Book Review

The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty | Book Review

The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty
Release Date: 2nd March 2023
Genre: Adult, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

Amina al-Sirafi should be content. After a storied and scandalous career as one of the Indian Ocean’s most notorious pirates, she’s survived backstabbing rogues, vengeful merchant princes, several husbands, and one actual demon to retire peacefully with her family to a life of piety, motherhood, and absolutely nothing that hints of the supernatural.

But when she’s tracked down by the obscenely wealthy mother of a former crewman, she’s offered a job no bandit could refuse: retrieve her comrade’s kidnapped daughter for a kingly sum. The chance to have one last adventure with her crew, do right by an old friend, and win a fortune that will secure her family’s future forever? It seems like such an obvious choice that it must be God’s will.

Yet the deeper Amina dives, the more it becomes alarmingly clear there’s more to this job, and the girl’s disappearance, than she was led to believe. For there’s always risk in wanting to become a legend, to seize one last chance at glory, to savor just a bit more power…and the price might be your very soul.

Okay, where do I even start? It should be apparent to all of my regular readers and viewers that Shannon Chakraborty is one of my favourite authors. The Daevabad trilogy is probably my all time favourite series.

So while I trusted Shannon (yes, I am first-naming her here) to deliver something great, Amina had huge boots to fill in order to compete with my favourites from the Daevabad series.

I’m happy to report that she managed it, though!

The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi takes everything you love from a classic heist story, throws it into the ocean, and spits back a load of magic and mythical sea creatures. And heart. Lots and lots of heart.

The story starts by introducing us to Amina, a retired pirate captain who is hiding from the world after experiencing some trauma in her past life. she is sent on a mission and has to gather a crew, while trying to figure out the disappearance of a missing girl and a mysterious man from another continent.

It’s all systems go as soon as Amina accepts the job, and we follow her gathering her old crewmates and slowly learn more about her past along the way.

I adore Amina and the love she has for her daughter. I also love the relationships she has with her crewmates. Everyone is close knit and accepting of one another, even of each other’s less positive traits. Watching the crew come together again was a joy.

I can’t talk too much about a certain crew member but would I really be stanning properly if I didn’t have a questionable ship? That’s all I’m going to say on that.

My favourite member of the crew was definitely Delila, the mistress of poisons. I thought she was brilliant and I kind of want to be her. I hope we can learn more about her past in the sequel.

While this wasn’t the case for me, readers may find the beginning of the story a little slow. I didn’t at all, but the story follows some of the same beats as The City of Brass in terms of pacing, and some people struggle with the first one hundred pages of set up in that one, and so that may be the case here.

Keep going though because you’re in for a treat as you discover and explore the different countries, islands, and the high seas.

I loved the tie ins with the Daevabad trilogy too, particularly in the first chapter that already had me shrieking. I’m really excited to see where this series goes because while although you could read Amina as a standalone, I think there is so much more here to explore.

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