Genre: Fantasy Age Range: Adult Star Rating: 3.5 stars Series: Yes - third book in quartet
*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for THE BLOODPRINT and THE BLACK KHAN*
The Companions of Hira have used their cunning and their magic in the battle against the patriarchal Talisman, an organization whose virulently conservative agenda restricts free thought. One of the most accomplished Companions, Arian, continues to lead a disparate group in pursuit of the one artifact that could end the Talisman’s authoritarian rule: The Bloodprint.
But after a vicious battle, the arcane tome has slipped once more beyond her reach. Despite being separated and nearly losing their lives, Arian’s band of allies has remained united. Yet now, the group seems to be fracturing. To continue the fight, Arian must make a dangerous journey to a distant city to recruit new allies. But instead of her trusted friends, she is accompanied by associates she may no longer be able to trust.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
The Khorasan Archives is certainly a series I find myself getting more engaged with the further I read. This was a much easier, faster read than the other two.
The book is split between Arian’s quest and the battle for Ashfall. The battle is pretty desperate, with a lot of moving pieces and bad decisions that made it feel like a house of cards waiting to fall. It was a pretty compelling situation, and I was often eager to return to that half and see how they were going to stay alive a little longer. However, it didn’t feel like it came to any conclusion or climax – the final chapter of that story line felt like it needed another chapter to have a thematic finale piece. Instead, it sort of… ends by just focusing on Arian.
Arian’s quest was not as compelling, because it’s journeying after another manuscript, so felt very similar to the first book. Particularly as the structure and events were pretty similar too.
I did find it somewhat odd that two of the POVs from the last book, the ones who were in Black Aura, are completely missing from this book. It’s not like they felt as if they’d finished their story lines in THE BLACK KHAN.
I am also so glad that Sinnia finally called Arian out on how she treats Daniyar. That man has put up from a lot from his beloved, and how she demands so much from him and refuses to give anything back. There had been something off about the romance for me before – full of chemistry, for sure, but uncomfortable – and Sinnia finally put it in words. Once that was out and Arian was forced to confront it, I got much more on board with the romance because it was growing to a healthier place.
Likewise, the One Eyed Preacher – aka the Talisman’s arch-ruler and thus technically the ultimate villain – was strangely absent. He hadn’t been in the first book, except by reference, but then blazed in at the end of second book. Only to not be in this one. It did feel like a bit of a stake reduction, and so a new antagonist threat was introduced – and I’ll be honest, I did not understand how he was quite so dangerous.
I will read the finale, THE BLADEBONE, when it comes out in paperback next year, because I cannot bear leaving series unfinished and I’ve gotten this far that I am rather curious to see how they defeat the One-Eyed Preacher. Plus that was a cliff-hanger and I want to know that Wafa is OK.
Read my reviews of other books by Ausma Zehanat Khan:
The Khorasan Archives (this series):
- THE BLOODPRINT (#1)
- THE BLACK KHAN (#2)