Khai was destined from birth to become the Shadow of the Sun-blessed princess Zaryia. Both born during the same eclipse, Khai was the child who caught the hawk’s feather thrown by the selected priestess, thus confirming that he was the chosen one. Raised by warrior priests deep in the desert, Khai is trained in all the deadly arts of stealth and fighting, and gets his first chance to kill a man at age nine. He hones all his abilities to become the very best Shadow to his soul’s twin, destined to guard and protect her against all evil. Yet when he nears puberty, Khai makes a startling discovery, and needs to reassess everything he previously believed about himself and his identity.
When Khai passes the trials necessary to confirm him as the Sun-blessed princess’ Shadow, he makes his way to the court of the king and finally meets Zaryia. The soul twins both feel like they’ve found the missing piece of themselves, and together have to navigate the gossip and deadly intrigue of the royal family. Zaryia is a scholar and dreams of being a prophecy hunter, but that seems unlikely, living the sheltered life in court that she does. Unexpectedly, however, while preparing for Zariya’s betrothal, the princess and the young warrior find themselves and their lives taking an entirely new path – one of adventure and mystery, danger and fellowship.
The dark god Miasmus is rising in the west, and Zaryia and Khai are two of the individuals destined to help stop him from covering the world in death and destruction. If the prophecy hunters succeed, the stars could return to the heavens once more. If they fail, the world will end.
Kushiel’s Dart, Jacqueline Carey’s debut novel, is still one of my favourite fantasy novels of all time. So the discovery that her most recent novel was a completely stand-alone fantasy, a full book, no interminable waiting for sequels for years and years, was very welcome.
Full review on my blog.