Bookish Witch

Broken Cloud: the first sunrise by Ray Anyasi

Book Blurb:

Prince Ikan is Heir Apparent Prince of the Kingdom of Iluji where an ancient spell cast a mighty cloud to hover in the sky of the Kingdom so that the sun does not shine on the land. To make the spell of darkness go away, kings traditionally offer slave girls in a ‘grand sacrifice’ to the gods of the land, but none had ever been successful.
By the bank of the river called the King’s Flow, Ikan meets Sarie, a slave girl on the verge of committing a grave offence but could not resist her charm and begins to nurse the idea of a secret affair. Any romantic relationship between a slave girl and a freeborn is a taboo punished by hanging the slave girl. The Prince and the slave would hope the darkness will hide them while he swears to protect her with his life.
When a prophecy comes from the priests that Ikan will be the prince to bring sunlight to Iluji, he finds himself in a deathly dilemma. He must sacrifice Sarie to the gods and accomplish the highest glory or see the darkness continue forever and the dynasty’s collapse.

Genre: Fiction/Epic Fantasy

Pages: 164

Format: Kindle eBook

Price: 221 INR/$2.99

My Ratings: 4/5

Iluji is a kingdom that has not seen sunlight in years. In a prophecy, it is declared that the Heir Apparent Prince will be the one to end these days of darkness for the kingdom. How must do this? It seems that he may have to sacrifice the one he loves the most.

An interesting romance story between people of different social standings.

What I liked about the book:
–> The description and narrative about the whole Kingdom of Iluji, Wazou, The Mighty Waters, and everything else about the setting of the story is very well done. You are drawn to the place and the people (though fictional) right away.
–> The scene between Ikam and Sarie where he laments about having less freedom than her, despite her being a slave and him being a royal.
–> The scene between the prince and the princess of Wazou, where both of them bring out very good insights about their upbringing and their thinking about the way of their worlds.
–> The friendship between Sadie and Maril.
–> The level of deceit, scheming, and politics that goes between those who hold power and prestige. ‘TRUST NO ONE’ is very much a takeaway when it comes to royals and nobles.

What I did not like about the book:
–> At many points it felt like the Otte (slaves) women were merely seen by the nobles and the royal as objects of desire.
–> The punishable sin by the King during his youth felt more like rape rather than love.
–> The gender and tenses have been mixed up at quite a few places (which I believe happens when the writing is done by a non-native English speaker)

Quotable quotes:
—> If life was a farmer’s land of fortune,
Then love is the harvest with no locust,
If life can be lived out far in Neptune,
Then love is how we did the solar hoist.
If love was a waltz, the heart calls the tune.
The pump, the race, the skip, and the mind is lost.
—> I know and he knows but what is the problem with admitting that you are troubled?
—> Things are never alright with a royal family.
—> For a baby, he loves mama and dada because mama and dada are perfect. Mama and dada can do no wrong. Mama and dada know it all. The adult knows mother and father have their flaws just like everyone else and do not know it all because no one does. Yet, he loves them all the same.
—> We are all slaves to something. Slaves to the powerful war strength of a neighbor kingdom, slaves to one taboo or the other. We are all slaves to our culture, history, and traditions.
—> We gather in a bunch of other human beings and call them slaves just so that we may feel free but it only takes our attention away from our deepest slavery. Calling ourselves the free ones actually robs us of a chance to look closer to see and deal with what is our own slavery.
—> She shut her eyes and tried to dream her way through this forbidden sweetness. She was tempted to begin to get used to it as her new life in the palace so she can enjoy it while it lasts, but she thought it wiser to regard it as a dream that will soon end. That way she can wake up anytime and still understand that she was only a lowly Otte.
—> Sarie had nothing more to say but so much to brood upon.
—> If you must be like Kuz, then you must think the way Kuz thinks. Accept the world you find yourself in and live with it. Be happy with the place fate has placed you. Stop wanting.
—> The Otts are not happy because they have it all. We are happy because we have accepted our position and realized we cannot change it and have so found a way to enjoy it.
—> We all can be happy if we choose to be.
—> “Perhaps there is no such thing as freedom.”
“Perhaps only a little of it is what the most fortunate of us can obtain.”
—> “What is that one thing you would use your freedom for if you had only one chance to exercise it?”
“I would enter a boat and travel beyond the Mighty Waters. I would go and see the sun. I would watch it rise and stay till I watch it fall.”
—> The sun was most beautiful when setting and most brutal halfway into its journey across the sky.
—> Glorious is a fair way to describe the sun. It is the most beautiful thing that can be seen.
—> That is out of the normal and anywhere outside the normal is never a safe place to be.
—> I share your concern, but I do not know how to be afraid of what I cannot change.
—> The gods are not known to enforce their own laws. They rely on us to do that for them. Those among us who are always desperate to run to the defense of the gods will not know of this. Except of course the person with whom I have chosen to share my secrets.
—> Kings do not do things to make a statement. Kings act to make an effect.
—> Being able to admit the limits of your strength will be considered to be strength in itself.
—> You cannot win against someone if you give them the impression you are in a fight. Let them think they have you on their side. Be the sheep to them till your goal is achieved. Then there is hope.
—> “Not everything has a clear explanation.”
“Until you dig deep enough,”
—> When you are the answer that must remain hidden, then you have everything to be worried about when so many people are asking the same question.
—> To do what you want is not a privilege. It is a curse. It is the curse of ordinary men. Men with no responsibilities do whatever they want. Common men with no value and self-worth do whatever they want. Men whose lives have no worthy purpose are free to do whatever they want.
—> He reckoned that running away would not bring him any real freedom and peace.
—> A lot could happen when a lot is at stake.
—> The kingdom is yours. Now you have a choice to make. Save it and rule it as a true king the first of its kind or neglect it and rule it as a slave in darkness.
—> If no one can be immune to love, why do the gods forbid it for some people?
—> Stop looking for what is gone.

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