Race the Sands by Sarah Beth Durst

Posted September 19, 2021 by jrsbookr in Fantasy, Middle grade / 0 Comments

by Sarah Beth Durst
Race the Sands by Sarah Beth DurstRace the Sands Published by HarperCollins on April 21, 2020
Source: Review copy
Genres: Fiction / Coming of Age, Fiction / Fantasy / Dark Fantasy, Fiction / Fantasy / Dragons & Mythical Creatures, Fiction / Fantasy / Epic
Pages: 544
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Format: ARC
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“National Velvet with monsters and a big helping of palace intrigue, Race the Sands is monstrous (literally), heartwarming, and empowering in equal measure. An incredibly fun and inspiring read.” – Katherine Arden, New York Times bestselling author of The Bear and the Nightingale

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, who you are in this life will determine your next life. Yet there is hope—you can change your destiny with the choices you make. But for the darkest individuals, there is no redemption: you come back as a kehok, a monster, and are doomed to be a kehok for the rest of time.

Unless you can win the Races.

After a celebrated career as an elite kehok rider, Tamra became a professional trainer. Then a tragic accident shattered her confidence, damaged her reputation, and left her nearly broke. Now, she 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 needs 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.


A story about monster racing that you as the racer control by focusing only on the race and the present moment. An intense story based on some political intrigue in the background and based on the pureness of one’s soul and rebirth. The emperor has killed, and now his brother must find his reborn soul. The monsters that race is seen as monsters and overlooked as a possibility for the emperor’s soul. Augurs who can read souls are the central government besides the emperor that rules, and they are believed to be the purest in the world. The story centers around two women who are caught up in a political battle to save the world. The world-building is fantastic, the concept of monster racing is unique, and the characters’ fierceness is a trademark of this author. Sarah Beth durst always delivers a well-thought-out story, and this one is no exception.

Audiobook Sample




About Sarah Beth Durst

Sarah Beth Durst is the award-winning author of over twenty fantasy books for adults, teens, and kids, including THE QUEENS OF RENTHIA series, DRINK SLAY LOVE, and SPARK. She won an American Library Association Alex Award and a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and has been a finalist for SFWA’s Andre Norton Nebula Award three times. She is a graduate of Princeton University and lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband, her children, and her ill-mannered cat.

Rating Report
Overall: 5