An epic, all-inclusive humdinger of a start to a new fantasy series set on a world where the colour blood you are born with depends on your standing in society.
A debut that sings, in fact roars with strong vibrant themes, beautiful storytelling, and fabulous characters. Three women sit centre stage as the trials begin to find the next rulers of the Empire, each has different coloured blood and were born to very different roles. This is the first in the The Final Strife series, and Author Saara El-Arifi has created the most compelling world with roots in Ghanian folklore and Arabian myths. A vivid energy crackles into life from the start. The sense of place is immense, I saw, I felt, I believed. The three very different young women who lead in the story, in such different ways, have fascinating characters. The story flows through some thought-provoking topics, from oppression and rebellion through to drug addiction. Love can be found in its many guises including friendship as well as romance. While tyranny rules, this in an inclusive land in terms of relationships and diversity. I would say this is definitely not for younger teens due to content, but is suitable for those heading towards their twenties as well as adults. This first book sets up the continuing story rather wonderfully and I can’t wait to see where we head next. A LoveReading Star Book and Liz Pick of the Month, The Final Strife, so very clever, bold and provocative has set aflame a new world that promises much, highly recommended.
The Empire rules by blood
Red is the blood of the elite, of magic, of control.
Blue is the blood of the poor, of workers, of the resistance.
Clear is the blood of the servants, of the crushed, of the invisible.
The Aktibar - a set of trials held every ten years to find the next Ember rulers of the Empire - is about to begin.
All can join but not just anyone can win; it requires great skill and ingenuity to become the future wardens of Strength, Knowledge, Truth and Duty.
Sylah was destined to win the trials and be crowned Warden of Strength. Stolen by blue-blooded rebels she was raised with a Duster's heart; forged as a weapon to bring down from within the red-blooded Embers' regime of cruelty. But when her adopted family were brutally murdered those dreams of a better future turned to dust.
However, the flame of hope may yet be rekindled because Sylah wasn't made to sparkle, she was born to burn.
And it's up to her whether she rules the empire or destroys it.
|Publication date:||23rd June 2022|
|Publisher:||HarperVoyager an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers|
'El-Arifi is a game-changing new voice in epic fantasy, and The Final Strife is a triumph of book, full of rage, charm, and a cast of misfits you can't help but root for. There are no Chosen Ones here. Only bad choices and blood'
Tasha Suri, author of The Jasmine Throne
'Epic, gripping and searing, The Final Strife weaves a fascinating tale of destiny, magic and love set in a richly imagined yet brutally divided world. Its unexpected, gritty heroine is one you cannot help but root for, and the story will stay with you long after the last page'
Sue Lynn Tan, author of Daughter of the Moon Goddess
'El-Arifi tells a tale that is as fierce as its characters, plunging you into a sandy, stratified world until you can feel the grit between your teeth. Heart-wrenching and heart-pounding, The Final Strife is an unmissable debut'
Andrea Stewart, author of Bone Shard Daughter
'Full of rich, vivid world-building with political intrigue and characters you can't help but root for. I loved it'
Christina Sweeney-Baird, author of The End of Men
'Epic fantasy turned on its head in the most compelling way imaginable. A heroine with bite, a supporting cast of flawed but deeply human characters, and world building that is raw, unforgiving and richly textured, The Final Strife is the real deal. El-Arifi is a bold new voice in epic fantasy and I cannot wait to read more of her work'
Kalynn Bayron, bestselling author of Cinderella Is Dead and This Poison Heart