All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Eyes Of Tamburah by Maria V. Snyder

on May 4, 2020

The Eyes Of Tamburah (Archives Of The Invisible Sword #1)
Maria V. Snyder
Harlequin AUS
2019, 512p
Purchased personal copy via Amazon

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

‘He thinks you are the thief…’

Shyla is a researcher who resides in the underground desert city of Zirdai, which is ruled by the wealthy Water Prince and brutal Heliacal Priestess. Even though Shyla is sun-kissed – an outcast, considered cursed by the Sun Goddess – she is still renowned for uncovering innumerable archaic facts, lost artefacts, ancient maps and obscure historical documents. Her quiet life is about to change when Banqui, an archaeologist, enlists her services to find The Eyes of Tamburah: legendary gemstones that bestow great magic on their wielder. These ancient objects can tip the balance of power and give whoever possesses them complete control of the city.

But chaos erupts when The Eyes are stolen soon after they’re found – and Shyla is blamed for the theft. Forced to flee, with the Prince’s soldiers and the Priestess’s deacons on her trail, Shyla must recover the jewels and clear her name. A quest that will unearth secrets even more valuable than The Eyes of Tamburah themselves…

So apparently I’ve made it a goal to read everything Maria V. Snyder has ever written in a small amount of time. This is one of, if not her most recent release, published just last year. It’s on sale at the moment and given the second novel is being released in a couple of months (originally June or July, but it’s been pushed back with the probable postponement of Supernova in Sydney) I thought I’d snatch it up and get it read before the second one comes out. I’ve a friend in the US who really likes this book although it’s actually only published in Australia. Apparently it doesn’t have a deal elsewhere.

The world where this story takes part is an unrelenting desert. The population live in underground cities and Zirdai, where our main character Shyla lives, stretches almost 100 ‘floors’ or stories underground. The sun is so unrelenting that at certain times of the day, you must be below a certain level otherwise you’ll cook. Shyla is ‘sun-kissed’ which means she has white blonde hair, despite her darker skin. This is considered a sort of curse of the Sun Goddess and children who are born sun-kissed are generally left outside as a sacrifice to the Goddess. Shyla was rescued and raised by monks, although she left the safety of the monastery in order to try and make it as a law abiding citizen of Zirdai. Shyla is an archeological researcher who believes that she has located the Eyes of Tamburah for her friend Banqui who works for the Water Prince. When the eyes go missing, Banqui tells Shyla that the Water Prince believes that she is the one who has stolen them.

This was a ride. I really loved the setting in this one – the idea of living underground is interesting and actually, it’s something that parts of Australia already do. In the desert in places such as Coober Pedy, people live in underground dwellings carved into rocks to escape the sun. This takes it to the next level, where even being a little bit underground is dangerous at certain times of the day. Being in such a climate, water is a precious resource and the wealthier you are, the more access you have to water and the purer it is. Shyla discovers just how much this is true when she is a guest of the ruling Water Prince and realises just how different life is down on the lower levels. The city of Zirdai seems to be undergoing a power struggle between the Water Prince and the Heliacal Priestess. Both of them want the Eyes of Tamburah, believing that they have magical properties that, once woken, will give them full control. When it’s believed that Shyla stole them, it makes her the target of both the Water Prince and the Heliacal Priestess who want the Eyes and are willing to do pretty much anything to get them. Banqui gave Shyla one clue but now it’s up to her to find them.

Shyla is an independent character, used to being alone. She was raised for and cared for by the monks but when she chose not to join the order and become a citizen of Zirdai instead, that meant they washed their hands of her. Because she’s sun-kissed, she’s never known her family, other than the fact that apparently they left her to die. In Zirdai she’s regarded mostly with suspicion, with a lot of people believing she’s cursed. Banqui is really the only friend she has and she’s willing to do anything to save his life, even work for the Water Prince to find the Eyes. That gets her a ‘bodyguard’, the Prince’s Captain of his army, Rendor, who helps smooth the way for her when people might be combative or unwilling to talk to her.

Shyla goes through a journey in this book. She is faced with so many challenges and struggles – numerous people end up wanting to kill her, she’s forced to confront truths about what is going on in Zirdai and possibly even accept the fact that she’s been betrayed by the few people she does care about. Maybe. But along the way she also meets people, learns to trust and open herself up to new experiences, believe in what she thought was impossible and also realise the truth of her future. She learns a little about her past as well, although there’s still one more secret to come out. There’s also a romance as well, because this is a Maria V. Snyder book and there’s always a romance in there! It actually took me a little while to figure out which way the romance was going to go, for a little while there it seemed like there were a couple of candidates, like the story could go any number of different ways and it was a fun challenge puzzling it out.

I’m really excited for the next book….the ending of this was insane (what Shyla realises she has to do) and I’m very keen to find out what happens next.


Book #78 of 2020


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