TITLE : Crowning Soul (Heart Of Noorenia #1)
AUTHOR : Sahira Javaid
GENRE : YA Fantasy
FR RATING : DNF @ 50%
DATE OF PUBLISHING : September 8th 2020
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Netgalley and Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members’ Titles for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Crowning Soul is the debut fantasy book from the author Sahira Javaid. It is the first book in the series by the name Heart of Noorenia. When I saw the blurb mentioning the book being perfect for fans of InuYasha, I got really pumped to read this. The story follows young Nezha Zaman, a fire mage whose life gets upended after her encounters with a vindictive Jinn. She realizes dangers are lurking around her, and it seems to be following her and her family. She gets pulled into a different realm called Noorenia, which she, later on, realizes to be her family’s roots as well. On arrival at Noorenia, she meets two unicorns who tells her the story of the fantastical Kingdom and its history. The light orb inside her is given to her by her relative. It will guide her in collecting the soul’s shards from an angel who got attacked by the Iron Prince. The soul’s pieces are the angel’s soul that got disintegrated into several fragments. Nezha is the chosen one who needs to find all of the missing shards of the angel’s soul to protect the Kingdom from ruin. The unicorns accompany Nezha in her journey, and the story is them going on different adventures, while Nezha is fulfilling her destiny.
As I mentioned earlier, the blurb sounded fascinating, and I was excited to try this book. The cover looked gorgeous as well. Unfortunately, I realized that the book didn’t work for me. But I continued hoping things would change as the story progressed. I was wrong, and sadly, I couldn’t enjoy it. Sadly, I had to DNF it at 50%, and it is with a heavy heart, I am saying this as I hate to DNF books. It had a lot of potential with all the elements introduced, and the concept was unique as well. Sahira Javaid is a Muslim author, and I am happy for her debut fantasy and the Muslim representation.
The concept was interesting, and the pacing was also good. While I liked seeing different worlds within the fantastical realm, I found myself not connecting with the characters or the story. The creatures and mythical beasts were all different and had a ton of them in the book. I felt that the author put a lot of worlds and magical creatures in one book, and it didn’t work very well for me. There were too many things happening at once and took away the effectiveness it could have brought to the story. The dialogues also felt disjointed, with no flow. The interactions between the characters also felt forced at times, with no continuity. The banter the author tried to create between the cast of characters didn’t land for me. The writing and the way the story was trying to be too many things at once made it difficult to keep up and often turned out to be unnecessarily complicated. The rules of magic also kept changing, and there was no definite structure or logic to the changing magical capabilities. It also felt as if different elements got added on-the-spot, rather than being organized beforehand. The character’s personalities also kept changing, and I couldn’t keep up with it. I wish the execution could have been better, by maybe breaking up some elements and putting them into the different books of the series. I also believe, with so many things and a wide range of mythical creatures, it overpowered the story than enhance it. In my opinion, the phrase ‘less is more’ would apply to the book.
Overall I wasn’t happy that I had to DNF it halfway through the book. I wish things were different. Also, I will not be rating the novel, as it will be unfair for me to give it a rating without completing the book. But, If I was to rate the half I completed, I would be giving it 1 star.
Be swept away in this unique fantasy debut from Sahira Javaid. A spellbinding adventure of belonging, finding hope and where the price of a soul is another soul’s fate. Perfect for fans of InuYasha, Children of Blood and Bone and The Candle and The Flame.
Nezha Zaman considers her gift to control fire a dangerous secret. A secret that unravels when she encounters a vengeful shadow jinni in a maze garden that has been stalking her family, and knows about her power. Weeks after seeing the demonic being, Nezha is torn from her world through her backyard pond and transported to another dimension which sought out the light inside her heart.
Nezha learns from two unicorns that the dimension is her family’s roots, and the light is a fragment of an angel’s shattered soul. The three must work together to find the soul’s shards in a land teeming with shape-shifting jinn. If Nezha fails to stop the corrupted Iron Prince, the malevolent jinn at his side will shatter her soul next.