THE GODDESS OF DANCE
Kashina’s descriptions are substantial and vivid, and the cultural aspects are enthralling. However, the prose is somewhat encumbered by its structure and cadence. Warming up to the main characters, Hasan and the princess, also poses a challenge. Hasan’s personality feels flat and uncompelling, though that does make it more believable that he, an all-powerful genie, would pair up with a coddled, naïve young princess.
When Princess Gul’Agdar begins studying the magic of the Sacred Dance, she has no idea this is the first step on a treacherous path to immortality, absolute power — and abject slavery. Her father, the sultan, is intent on forcing her into an arranged marriage, not knowing that leaving the palace will subject her to unimaginable danger. She and her beloved djinn, Hasan, traverse magical deserts, experience the powerful cult of the Great Goddess and learn the wonders of the True Library beyond the world. (DRAGONWELL, Oct., 328 pp., $16.95)