Lenni Reviews: Desert Rising by Kelly Grant

This novel introduces twins Sulis and Kadar on their way to the city of Illian from their desert home. Once there, Kadar begins apprenticing as a merchant and his sister Sulis joins the local temple to gods her people don't worship and with people who are prejudiced against those who come from the desert. Spurred on by the legacy of her now deceased mother, Sulis is bonded to a feli; giant sacred cats who help them communicate with their gods, and begins to unravel a conspiracy and oncoming war between the four gods of the temple. The novel also follows Kadar, poised on the brink of revolution with the Forsaken class in the city who are tired of being treated like chattel.

This novel is a marvelous piece of sprawling fantasy. Kelly Grant has solid world building skills and each character is unique and fleshed out in creative ways. Sulis is a great character and an excellent example of a strong female character in a fantasy setting. When she arrives at the temple and she's the outcast, she makes no attempt to hide who she is and what she knows. Her brother, Kadar, and the conflict he gets embroiled in, is thankfully as interesting as Sulis' so when you're switched between them, you stay interested in both stories. As the novel goes on, they do intersect in creative ways.

Unfortunately, the novel ends on a cliffhanger. I was flying through this book and while I enjoyed it, I felt I didn't get the pay off I wanted from all the build up in the book. I get that this is to get you to buy the second one but since this book isn't due out in paperback until May 26th, 2015, I have the feeling it's going to be a year before I get to see what happens next! Not fair, darnit...

Kelly Grant has a great world going here and I'm anxious to see where it goes. If you like magic, warring gods, and giant cats, you will enjoy this book.