Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani


Rating: 2.5 Stars

Mgeni! Stay a moment; I have your future for you.”


On the island of Karolene, Archmage Blackflame is the puppetmaster behind the Sultan’s throne. Few dare to oppose him, among them the Shadow League. Hitomi, a young thief barely scraping by, aids the League in what is supposed to be a straightforward mission to get a politician and his family out of Karolene safely.

When things don’t go as planned, Hitomi finds herself facing not only Blackflame but a sadistic bloodsucker as well.


Sunbolt is a novella, but I feel that it would have worked better as a novel. The beginning of the book is very action-packed. The scenes are well-written and exciting, but they happened way too fast one after the other.

Fear lends me speed for the second time today. I race down another alley, turn and sprint through the open door of a building. I run up the stairs, ignoring the surprised faces of two women chatting before a door, and bust onto the rooftop.

There just wasn’t enough space in the book for things to develop. There wasn’t  enough time to soak up the atmosphere and get to know the characters better.

It’s a shame because with just a few sentences the book managed to convey a decent sense of the characters. With a bit more room to grow, they could have been much deeper and more interesting.

I liked the worldbuilding and the atmosphere, but again we only get glimpses.

“You can keep my future, Mama Ali,” I reply. “It will probably do you more good than me.”

My words draw laughter from the surrounding fishmongers. The market stalls are packed tightly together, every counter offering up the bounty of the sea, scenting the air with salt and fish.

I was, however, really disappointed by the last third of the book. Unlike the rest of the book, almost nothing really happened. Neither action nor relationship-building. The story just meandered along and then petered out to an unsatisfying end.


Overall, a nice story set in an interesting world. However, it was too short and did not spend enough time on the characters.


3 thoughts on “Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani

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