Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Book Review: The Eyes of Tamburah (Young Adult/ Fantasy)

The Eyes of Tamburah
Maria V Snyder

Publisher: Harper Collins
Imprint: HQ Young Adult
Publication date: 17th June 2019
Series: Archives of the Invisible Sword #1
Pages: 512
RRP: $19.99AUD
Format read: ARC - uncorrected proof
Source: Courtesy of the publisher 

'He thinks you are the thief...'

Shyla is a researcher who resides in the underground desert city of Zirdai, which is ruled by the wealthy Water Prince and brutal Heliacal Priestess. Even though Shyla is sun-kissed - an outcast, considered cursed by the Sun Goddess - she is still renowned for uncovering innumerable archaic facts, lost artefacts, ancient maps, and obscure historical documents. Her quiet life is about to change when Banqui, an archaeologist, enlists her services to find The Eyes of Tamburah: legendary gemstones that bestows great magic to its wielder. These ancient objects can tip the balance of power and give whoever possesses them complete control of the city.

But chaos erupts when The Eyes are stolen soon after they're found - and Shyla is blamed for the theft. Forced to flee, with the Prince's soldiers and the Priestess' deacons on her trail, Shyla must recover the jewels and clear her name. A quest that will unearth secrets even more valuable than The Eyes of Tamburah themselves..

The Eyes of Tamburah is a fast paced fantasy and the first in a new series by Maria V Snyder.

Shyla is a sun-kissed, the name given to babies born with pale-yellow hair. These babies, believed cursed, are left in the desert to die. Shyla is saved and raised by monks until she turns 18 and chooses to reside in the city. She is shunned by the other citizens of Zirdai and spends most of her time in her room. She manages to find work reading maps and transcribing ancient tablets in order to locate lost artifacts.

Snyder starts with explanations of the world the story is set in. Zirdai is an extensive underground city built on many levels which is necessary to escape the searing heat of the desert.

When the eyes of Tamburah, believed to bestow magic and their owner, are uncovered and subsequently stolen Shyla’s only friend Banqui is imprisoned and unless Shyla finds the eyes he will be put to death.

The story includes plenty of action and danger. Shyla is a strong-willed woman who can hold her own in a confrontation. She soon finds that she can trust no one as she is double crossed many times and her eyes are open to many things happening in the city she was unaware of. With this awareness comes an awakening of a new purpose to her life.

The majority of the story is high on action and very low on fantasy elements which may not appeal to hard core fantasy readers. The story gets a little dark towards the end with talk of torture and sacrifice although there is a small romance introduced and the occasional light-hearted banter keeps the story from becoming too intense. We get a few glimpses of the magic I’m hoping to see more of in the next book.

The Eyes of Tamburah was an easy read and I was totally caught up in the whole world of Zirdai. There are plenty of evil people to despise and Shyla’s character development was well executed.

Recommended for ages 12+ 
Content: mentions of torture
                 mild viloence

My rating   5/5

Photo credit: Goodreads

Meteorologist turned novelist, Maria's been writing since she was bored at work and needed something creative to do. Over a dozen novels later, Maria's been on the New York Times bestseller list, won a half-dozen awards, and has earned her Master's degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University where she's now a faculty member. As a frequent workshop presenter and speaker for various conferences, Maria enjoys helping other writers. She also has a blast creating new worlds where horses and swords rule, 'cause let's face it, they're cool, although she's been known to trap her poor characters in a giant metal cube and let them figure out how to get out.

You can connect with the author at the following sites:
Website  ||  Goodreads  ||  Facebook  




  1. Hi Virginia,

    This one is definitely too tempting to remain solely the domain of a YA readership.

    You might have noticed me waver a little when I saw this one billed as a fantasy story, as this is not one of my most favoured genres, so you have no idea how relieved I was when you commented on how much action there was in comparison to the amount of fantasy!

    Thanks for the feature and the excellent review :)


    1. It is a good read for those that like a light fantasy element. Leaning towards dystopian.