Monday, May 6, 2024

The City Beyond the Stars by Zohra Nabi

Today's read is the 2nd in a duology, and I did read the first one (yay!). I remember enjoying the very rich world building and lovely flow of magic in verse...not the entire novel. Just the spells, and these were a nice touch. Since there was still quite a bit to be cleared up at the end of that book, I am looking forward to seeing what happens next. I'm expecting more world-building richness, wonderful relationships, and a heroine with tons of determination.

So, let's see if this second book spins its spell as well as the first book did.

by Zohra Nabi
Illustrated by Fredrica Frenna
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Middle Grade Fantasy
320 pages
ages 8 to 12

MAY 14th!!!

The captivating sequel to “perfect for fans of Philip Pullman and Tahereh Mafi” ( Booklist ) The Kingdom Over the Sea follows Yara and her friends as they change the fate of the kingdom and their magic forever.

Yara may have stopped the magical plague spreading its way through her new home, but to do so, she had to leave her mother in the hands of the sinister alchemists.

Now Yara longs to return to Zehaira and free her mother from her prison. Yet when her mother’s familiar arrives, close to death and bearing a message, Yara must put aside her plans to rescue her and instead set off with her friends to the official residence of the Grand High Sorceress, convinced it holds magic powerful enough to defeat the alchemists.

After a treacherous journey, Yara finds her mother’s house, and in it, a girl claiming to be the daughter of the Grand High Sorceress—a sister Yara didn’t know she had. Meanwhile, the alchemists are circling ever closer, and the magic that Yara’s mother was working threatens the foundations of their world.

Yara is unsure if her newfound sister can be trusted, but she is going to need all the help she can get if she wants to save their mother and take back Zehaira from the alchemists’ rule.



Magic and adventure hit with every page, while friendship, family, and determination create drive and heart.

Yara wants to put an end to the problems, which are killing magic, and free her mother from prison, especially since nobody else seems to be doing much about it. After an argument with her friend, she stumbles across the injured familiar of her mother. It carries a message from her mother, telling her to return home. Clutching to the hope that she'll find a powerful magic to defeat the Grand High Sorceress, she sets off with her friends on a dangerous journey. What she discovers isn't only very unexpected, but threatens magic as they know it.

This takes off where book one left. So, it is important to read this one as a series, and that best with one shortly after the other.

From the very first page, the troubles facing the magical world and Yara take off. The first scenes unveil Yara's concerns and frustrations, and display the dire need she and the others around her are facing as the magic slowly dims. Her personality hits like a whirlwind, especially when unfolding with her friend, Leyla. The relationship between the two is something to enjoy in these pages, but then, many of the characters bring personality and heart. 

There is quite a bit going on. Not only do several plot threads continue from book one, but new ones layer in, too. It keeps the story moving along and something happening on every page, and yet, it wasn't quite as smooth as book one. Still, it is an enjoyable, rich read. Yara's facing quite a bit more and has several new things to learn. Her sister brings an unexpected and tale-changing twist, which slides into another unexpected direction toward the end. All of this seemed as if a book three were underway, but the entire tale rounds off at the end in a quick way. 

There is quite a bit of richness in the story, not only in the magical setting with clashing sides and intrigue, but family and friends bring warmth, rough moments, and heart. The lyrical magic continues to spin with enjoyable flair, and even takes on a slightly different direction than book two. Then, there's the growth of Yara, who is a character to root for from beginning to end, and has her own issues to overcome underway.

Fantasy friends, who enjoy adventure, tons of magic, and slightly darkish intrigue, will enjoy this duology, and I'm looking forward to see what the author produces next.

And here they are...

Zohra Nabi grew up inventing stories for her two younger sisters. She studied law at Cambridge and Oxford universities, but secretly dreamed of being an author. Now she lives in London, browsing bookshops and writing magical adventures. She’s the author of The Kingdom Over the Sea series. 

A little something more...

I adore book trailers and ran across the one to the first book in this series. So, I though I'd share that, too.

1 comment:

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That looks like a fun fantasy for kids.