If you like fantasy and strong female protagonists, you should be reading Intisar Khanani. She writes beautifully. She builds interesting and diverse worlds. Her protagonists are wonderful, believable girls. Her books are inexpensive and you should be buying them.
It’s interesting to start a book knowing more about the character’s history than they do. Near the end of Sunbolt, Hitomi burned out her memory in a magical act of self defense. She recovers enough memory to know her enemy, but not her old friends. Hitomi is driven out of the sanctuary she found with the Mage Stormwind. This time she is largely on her own.
Khanani has set Hitomi up against both an individual, and an institution. Hitomi’s enemy is corrupting the institution. Other people within are not necessarily enemies, but they also cannot be trusted to be friends.
While I was reading Memories of Ash, I found out a friend had died suddenly. I am not great at dealing with sudden onsets of emotion, so having a book with an engrossing story and an immersive world helped me deal with my feelings. While I was thinking about the review, the violence in Charlottesville was getting worse. Silence is complicity, and sometimes so is trusting in institutions. Hitomi cannot defeat her enemy because he is protected by the very institution that should be policing him. Hitomi has to lie, steal, and break the law to achieve even the tiny amount of justice she is able to get.
For parents with kids questioning what is happening in the United States now, the two existing books of Hitomi’s story would be a way to talk about resistance, complicity, and violence.
Aside from the diversity of the author and characters, and the topicality of the plot, Sunbolt and Memories of Ash are good books.
The most disappointing thing about Memories of Ash is that there is no title or publication date for the next book. There are enough loose ends to fill three more books, and I am impatient. I want to know what happens next as soon as possible.