Thursday, April 16, 2020

ARC Review: Race the Sands by Sarah Beth Durst

Race the Sands
Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Publication: Harper Voyager (May 28, 2020)

Description: In this epic standalone fantasy, the acclaimed author of the Queens of Renthia series introduces an imaginative new world in which a pair of strong and determined women risk their lives battling injustice, corruption, and deadly enemies in their quest to become monster racing champions.

Life, death, and rebirth—in Becar, who you are in this life will determine your next life. Yet there is hope—you can change your destiny with the choices you make. But for the darkest individuals, there is no redemption: you come back as a kehok, a monster, and are doomed to be a kehok for the rest of time.

Unless you can win the Races.

After a celebrated career as an elite kehok rider, Tamra became a professional trainer. Then a tragic accident shattered her confidence, damaged her reputation, and left her nearly broke. Now, she needs the prize money to prevent the local temple from taking her daughter away from her, and that means she must once again find a winning kehok . . . and a rider willing to trust her.

Raia is desperate to get away from her domineering family and cruel fiancé. As a kehok rider, she could earn enough to buy her freedom. But she needs a first-rate trainer.

Impressed by the inexperienced young woman’s determination, Tamra hires Raia and pairs her with a strange new kehok with the potential to win—if he can be tamed.

But in this sport, if you forget you’re riding on the back of a monster, you die. Tamra and Raia will work harder than they ever thought possible to win the deadly Becaran Races—and in the process, discover what makes this particular kehok so special.

My Thoughts: In Becar, everyone knows that augurs can see your aura and know what you will be in your next life. And if you are evil, you will become a kehok with no possibility of rebirth ... unless you can win the Races.

Tamra was an elite rider in the Races. After some injuries, she has become a trainer of riders and kehoks. She is down on her luck because of an accident in last year's race. She needs the support of her patron Lady Evara, a cheap kehok, and a rider who is hungry for victory. Without those three things, she will be forced to surrender the daughter she adores into the care of the augurs.

She finds a metallic black lion in an out-of-the-way market and a young woman named Raia who has fled to become a racer because she needs the money to pay off her parents before she can be free. Winning with that untried pair is their only hope to solve both Tamra and Raia's problems.

Becar is in a difficult situation. After the death of Emperor Zarin, his brother Dar should be the next emperor. But first they need to find the vessel that now hosts Zarin's soul and their searching is not being successful. Nothing can be done until the vessel is found - no new contracts, no moving the army, no stability. And the empire of Ranir is looking at Becar as a fruit to be plucked during their time of trouble.

Dar sends an augur named Yorbel who is a good, kind-hearted man and a trusted friend to see if he can find Zarin's new vessel. Yorbel feels that his only hope is to check out the kehok even though he's sure Zarin was a good man and wouldn't have been reincarnated as one of those creatures.

This was an excellent fantasy with extremely engaging characters and excellent world building. I could feel the desert heat and blowing sand and the excitement of the races. I could feel the fear that the riders felt trying to learn to control monsters with only the force of their will. I could feel Tamra's desperation and determination to win and protect her daughter. I felt Dar's grief for his lost brother and his determination to become a good emperor. The story was rich in detail and filled with intrigue, betrayals, and also good people trying to do their best.

I highly recommend this one for all fantasy fans.

Favorite Quote:
The longer he stared, the more certain he was. He saw the shape of the man this monster used to be. The late emperor Zarin. I was right.

He wished with every fiber of his being that he wasn't.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from the author. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. This looks like a fantasy series I would like too.
    Thanks for sharing!


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