Spice Road Published by National Geographic Books on January 24, 2023
Genres: Young Adult Fiction / Action & Adventure / General, Young Adult Fiction / Fantasy / Epic, Young Adult Fiction / Historical / Middle East
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The first book in an epic fantasy series set in an Arabian-inspired land with secret spice magic. Raised to protect her nation from the monsters lurking in the sands, sixteen-year-old Imani must fight to find her brother, whose betrayal is now the country's greatest threat.
In the hidden desert city of Qalia, there is secret spice magic that awakens the affinities of those who drink the misra tea. Sixteen-year-old Imani has the affinity for iron and is able to wield a dagger like no other warrior. She has garnered the reputation as being the next great Shield for battling djinn, ghouls, and other monsters spreading across the sands.
Her reputation has been overshadowed, however, by her brother, who tarnished the family name after it was revealed that he was stealing his nation's coveted spice—a telltale sign of magical obsession. Soon after that, he disappeared, believed to have died beyond the Forbidden Wastes. Despite her brother’s betrayal, there isn’t a day that goes by when Imani doesn’t grieve him.
But when Imani discovers signs that her brother may be alive and spreading the nation's magic to outsiders, she makes a deal with the Council that she will find him and bring him back to Qalia, where he will face punishment. Accompanied by other Shields, including Taha, a powerful beastseer who can control the minds of falcons, she sets out on her mission.
Imani will soon find that many secrets lie beyond the Forbidden Wastes—and in her own heart—but will she find her brother?
The Spice Road is a debut fantasy novel set around a special magical tea called misra, a djinn, and the protection of that magic and home. Imani is an excellent swordsman in her home of Quali; she is known as the greatest fighter of monsters and Djinn, dark creatures who surround the sands on the city’s outskirts. Unfortunately, Atheer, her brother, has been accused of stealing the magical misra tea and sharing it with outsiders and is rumored to have perished in the Forbidden wastes. What unfolds in this first book is the attempted rescue of Atheer, the eye-opening truth about the outside world, and the Djinn—deciding what you see, what you believe, and your place in the world—a captivating debut novel to start 2023.