The Library of Fates is a fascinating tale of sacrifice, destiny, and transformation. I only found myself enjoying the book more as it went on – connecting with the characters and loving the action in plot around the end.
Princess Amrita is to be married to Emperor Sikander. His cruelty is legendary, as his rise to the throne was soaked in blood. But it is the only solution, as her small kingdom of Shalingar seems to have something he wants. It turns out he will stop at nothing for on his quest for ownership. Their palace is under siege and Amrita only barely manages to escape with the help of a prophet slave, gifted to her by Sikander, named Thala. The fate of both of their lives seems to be tied to the Library of All Things, as Amrita uncovers secrets. Secrets about the line between reality and fiction, her identity, and the fabric of the universe.
What initially drew me to The Library of Fates was the mythology and I was not disappointed in the slightest. It begins with the Parable of Trees and takes off from there, incorporating immortal beings, magical spiders, and ruby daggers. Being unfamiliar with the mythology, these were some of my favorite parts as they really transport the story. You can never quite predict what is going to happen and the interwoven threads between reality and legend are challenged throughout.
Another element that drew me into the novel at the beginning was the authors note. I found the author’s note particularly illuminating. Its presence at the beginning of the book was a good decision, as it begins all sorts of questions churning before you’re enveloped in this fantastical cocoon. Khorana asks us to examine the conflict between selfishness and the greater good, the necessity for rebellion, and the entire concept of ownership versus admiration. Because of its placement, I feel like I was able to understand the undercurrent of the story better.
Thala & Amrita
Even though I enjoyed Amrita as a character, I found myself liking Thala more. To me, Thala is more fascinating, as she has experienced a life that is the opposite of Amrita. They are, in a way, mirrors of each other. Amrita is just experiencing this loss and change, while Thala’s whole life has been stepped in grief, abuse, and injustice. I suppose I identified more with Thala’s anger and rebellious spirit. But Thala is also resourceful, resilient, and scarred by her loss. The comparison is difficult, because on one hand you have someone who has had privilege and even more, losing the life she knew, versus another who was always treated unjustly, abused, and turned into a slave.
The Library of Fates, as you would expect from the title, also explores issues of fate. There are events which are fixed and others that can be influenced, changing our fate by the second. (I am always interested in books that deal with this challenge, because I personally am sort of divided on this myself). Also, speaking of the title, how could I pass up a book that has the word library in it? And the twist about the library and fate is even better.
Comparison with The Star Touched Queen
The book takes off about midway through, as the plot seems to pick up, and the end sort of just explodes with color. Within the last chapters so much is revealed that you may have to reread it. But I love it, because there’s all this build up beforehand that finally bears fruit and things just get so great. I have read a few reviews that compare this book to The Star Touched Queen. I read that earlier this year, and I would say that while there are some elements that are similar, I think I appreciate the character growth more in this story. Additionally, I enjoy the ‘romance interest’ more in this book as well because there was more intrigue.
Ultimately this is a story about Amrita’s growth. The friendships she makes, the secrets she uncovers, and the sacrifices she is forced to contemplate. While I could identify more with Thala, I really loved Amrita’s character too, especially her magical journey to the library. Her growth is the type that demands the annihilation of the world we know, to harbor us into another world, like a phoenix rising from the ashes.
What is your favorite book that deals with fate?
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