The laws are different in the Kushite ruled Kingdom of Nabara. The penalty for involvement in the slave trade is death, and if the King fails to provide justice and order under ma’at, the High Priests can order him to commit suicide. When a Roman slave ship wrecks off the coast of Nabara, peace is shattered. Ancient caravan routes, pastoralists, and nomadic hunters are threatened by kidnappings, robbery, and murder, forcing Nabaran High King Amkar Kashta to invoke the power of the six-kingdom alliance that is Nudolla. Each member of the ruling families finds themselves thrust into the rising slave trade, and the corruption of everything and everyone it touches.
It is an adventure told from the secret sanctuaries of the desert fathers in the Scetes Desert, and the massive pyramids of Meroë, to the Skeleton Coast, and over the Great Barrier Mountains of Apedemak. Here, kings and queens, princes and princesses, slave traders and gladiators, high priests and slaves, scribes and warriors, caravan robbers, and hermits collide under the thread that links them all – Captivity and Kings.
Synopsis source: Goodreads
Thank you to author E.Y. Laster for gifting me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
When I first read the synopsis of this book, I was excited for the opportunity to read what I expected to be a great narrative. The premise of the book is truly interesting to me, and it is obvious that Laster did her research in order to write this book. But, while this story started out strong with an opening scene that’s sure to get your heart rate up, as it gets into the world-building and story, it just doesn’t really ever pick up again.
There are A LOT of characters to follow, which, even with the index of characters, was just too many for me. It seemed that Laster wanted to give full detail and back story to every character, no matter whether they were central to the story or not. While she did this very well, it got to be very confusing for me determining which characters were central, supporting, and peripheral characters. The POV bounced around a lot too, as she attempted to bring each character to life.
As gripping as the opening was, leading me to think this would be a quick read, I found it to be extremely slow. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, most epics are like that, and I would definitely call this an epic. That said, not many books marketed as YA are epics, and I was just not prepared for that. Much of the length is spent world-building and introducing us to the various cultures of the people in the 6 kingdoms. It’s obvious that Laster really spent a lot of time researching, and I personally appreciate that.
Still, I found myself falling asleep if I tried to read more than a page or two at a time, then I set it down for a while, came back to it and starting it over only to have the same problems. So after 2 years ?, I’m calling it quits on this one. I keep telling myself I’ll try it again, maybe I just need to be in the right head space for it. So if I do, I’ll come back and update this review and give it a rating.
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