The Jasmine Throne Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
"Raises the bar for what epic fantasy should be." (Chloe Gong, author of These Violent Delights)
A ruthless princess and a powerful priestess come together to rewrite the fate of an empire in this “fiercely and unapologetically feminist tale of endurance and revolution set against a gorgeous, unique magical world” (S. A. Chakraborty).
Exiled by her despotic brother, princess Malini spends her days dreaming of vengeance while imprisoned in the Hirana: an ancient cliffside temple that was once the revered source of the magical deathless waters but is now little more than a decaying ruin.
The secrets of the Hirana call to Priya. But in order to keep the truth of her past safely hidden, she works as a servant in the loathed regent’s household, biting her tongue and cleaning Malini’s chambers.
But when Malini witnesses Priya’s true nature, their destinies become irrevocably tangled. One is a ruthless princess seeking to steal a throne. The other a powerful priestess desperate to save her family. Together, they will set an empire ablaze.
"An intimate, complex, magical study of empire and the people caught in its bloody teeth. I loved it.” (Alix E. Harrow, author of The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
"Gripping and harrowing from the very start." (R. F. Kuang, author of The Poppy War)
"Suri’s incandescent feminist masterpiece hits like a steel fist inside a velvet glove. Simply magnificent." (Shelley Parker-Chan, author of She Who Became the Sun)
"A fierce, heart-wrenching exploration of the value and danger of love in a world of politics and power." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
"This cutthroat and sapphic novel will grip you until the very end." (Vulture, Best of the Year)
"Lush and stunning.... Inspired by Indian epics, this sapphic fantasy will rip your heart out." (BuzzFeed News)
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|Listening Length||19 hours and 43 minutes|
|Audible.ca Release Date||June 08 2021|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #5,486 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#11 in LGBTQ2S+ Science Fiction & Fantasy
#75 in Historical Fantasy (Audible Books & Originals)
#131 in Lesbian Fiction
Top reviews from Canada
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What I think Suri does so well, beyond some incredibly lush and descriptive but not overly purple writing, is how they offers up very complex and fascinating, multilayered, female characters. They aren’t a stagnant kind of grey or fit easily and snugly into one archetype or mold, either. These women are ever evolving based on their surroundings, twisting themselves into new shapes to suit, while glimmers of their true selves are revealed only to a precious few. We see them battle with themselves, with others, and it’s not always nice. But it felt so real and, as mentioned, it was fascinating.
This story started out very politics heavy and then shifted gears into very magical and weird and then ended with lots more politics spliced through with magic. I wish this had been balanced a little differently but I think I understand why it went the way it did. I just hope it weaves in and out a little better in book two, more in line with how it ended, instead of cut into sections. That said, the nameless and the destinies and that whole concept? Wow. I loved it. I was getting a tiny bit annoyed with the big build up near the end and how we kept getting bashed over the head with the tease but when it finally happened it? I won’t say it was worth it, because you kind of see it coming — not the exact thing, but the shape of it — but I still loved it. And, again, the concept is just fabulous.
There is so much great in here (again why I consider rounding up!) and it’s made up of magic, destinies, betrayal, yearning, and love. And some of that just within the dynamics of one pair of siblings. Suri doesn’t shy away from some uncomfortable dialogue about the pain endured by those who are supposed to love us, while at the same time tackling religious fanaticism, as well as the inherent poison of a nation conquered, oppressed, by others. There’s a lot to unpack.
Where I struggled was the pacing, a lot of extra POVs (sometimes only one offs, which always kind of bugs me), a bit of back and forth repetition with a certain build up, and with one particular character and their motivations and how that spilled over onto others and tugged the plot around, only to.. I don’t know. I can’t say for spoilers but I was left feeling something about it. And how some of that conflict ultimately just felt like filler and a time waster in the end.
But. I still definitely recommend this. Not just for the diversity in this India-inspired fantasy, not just for the romance (sapphic, by the way!), or the creeping eerieness of a conflict we’ve only just barely glimpsed and that is still to reveal itself, or for the political manouevering and cleverness heralded by a fierce, uncompromising, woman. But all that and more.
I am really excited for book two.
Top reviews from other countries
Suri has such an amazing writing style for this, it feels like she’s just transcribed this ancient tome for us full of wonder and magic and it oozes this history in its words alone. The worldbuilding is fascinating and well worth the read alone, the lore, the lands, Suri has convinced me that all of this is real with the amount of detail and heart she’s put into it.
Putting aside the fantastic worldbuilding and the writing style which makes me suspect that Suri’s an ancient deity, let’s move onto the plot.
If you like high fantasy, you’ll adore this. There’s a temple with latent powers, a once powerful empire reduced to being chained to those they once conquered and there are the children of the temple, not all of them gone as suspected.
Priya lives life in a state of mostly contentment, she’s accepted her reality and yet…She desires more.
Meanwhile Malini is a princess, someone who should be well protected but her brother instead tries to sacrifice her in name of his throne. She refuses and the cost is imprisonment, in the temple where once Priya’s life meant more.
These two women are brought together in a plot to overthrow a monster on the throne but will their goals always align?
I loved watching these two characters meet but I also love them equally on their own. Theirs also aren’t the only POVs for the book and I enjoyed the side characters just as much. Each character is quite strong on their own, their voices unique and no one is ever quite forgettable to me. Which is impressive because we have an expansive cast.
There’s a lot of political intrigue and a lot of violence, but I loved that, it all had a point. There’s no senseless violence, it’s either used to fuel the rebels or done by them to show that there are no strictly ‘good guys.’
The pacing is a bit of a slow-burn in regards to action, but I did find it hard to put down. There’s a lot of groundwork being laid and by the end you just want to know how this is going to pan out next. I need the sequel like, yesterday.
The characters were equally rich and three dimensional. The story is told from multiple points of view, which can at times become a little annoying, but only from the perspective that you want to get back to an intriguing thread.
There is a fair amount of politics in the story, but it's seat of your pants struggle rather than dry. I found myself fully invested in the characters and their arcs, even the minor ones.
Pacing-wise, there were sections where it seemed to move a little slower, but thus only served to heighten the tension overall.
The relationship between the two main characters was very slow burn and beautifully written. It was sort of a mix between forbidden love and the inevitability of two souls colliding. There is nothing explicit and any intimate scenes are written without falling into the cliché trap.
Suri sets us up well for a continuation of the series. There is no cliffhanger, but a definite ticking clock that leaves plenty of space for further story development and character growth.
If you enjoy magic systems based on nature, political intrigue, rebellion, and against all odds, you will enjoy this. I'm looking forward to reading more in the series.