Of Sand and Malice by Bradley Beaulieu

Rating 7.0/10
Really engaging, I will always find the character of Ceda to be absorbing

Bradley Beaulieu’s Of Sand and Malice is set in the same world as Twelve Kings, the first novel in The Song of the Shattered Sands series. You do not need to have read Twelve Kings to read this novella, as Of Sand and Malice does a good job of introducing you to Çeda and her friends without making you feel like you have missed vital information from the novel.

In the novella, we are told the story of how Çeda first became the White Wolf in the fighting pits. Again Çeda is joined by her best friend Emre, as well as other characters we have met before. This is a story independent of Twelve Kings and focuses on a different kind of danger that Çeda has to confront after coming to the attention of a mysterious antagonist named Rümayesh. Rümayesh is a collector of sorts, and what she currently wants is Çeda. Çeda will need to escape Rümayesh’s influence whilst seeking help from untrustworthy sources. As the story goes deeper into the characters histories we have to ask ourselves who the victim of this story truly is? It is intriguing to see that this world holds an infinite number of supernatural dangers, that although mythical in nature, have an impact on the every day.

Although as mentioned you do not need to read Twelve Kings, the biggest problem with Of Sand and Malice is if you have read Twelve Kings, as the story loses some of its tension owing to the fact that I never felt that Çeda was in mortal danger. This is mostly due to the structure of Twelve Kings, which switches between events in Çeda’s past and that of her present so we already know how Çeda’s character is formed by the events in the larger story.

Still, I found Bradley Beaulieu writing to be really engaging, and although, as mentioned I did feel burdened with the knowledge of where the story goes after this event in Çeda’s life, I was able to become fully absorbed in the novella. I will always find the character of Çeda to be absorbing, as she forges herself into the weapon she needs to enact her revenge on the people she blames for her mother’s death, which even in this novella, she never loses track of.

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