A Darkness at the Door cover reveal!

Here’s your first look at the upcoming YA fantasy release from Intisar Khanani, A Darkness at the Door.

This is one of my most anticipated releases this year! A Darkness at the Door is the third book in the Dauntless Path series, a direct sequel to The Theft of Sunlight. Which, may I remind you, ended in a horrrrrrrible cliffhanger! But it was so good I can’t even be mad! I still really need to know what happens next though.

The amazing cover art for all three Dauntless Path books was done by Jenny Zemanek. The final US version of ADatD will also have a special hand-lettered title to match the other covers, courtesy of a stretch goal from the Kickstarter that’s currently running.

I’m so excited to see where’s Rae’s story goes. This series has so much going for it: adventure, social justice, a bit of intrigue, major chemistry, diverse characters, magic, thief lords…


The truth I carry can’t be allowed to die . . .

Only Rae knows how deep the corruption at the heart of her kingdom runs. Imprisoned on a slave ship, she effects a harrowing escape – but her freedom comes with the weight of dangerous debts and terrifying magic. Now, to free her land from the growing darkness, Rae will need every ally she can find, including Bren, the thief who may have stolen her heart. But Bren is hiding his own bloody secrets, and the curses that encircle Rae have sunk their claws into her mind.

While the truth could save Rae’s kingdom, it might destroy her first.

A Darkness at the Door will be released July 21, 2022 by Snowy Wings Publishing in the US and Canada (reserve your copy through the Kickstarter) and Hot Key Books in the UK and beyond (pre-order here).

“A Darkness at the Door” Audiobook Kickstarter

I’ve raved before about Intisar Khanani’s YA fantasy series, including indie Sunbolt series and the Dauntless Path series that starts with fairy tale retelling Thorn. The second book in that series, The Theft of Sunlight, was one of my favorite books last year.

Unfortunately, her US publisher did not pick up the next book in the series (which, after Theft‘s cliffhanger ending, is just cruel 😭). Thankfully A Darkness at the Door will still be published, but the author is asking for some support, in the form of a Kickstarter to allow her to hire the same audiobook reader that did the previous Dauntless Path books. There are several pledge levels, with rewards from a swag bag of bookish goodies to a copy of the audiobook (obviously) to a limited special edition hardcover copy of Darkness. (I definitely went for the limited special edition!) You can also purchase signed copies of her other books as add-ons.

Good news: the Kickstarter was fully funded in two days! And has already hit its first stretch goal as well. But I still encourage you to back it! Not only are there further stretch goals, but I really can’t say enough about how awesome this author and series are, and I am really rooting for her and it to succeed.

Back the Kickstarter for the Audiobook for A Darkness at the Door here.

Review: Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani

I’ve been taking advantage of all this time home to pick up some new books, and my latest find is a YA fantasy series by an indie author living in Ohio.

Intisar Khanani heads her website with the tagline “Writing mighty girls and diverse worlds,” and that’s exactly what she delivers.  I have not read a lot of YA fantasy recently because I’ve been disappointed by the quality of recent releases, but I can tell that’s going to change with the discovery of her Sunbolt series.

I cannot say enough about the amazing worldbuilding in this series.  The world features many diverse fantasy cultures with roots in real-world cultures, which you may recognize by names, foods, clothing, and phrases. (Even if you don’t recognize them, the cultures are rich.) The main character Hitomi is mixed race; based on context clues her parents would be Arabic and Japanese, though she begins the story living on a warm island populated by darker-skinned people. There are also several races of beings similar to things like fairies and vampires.

The series begins with Sunbolt, a novella that is the kind of book you can read in one gulp.  The pacing is great, the characters are memorable, and the events are exciting.  It does read like it’s only the first part of a story, so you will want to be ready to go straight on to Memories of Ash, the full novel that follows.  This installment is even stronger, continuing to develop an interesting system of magic and new regions of the world.  Old friends reappeared in just the right spots, while introducing great new characters that I can’t wait to see more of.  Some details of the escape plan were a bit meandering, but overall I was on the edge of my seat following Hitomi through one adventure after another.

I really have very few criticisms of these books; they are better than many traditionally published YA fantasies I have read, and I will definitely go back to revisit them again.  (This is basically more what I was hoping We Hunt the Flame would be.)  The only tedious parts are that most of the plot revolves around people that keep getting captured and planning how to escape.  

These books also avoid most YA tropes.  There is no instalove. There are no love triangles.  In fact, here is no romance of any kind! It focuses exclusively on the deep relationships Hitomi has developed with those around her, basically her surrogate family members.

This doesn’t mean I’m not shipping characters.  Because I’m totally shipping some characters. But it’s still great to read quality YA without romance!

I guess I do have one criticism of the series: it’s not complete!  The author has said it was meant to be four books in total, but there seems to be no news on when the last two might be out.  I need book three! Pleeeeease.

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In the meantime, I’m going to check out Khanani’s other novel, Thorn, which is a Goose Girl retelling (have I mentioned I love fairy tale retellings?).  Thorn was originally self-published in 2012, but was picked up by HarperTeen and re-released by them this March.  This kind of thing rarely happens to indie authors, so I think that really speaks to the quality of her writing.  I have the digital version on hold at the library, but the wait list is 16 weeks long! I guess that also speaks to the quality of the writing.

I was able to get both Sunbolt and Memories of Ash on Kindle from my library through Overdrive, but they are of course also available from Amazon for only $2.99 and $4.99 respectively.

I really hope you guys will check her stuff out; if you are a fan of YA fantasy, you will not be disappointed.