EYES OF TAMBURAH
MARIA V SNYDER
Characters & their development: 2
Personal enjoyment: 3
-the depth of the mythology
-almost every character
-the overdone cliches
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Sun Goddess – she is still renowned for uncovering innumerable archaic facts, lost artifacts, ancient maps, and obscure historical documents.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…
My thoughts on this book are very mixed and in all honesty, a little negative. Eyes of Tamburah (EOT) is a YA Fantasy where the sun burns anything above ground, there are ‘sun-kissed’ people, a prince controls the water access in the city, and a priestess controls the food. It has dystopian elements and a very obvious romance subplot.
Personally, I really enjoyed the world-building as it was very unique. People were forced to live underground as the sun was too powerful and would burn everyone alive if they were to stay above ground, and this lead to a very unique system of people living in one big interconnecting cave system with the rich down in the depths and the poor stuck near the top, where the sun can still penetrate the ground and burn people in horrible ways. We also see a bit of a dystopian world where people are forced to pay tithes to get access to food and water or live as a vagrant hiding from the guards and fending for themselves.
Our main character, Shyla is, unfortunately, the biggest Mary Sue I have ever read about. She can fight, track people, manipulate others, is highly intelligent, and can do much more (but those are spoilers) she can do anything and needs no help in reality. We meet her when her friend is taken by the prince and she is forced into finding a mystical relic, with the threat of her friend’s death hanging over her head. I found her abilities and calm attitude to horrific events really blase and infuriating. Shyla is ‘sun-kissed’ meaning she has blonde hair, and was meant to be sacrificed to the sun goddess but was saved by monks.
I liked the monks in this novel too. I found their way of life and morals interesting, it lead me to want to read more of their world or a story about them, instead of Shyla. I liked that they were secluded but still smarter than most. They were an assassin like group, who try to keep the balance while staying out of the way of what the priestess and the water prince tried to do. Though I will say that was pretty clichéd with their abilities and knowledge.
The mythology was unique in my opinion. Talks of a sun goddess and many other gods had me hooked as we were fed bits of information about how the world had come to be, and what the gods wanted. I was constantly turning the pages just to find some more mythology and history hidden in this novel because to me it was the best part of the novel.
The main issue I had with this book was the characters. Every single one was a cliche. The mc was a complete Mary Sue with no weakness. Her love interest was strong and bossy but kind-hearted, and the other love interest was sarcastic, reclusive and untrusting, but of course a good guy. It just felt like Maria v Snyder didn’t really try to make unique characters, instead she relied on the tropes she knows people love.
Overall, I think it’s nearly time to tell Maria V Snyder goodbye, but I’ll give Navigating The Stars a go, and then make my final verdict.
I recommend this to those looking after a cheesy but easy read where the story is predicatble but easy to keep reading.