So I’ve read more books in 2022 than in any past year. And this month, I finally felt like I was getting into a reading slump. I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood to read, and I picked up two different books, only for them to feel like a chore.
But then I remembered I checked out The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah, a One Thousand and One Nights retelling, from the library.
The Stardust Thief is an adult fantasy that follows Loulie, who is also known as the Midnight Merchant. With the help of her jinn bodyguard, Qadir, Loulie finds and sells magical jinn relics on the black market. But when the sultan blackmails her into going on a quest for him, Loulie treks across the desert to find a magical lamp and realizes not everything is as it seems.
This was just such a fun book to read. It reads like part adventure story, part myth, and part revenge story. It has multiple POVs—Loulie, Prince Mazen, and one of the eldest Prince Omar’s forty thieves named Aisha. At first, I only wanted to read from Loulie’s perspective, but by the end, all of the characters stole my heart!
All of the characters were so well-rounded. Their distinctive personalities and motivations carried me through the story. I especially loved Qadir and Loulie and their familial-type relationship, and I enjoyed learning about their pasts.
The beginning does start off a little slow, but I like how it allowed Abdullah to set up the scene and really make me root for the characters. Plus, there are still plenty of action scenes!
The worldbuilding is excellent. The different settings shine on the page. There’s also an emphasis on storytelling in The Stardust Thief, and I loved “listening” to Mazen’s stories. Overall, Abdullah’s writing style worked really well for me.
The ending has some great reveals, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the sequel!