Book of the Year 2019 (see all)
This is the fourth book in The Song of Shattered Sands series, this series that does need to be read in order, so please don’t read on if you haven’t read the first three novels in order. The first review can be found here. Beneath the Twisted Trees continues on from the events in A Veil of Spears. Çeda continues her plan to free the Asirim from their cursed nature. Although this is Çeda’s story, The Song of Shattered Sands is a story told from multiple characters perspectives, this allows us to see a fuller picture of what is happening in Sharakhai, as well as what is happening in the surrounding desert.
Throughout Beneath the Twisted Trees, we get to find out more of the gods plans, why they are so determined to hold the Kings to their promises and to get rid of Nalamae once and for all. King Ishan becomes even more active in the events happening in Sharakhai while trying to find out the meaning of Yusam’s prophecies. Ishan wants to align his own plans with the most likely paths to success, as well as trying to find out exactly how Çeda plays into the future of Sharakhai.
Brama and Rümayesh while wandering the desert end up allying with the Queen of Mirea, but whether they are seen as friend or foe remains to be seen. Mirea still covets Sharakhai, which means both facing the power of the Kings and their new Queen, Meryam. Meryam has quickly risen amongst the ruling Kings after her wedding to the fake Kiral. Meryam’s stratagem to gain power is more sophisticated than that of the Mireans and Malasani who intend to battle and take the City by force, whereas Meryam is taking power from within.
Then there is Davud and Anila, now separated from each other. Anila is stuck in a dangerous position of trying to keep her family out of harm’s way while Sukru asks her to perform an impossible task. Davud is still trying to work out his place in the world. With their new alliance with Ramahad, leading them into more danger as Ramahad is playing a game of hide and seek with Meryam as he hides from her detection and seeks a way to bring about Meryam’s downfall. Davud is searching for a way to help Anila but gets himself further into trouble while still looking for a teacher to help show him the way.
Lastly, Emre’s chapters are a bit slower to get into the action as he continues to gain knowledge on diplomacy and how to be an ambassador to the thirteenth tribe. His chapters are no less horrifying though as he learns more about power and how to negotiate. Emre becomes more aware, that just because you don’t want the Kings to rule, that doesn’t mean that someone better will fill the vacuum.
Beneath the Twisted Trees is rich in detail, which allows us to follow this large cast of characters and how their actions interweave with each other. The size of the book can be a bit overwhelming but the stories move quickly between one chapter and the next. There are lots of mini cliffhangers that leave you wanting to catch up with what happens to various characters. Although this does also mean that some characters' stories do move faster than others.
I really like how complicated the story is, where you get to wonder how these stories are connected and how each character’s main story may interact with the others. Working out who not only has the upper hand in each chapter but whether they will be able to keep it in the next. The fact that as the series goes on this world's gods are becoming more involved in the human lives around them, making the stakes higher and making the world even more fantastic than previously seen. There are still many secrets to unearth and agendas to be revealed.
It is really interesting to see how far Çeda and Emre have come from when they were introduced in Twelve Kings. As well as seeing which other characters are still alive at this point. Beneath the Twisted Trees delves into the destructiveness of war and the consequences your actions have on yourself and others. I can’t wait to find out what will happen next in this series and how long the status quo will be able to survive as more troubles are on the horizon for our characters.
Review by Michelle Herbert
9.8/10 from 1 reviews
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