Title: Race the sands.
Author: Sarah Beth Durst.
Format: E-ARC (Thanks to Edelweiss for providing this ARC!).
Publisher: Harper Voyager.
Page count: 400.
Release day: April 21st 2020.
Genre: Adult, fantasy.
Rating: 4 stars.
What is it about? (Summary from GoodReads)
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, everyone knows that who you are in this life will determine what you are in your next life. The augurs can read your fate in your aura: hawk, heron, tortoise, jackal, human. Armed with that knowledge, you can change your destiny with the choices you make, both in this life and your next. But for the darkest individuals, there is no redemption: you come back as a kehok, a monster, and you will always be a kehok for the rest of time.
Unless you can win the Races.
As a professional trainer, Tamra was an elite kehok rider. Then a tragic accident on the track shattered her confidence, damaged her career, and left her nearly broke. Now Tamra 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 can’t become good enough to compete without 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.
Average: 7.9 (which means 4 stars!)
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this book, the only other book that I’ve read from Sarah Beth Durst is Fire & Heist, and I didn’t really like it.. So I want into this one with low expectations, and I was pleasantly surprised!
This book felt so original to me! People get reborn into animals, the better you were in your life the better the animal is (I guess). Murderers and thieves get reborn as Kehoks, basically monsters, and no one wants that. There are people who are trained to be an Augur, Augurs can look into people’s soul and see as what they will be reborn. In the beginning of this book the emperor has just died, and they are looking for the animal that he has been turned into. They have to find him before his brother can be crowned as emperor. So that is part of the story. But another part is following these Kehoks, who are being used for races. So we follow Trainer Tamra, and racer Raia, who are trying to win the races, both for different reasons.
This all sounds like quite a bit, but it all tied in together so well! I really enjoyed all the characters, they all really had substance and developed throughout the book! I especially enjoyed Tamra, but I would have loved to learn even more about her! She has a kid, but there is no father figure, and I got a bit interested in that, not that it was important for the story! I feel like we got the most information about Raia, which I really enjoyed. I also would not have minded a bit more explanation about the relation between Dar (the emperor-to-be) and the different Augurs in his life!
The politics were also so interesting! I really like the roles of these high-augurs in relation to the Emperor! And then there was this threat of an attack of another country, and I really liked what we learned about that near the end of the book. But I’m not going into that because of spoilers.
On both Edelweiss and GoodReads this book is classified as Adult, I have to admit I do not see why?! I think this is more of a YA read, I mean there are no big fighting scenes with lots of gore or anything? But maybe that is just me who thinks that haha!
I definitely recommend you guys to check this one out!