(Author: Intisar Khanani) + (Year: 2015) + (Goodreads)
Sunbolt is a fun short book set in a fantasy world of magic, vampires and adventures. It introduces the reader to an entirely new universe, in which the world is divided to kingdoms and is populated by different races, such as the above mentioned vampires, also mages, lycans and much more.
On the plus side, overall Sunbolt is fast and enjoyable. Action-filled and not heavy on the romance like some contemporary novels, promoted as YA adventures, which turn out to be sappy drama with a side of “OH! YOU ARE SO SPECIAL THE WAY YOU HAVE ALL THOSE POWERS”(Yep, I’m still talking about my most hated series of last year – Newsoul). There is a lot happening, several developing stories, many characters, most of which powerful and mysterious. Also, the writing is lovely, flowing, interesting and smart. The dialogues are pleasant to read as well.
On the minus side, though, the book is just too short for so much action. At first we have the Ghost storyline, then there’s Blackflame, Kol, then Val, the sunbolt, and then, and then… It’s too much. I’m definitely not saying that it should have been moody and slow, I’d preferred it if it was a tad longer maybe. I wasn’t able to fully grasp this new world and what’s going on in it. Why are different races bad(meaning Hitomi is like a sore thumb out on the streets), what’s with the Kingdoms(even though one of them is actually not ruled by a king but by a sultan and then another one – by a prince?!) Also, a question very important for me – why is it that Intisar Khanani chose to write such a compelling female character, only to make her Asian, considering, after a short search, that Khanani is of Pakistani origin? I am a fan of Middle Eastern culture and I would have enjoyed reading about a strong female coming from that part of the world, as a change to the portrayal of weak and oppressed women in the Middle East that is fed to us daily.
The background of Hitomi’s life just before the book and her relationship with the Ghost was also insufficient for me, I thought that there might be something going on between them and briefly there WAS something mentioned, but that story got lost among everything else. I was also rooting for Val later, but we didn’t see much of him either, as he abruptly left and then the book abruptly ended.
In case you are not understanding me correctly: I was on the way of loving this book. I really was, and I’m really enthusiastic about reading the next one as well. I just wanted more from this one, too. That’s why I have very high hopes that in the second book many of my questions are going to be answered. It’s often hard and confusing at the beginning of the series and it gets better later on. But there are instances in which the first book is full of promise and it goes downhill from there, such as Poison Study series by Maria Snyder. In fact, I see many similarities between the two series: a completely new universe, certain people who possess magical abilities, dictatorship and evil-looking puppeteers in the background, a mysterious dark man with a bad reputation who joins forces with the main heroine. I’m really, really hoping that The Sunbolt Chronicles are going to kick a** all the way to the end, unlike the Poison Study series. It’s ever so hard to find a good YA series and I’m maybe too enthusiastic about The Memories of Ash, as high expectations often lead to disappointment.