Time for another book review! I am absolutely floored that I am actually reading pretty regularly to start off 2024. I’m also attempting very hard to get caught up on my (embarrassingly large) overdue ARC pile. In that effort, I’ve started listening to some audiobooks while working the day job, and that’s how I read The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah!
For me, The Stardust Thief was an enjoyable read, but with enough stumbles that I’m questioning whether to continue the series.
An ARC copy was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
Publisher: Orbit Books | Release Date: 2022 | Pages: 467
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Fantasy | Format: Audiobook | Source: ARC/Library
Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal who, with the help of her jinn bodyguard, hunts and sells illegal magic. When she saves the life of a cowardly prince, she draws the attention of his powerful father, the sultan, who blackmails her into finding an ancient lamp that has the power to revive the barren land—at the cost of sacrificing all jinn.
With no choice but to obey or be executed, Loulie journeys with the sultan’s oldest son to find the artifact. Aided by her bodyguard, who has secrets of his own, they must survive ghoul attacks, outwit a vengeful jinn queen, and confront a malicious killer from Loulie’s past. And, in a world where story is reality and illusion is truth, Loulie will discover that everything—her enemy, her magic, even her own past—is not what it seems, and she must decide who she will become in this new reality.
- Loulie and Mazen’s characters. I absolutely just adored Mazen. Though Loulie could be a little annoying at times, I also loved her fire, passion and humor. Aisha was also fascinating.
- Some twists. There were some really great twists in this (especially the one that let Mazen continue to be in the story, which I was really grateful for). I also loved the timing of the secrets being unveiled, since all of our trio (plus Qadir, as boy does he have some).
- Worldbuilding. My absolute favorite part of the book was the worldbuilding, though. I need to read more books with Arabic influences and worldbuilding, but I loved this.
- Length/pacing. I found this book to have some really slow pacing and about…I dunno, 100 pages too long? I usually don’t mind slower books, but for this one, I think I would have enjoyed it more if it was a bit shorter.
- The ending. This ties with the pacing. Though the ending was really interesting, I felt we didn’t get enough resolution. Obviously this is a trilogy, but I wanted more from this book.
- Repetition. I think this is something that might be because I listed to the audiobook. Yet, there were some phrasing repeated that just got annoying. (But, I also binge-listened, so that also prolly didn’t help and this is incredibly nitpicky.)
Overall, I liked The Stardust Thief. And I think I’m in the minority with some of my critiques, as I think many of my friends loved this book much more than I did. (Plus, I’ve seen The Ashfire King on many people’s radars.) Currently, I’m a bit torn whether I want to continue this series or not. Although I did enjoy it, I was also excited when it was finished, because it meant I could start something new. *shrugs*