My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Ever since I read Coiled, I think I've been a little bit of a Burke fan. So I was quite excited for Spice Bringer!
The story is set in a lush, beautiful, fantasy world--full of colour and spice--with slightly Indian undertones. I was initially slightly wary of this--after all the publishing kerfuffle and fuss, you tend to look askance at stuff like this... but whilst Burke uses the real world for inspiration, this fantasy world is all her own.
Alk, the ornery fire salamander, is one of my favourite characters in this book. He's sarcastic and prickly, hiding a caring heart that has a soft spot for the girl he watched grow up. The interplay between Niya and Alk made me chuckle with amusement many times. And the ending! It made me cry.
Spice Bringer is all about Sacrifice for the Greater Good and Putting Others Above Yourself, which are good things to read about in this increasingly selfish society. It's also very much a story about Personal Responsibility and Keeping Your Promises. (And I don't really know why I'm capitalising those things.) I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's a story that believes in the good of people.
Spice Bringer is also a love story, of course. What YA fantasy isn't? But Niya knows she will never live a long life, so she vows not to fall in love... and Jayesh is supposed to be a monk, so he's not supposed to fall in love... Can you see that perfectly mushily stupid setup there? There it is... all that diabetes-inducing sweetly forbidden love. It made me cry.
You'll notice I mentioned crying twice already. Which is strange because I rarely ever cry while reading. The one short story that made me cry (a lot) was Orson Scott Card's Gert Fram. Another book I cried (a little) at was J.M. Frey's The Silenced Tale BUT I CRIED THREE TIMES IN THIS BOOK. It's either it's really good or I'm really PMS-ing, or both.
Note: I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher. I was given the book with no expectation of a positive review and the review is my own.
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A deadly disease. A vanishing remedy. A breathless journey.
All her life, Niya's known she will die young from the fatal rasp. She survives only with the aid of vitrisar spice and a magical, curmudgeonly fire salamander named Alk. Then an ambitious princess burns down the vitrisar grove in an effort to steal Alk so she can claim her rightful throne. Joined by Jayesh, a disgraced monk, Niya and Alk must flee to the faraway Hidden Temple with the last vitrisar plant, or all who suffer from the rasp will perish.
But even as Niya’s frustration and banter with Jayesh deepen to affection, the rasp is stealing away her breath and life.
For a girl with limited time and a crippling quest, love may be more painful than death.
Spice Bringer releases August 28 so get your copy today!
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Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.
An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.