The Oleander Sword by Tasha Suri

The prophecy of the nameless god—the words that declared Malini the rightful empress of Parijatdvipa—has proven a blessing and curse. She is determined to claim the throne that fate offered her. But even with the strength of the rage in her heart and the army of loyal men by her side, deposing her brother is going to be a brutal and bloody fight.

The power of the deathless waters flows through Priya’s blood. Thrice born priestess, Elder of Ahiranya, Priya’s dream is to see her country rid of the rot that plagues it: both Parijatdvipa’s poisonous rule, and the blooming sickness that is slowly spreading through all living things. But she doesn’t yet understand the truth of the magic she carries.

Their chosen paths once pulled them apart. But Malini and Priya’s souls remain as entwined as their destinies. And they soon realize that coming together is the only way to save their kingdom from those who would rather see it burn—even if it will cost them

*****

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.

This review will contain spoilers for book one, The Jasmine Throne. Read my 4* review here.

Review:

Holy hell Suri delivers with book two of this series. The Oleander Sword is a chonker and I just inhaled it. Something about the prose and the character work made this so smooth to read and the setup for book three promises amazing things to come

It’s been over a year since I first read The Jasmine Throne, and like a dumb dumb I went into this book without a refresher. I remembered Malini and Priya of course, our sapphic duo, and Bhumika who was my favorite supporting character from Jasmine, But it definitely took me a moment to remember who some of the others were. Yet, perhaps because the characters were so memorable, or because Suri does an excellent job giving the readers subtle reminders of who did what in book one to jog your memory, the re-learning period didn’t last long at all. The one embarrassing exception was that I’d completely forgotten who Rao was and get to get reminded/laughed at by friends (he’s the cinnamon roll unnamed prince who tried his best^TM)

The Oleander Sword takes place sometime after The Jasmine Throne. Malini’s built up enough support and has quickly begun taking over parts of land her brother Chandra once ruled. I was pleasantly surprised with how Suri handles the war aspect of this book. Because while Oleander is very much a novel about Malini’s attempted takeover, the battles actually felt more like a device used to further the character development than about the fighting itself. And while this isn’t a decision I’d usually like, Suri makes it work with this book.

I know that in my Jasmine Throne review, I mention that despite the marketing, I didn’t really see Priya or Malini as morally gray characters. While I still stand by that statement, espeically in the face of Chandra’s comic-book levels of villainy, I really loved to see Malini’s political savvy come into play here. She really make up for spending most of book 1 drugged to hell by deftly showing her ability to turn Chandra’s supporters and force the various factions and local governments to cooperate with her in this uprising.

Overall, I rate this book a 4.5/5. I just inhaled this book. I can’t say much of the plot due to spoilers, but Suri does a phenomenal job with the second book (the emotional devastation I felt!!) and the setup for book three has me so so excited.


r/Fantasy 2022-23 Bingo Squares:

  • Revolution and Rebellions (hard mode)
  • Published in 2022
  • BIPOC Author
  • Features Biological Family Ties

Publication Date: 16 August 2022
Publisher: Orbit
Format: ARC
Pages: 512
Word Count: ~159,000
ISBN: 0316538566 
Buy It Here: Amazon | Google Books | Barnes and Nobles | Goodreads

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