The Library of Fates
By: Aditi Khorana
Publication Date: July 18th 2017
No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.
The palace is soon under siege, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.
Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life—and another love—await?
If you loved Roshani Chokshi’s Crown of Wishes and Star-Touched Queen, but are really lamenting the fact that she doesn’t have a new book out NOW that you can read, you’re in luck: Aditi Khorana is here to fulfill your craving for a gorgeous indian-inspired tale of self-discovery and adventure.
The story in a lot of ways feels like it runs parallel to Star-Touched Queen…the princess facing an unpleasant marriage alliance, before being yanked off that path and onto another one involving a magnetic, attractive man who knows a lot about her past life. But Library of Fates isn’t an exact copy–its building on what feels like an age-old story, but adding new and innovative flourishes. And it adds in a few historical touches (Sikander sounds a lot like Alexander), while still keeping a decided element of fiction (I’m not sure it’s coincidence that Shalingar is an anagram of Shangri-La).
I especially liked how much agency Amrita has in discovering who she is and what her role is. Contrasting to Star-Touched Queen, where Maya is thrust into a world where she has little to do and no explanation (until the end, that is), Amrita is very active. She pushes for her diplomatic marriage to the Macedonian Sikander even when her father opposes it, because she wants to make sure that her people are safe. She works to find out what is going on, uses logic to try and determine what is real, and has as her ultimate goal saving her country. Even though at times she’s confused and afraid, she works through it in what felt like a realistic way.
Amitra also has strong allies, especially in the form of Thala. A Macedonian oracle/slave who was ‘gifted’ to Amrita by Sikander, the two become close friends, and rely on each other in a way that I really enjoyed. That kind of girl power is so rare to see, and I loved every minute of it. Even though there were a few spats–especially when Amrita was trying to figure out what she needed to do and why she needed to do it–they also felt realistic, and I liked how they worked through it. But Thala by herself was also a delight. She was pragmatic in an almost vicious way, clever, and a good balance to Amrita’s compassion. I also liked how the book dealt with Thala’s struggles with addiction.
Frankly, the girl-power duo takes prominence to any kind of romance, but there is a little of that. Amrita and her best friend Arjun have a fling at the very beginning, but as their paths diverge Amrita meets Varun and discovers that they have a decided connection. My one complaint is that, as much as I did like the moments she had with Arjun, I didn’t totally see his point in the great scheme of things, except as a part of the theme of Amrita letting go of the relationships that bind her to her world. But I liked how Varun’s connection with Amrita was understated, how he was giving her space to figure things out organically instead of barging in and saying ‘we’re meant to be together’.
I did get a bit confused, because part of their story involves reincarnation (again, like Star-Touched Queen), but it’s never really explained. But in a way, it also didn’t really need to be, because it was such a small part of the book.
And frankly, the last bit of the book was so well-done, so beautifully sad and exploratory, but with such happy moments, that it just made me happy. So, start Library of Fates for the girl power and general awesomeness of Amrita, and stay for the really beautifully touching ending and the lovely Indian mythological background.
Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us.