The Oleander Sword, by Tasha Suri

It’s hard to know what exactly to say in reviewing a sequel, because it’s either a satisfying and worthy follow-up to the original book, or it’s a bit disappointing. You can’t really tell people to dive in and read the second book in a series without reading the first (at least, I wouldn’t). So what I will say about The Oleander Sword is that it an absolutely satisfying, wonderful follow-up to The Jasmine Throne. Set in a fantasy-world version of the Indian subcontinent, this is a brilliantly realized, vivid, gorgeous world. Empress Malini, fighting for her throne, and servant-girl-turned-priestess Priya, her lover, are as compelling as ever; their relationship is tender and terrible and very fraught, and the dangers that menace both their homelands are terrifying. I am simultaneously so excited for the third book in this series, and also have no idea how Tasha Suri will resolve these storylines in a way that’s not completely tragic and heartbreaking (maybe it will be!). And that is about the highest praise I can give to the second book of a trilogy.

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