>> Friday, January 30, 2015
Published Nov 4, 2014
Kindle Edition, 405 pages
When I saw this book on Bloggin' Bout Books and read how Susan raved about it, I knew I wanted to read it. The author was kind enough to gift me a Kindle copy (thank you!) and I dug into it in December. What a story!
The last time I read a YA book set in the Mesopotamian desert was The Frankincense Trail by Jody Kihara, which I loved. This novel was just as good, and I am thrilled it is the first book in a trilogy because I can't let go of the story and I want more.
Jayden lives with her tribe in the desert, living a hard but satisfying nomad life. She has the privilege of being betrothed to Horeb, the tribe leader, which will make her wealthy and restore her family's position within the tribe. But tragedy strikes in Jayden's family, and suddenly she is forced to take on great responsibility for a girl of sixteen.
Her heart is heavy when she meets Kadesh, a mysterious boy from the Southern Lands. Jayden now experiences a forbidden love and does not want to marry Horeb. But the plot thickens as raiding bands, murder, violence and shame comes upon Jayden's family. Strong of character and will, Jayden sets out to protect her loved ones and to drastically alter her life.
I couldn't put this book down. So many twists and turns, and a plot that left me wondering how Jayden was going to deal with it all. Best of all, this book had me feeling all sorts of things: sadness, indecision, the excitement of first love, fear, suspense, adventure, exotic dreams...you name it, this book had it all. Jayden is such a memorable character, and I look forward to reading more about her story in the next installments. Yes, there is romance, but this book has so much more. There are sibling relationships, family traditions and lots of action adventure. I loved how the author focused on all these elements to bring us a good story. I could see this book being made into a movie.
Although not Christian fiction, this book makes reference to actual people who lived in the desert and are mentioned in the Bible. I picked up on several Biblical references, just because I've read a lot about this time period and setting. And the setting is one of the best things about this book. The author even included a note about her research for this novel. I applaud authors who write YA historical fiction and delve into settings not often explored.
If you like YA and historical fiction with great character development and plenty of action adventure, then this is the perfect book in which to escape. This book made it on my Best Books of 2014 list. If I had more time on my hands, I'd read it again.
Note: This book is rated PG for scenes of violence and temple prostitutes. No bad language or sex scenes.
Reviewed by Laura
Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.