Spice Road by Maiya Ibrahim- Book review

I loved this middle eastern inspired YA fantasy full of spice, magic, djinns, rebellions and magic tea- here is my review of Spice Road by Maiya Ibrahim.


We will fight but first, we will have tea.

I loved this middle eastern inspired YA fantasy full of spice, magic, djinns, rebellions and magic tea- here is my review of Spice Road, the first book in the Spice Road Trilogy by Maiya Ibrahim.

I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion.

Imani is the first-person narrator and the talented knife-wielder with an affinity for iron and Djinn Slayer from a noble family whose influence goes back generations. Her family still grieves the loss of Atheer her older brother but then she finds out her brother is alive outside the safe boundaries of Qalia but then her view of the world is shattered when she finds out her brother not only chose to leave his family but he has shared the special tea that helps people find their magical abilities. She volunteers ( or demands ) to join the team of scouts to find Atheer and bring him back. But finds the journey changes her in more ways than one.

Imani was an intriguing character- a seventeen-year-old overachiever blind to her privilege, the advantages her wealth and family have brought her and the suffering of people in her own country. At the start of the book, I didn’t like her- spoilt, stubborn, insensitive, conservative, volatile and rude but she changes as the book progresses to become a little less of those things but more compassionate. The fact she doesn’t completely change into the perfect person was realistic.

One of the more interesting subplots was her relationship with Djinn, Qayn, especially considering she is sworn to kill Djinn more so than the complicated, messy relationship with Taha.

The world-building in Spice Road is lush, colourful and vibrant. While the magical abilities people possess aren’t particularly unique, the drinking of magical tea to obtain was a particularly nice touch. The horrors of colonisation and the devastation this wreaks on the country being occupied are suddenly introduced but more effective because of this.

There is plenty of action, magic, and teenage angst but this will appeal to anyone who would like a non-western based fantasy and who loves tea

Content Warning

References to sexual assault, parental abuse, torture

Perfect for Fans of

The Ivory Key ( Review here)by Akasyha Raman and The Stardust Thief ( review here)by Chelsea Abdullah

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