different young women. One raised in luxury where she was loved, and was never went without anything. The only drawback is that she couldn't travel outside without wearing a veil to hide her identity. Even though Amrita never met her mother, her father never treated her as an unwanted quantity. Thala's story, on the other hand, is painful. Taken away from her family at a young age, forced on a drug called Chamak, and now showing signs of abuse, she was then given away to a young princess as a wedding gift. 

Amrita's journey is one of self-discovery after not knowing who she really was, or what she was capable of becoming. Amrita is a character who is more cautious and wary of the strange ideas that Thala has tossed out. But, when all is said and done, the friendship that develops between the two will be what I remember most about this story. Yes, there is a bit of romance in this story. It is light, it is brief, and unfortunately for one of the characters, it is never expanded upon. There is more to this story than meets the eye. It is also a story about two souls who lost each other, and against all odds, find a way to reconnect. 

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