The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah (BOOK REVIEW) || A Must-Read!

I absolutely LOVED reading and the sequel was recently announced WITH the cover – both are amazing and I have to now wait for NOVEMBER NEXT YEAR for the sequel? It’s okay, I will very much most likely forget about it because my memory is terrible and loaded with so much else to read.

Disclaimer: I received this audio review copy through the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for a free and honest review. The book cover and details are taken from Goodreads and the content warnings are taken from The Storygraph; from me reading the book, or from others’ reviews. I try my absolute best to find the cover art/designer but unfortunately I am not always able to do so. The page numbers/audio hours are taken from the version that I’m reading from (if an e-arc, the Kindle version then). The featured image is my own. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Title: The Stardust Thief
Author: Chelsea Abdullah
Narrators: Nikki Massoud, Sean Rohani, Rasha Zamamiri
Series: The Sandsea Trilogy (#1)
Year Published: 2022
Number of Hours: 15h 38m
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Cover Art/Designer: Lisa Marie Pompilio (design), Mike Heath (art)
Genre: Adult ~ Fantasy ~ Retelllings ~ Action and Adventure
Links: Goodreads || The Storygraph
Copy: Audio review copy (Netgalley)
CW/TW: Graphic Violence, Murder, Death. Moderate: Death of parent, Torture, Blood. Minor: Child death, Animal death

Neither here nor there, but long ago…
Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal who, with the help of her jinn bodyguard, hunts and sells illegal magic. When she saves the life of a cowardly prince, she draws the attention of his powerful father, the sultan, who blackmails her into finding an ancient lamp that has the power to revive the barren land—at the cost of sacrificing all jinn.

With no choice but to obey or be executed, Loulie journeys with the sultan’s oldest son to find the artifact. Aided by her bodyguard, who has secrets of his own, they must survive ghoul attacks, outwit a vengeful jinn queen, and confront a malicious killer from Loulie’s past. And, in a world where story is reality and illusion is truth, Loulie will discover that everything—her enemy, her magic, even her own past—is not what it seems, and she must decide who she will become in this new reality.

Inspired by stories from One Thousand and One Nights, The Stardust Thief weaves the gripping tale of a legendary smuggler, a cowardly prince, and a dangerous quest across the desert to find a legendary, magical lamp.

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I think what I really needed was a long and in-depth book to just push me and really get me in the mood to read long fantasy books again and this really did! Even though this is under 500 pages so it’s not actually that long, but it felt like it was. That is quite impressive, though – to seem like a long book even though it’s not a long book (I think long books are usually over 500 pages?).

It is such an immersive book, it really just drags you into the story, making you forget where you actually are because it truly felt like I was traveling with the characters, living the story with them – which is honestly my biggest wish when I’m reading (especially fantasy) books. Abdullah can definitely pat herself on the back because it is really impressive and I can’t wait to read everything else she has (and I very much hope she’ll be writing more after this trilogy is complete).

The characters are really what drew me in first. They’re rich, well-written, complicated without being too complicated. They’re exactly the type of characters you’d want to have and follow in a fantasy series. Loulie al-Nazari is just the type of female main character I want to see in a book – smart, capable, one who knows herself. I always love any type of magical items in books, so of course her finding and selling ancient relics made me like her more. I also like her strong personality and the fact that she’s a strong character who speaks her mind. Qadir is definitely my favourite character and he just needs so many naps because he’s so busy being the Dad™️ of the group. I NEED his POV in the sequel, you don’t understand how much. He’s funny and I love him. I loved reading his relationship with Loulie and how he cares for her.

Mazen and Aisha are two characters that I didn’t think I’d like but I grew to really like them. Mazen, originally unsure about basically everything, really started to come more into his personality and shared what he loved – telling stories. I loved hearing the stories and the big emphasis that they had in the book – which just goes to show you how important oral storytelling is in various cultures. I didn’t like Aisha at the start but she grew on me with her fierce personality and how she just forges on, not caring what people care about her.

The oral storytelling plays a big role in the book and I love how Abdullah ties the storytelling to culture, mythology, and history. The writing and world-building are both stunning and vibrant. Rich with description – especially the food – it made hungry several times 😂. The plot is substantial and there are several subplots that, once again, can be linked to the stories told in the book. A big part of the plot is going on a quest (already fantastic) in order to acquire an ancient relic – which also ties a lot into the storytelling, culture, history, etc etc.

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Once again I am just really impressed by Abdullah’s grasp on her world and characters. Like I’ve seen on twitter that most of her wips are massively long and I commend her so much for that because that’s really impressive. I hope that she gets so many more book deals because I will definitely read them more. Have you read this book? Are you interested in reading this book? Do you also get hungry when you’re reading a book and it mentions food? I definitely am and that’s why I like to snack 😂

3 thoughts on “The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah (BOOK REVIEW) || A Must-Read!”

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