The Eyes of Tamburah is a fast paced fantasy and the first in a new series by Maria V Snyder.
Shyla is a sun-kissed, the name given to babies born with pale-yellow hair. These babies, believed cursed, are left in the desert to die. Shyla is saved and raised by monks until she turns 18 and chooses to reside in the city. She is shunned by the other citizens of Zirdai and spends most of her time in her room. She manages to find work reading maps and transcribing ancient tablets in order to locate lost artefacts.
Snyder starts with explanations of the world the story is set in. Zirdai is an extensive underground city built on many levels which is necessary to escape the searing heat of the desert.
When the eyes of Tamburah, believed to bestow magic and their owner, are uncovered and subsequently stolen Shyla’s only friend Banqui is imprisoned and unless Shyla finds the eyes he will be put to death.
The story includes plenty of action and danger. Shyla is a strong-willed woman who can hold her own in a confrontation. She soon finds that she can trust no one as she is double crossed many times and her eyes are open to many things happening in the city she was unaware of. With this awareness comes an awakening of a new purpose to her life.
The majority of the story is high on action and very low on fantasy elements which may not appeal to hard core fantasy readers. The story gets a little dark towards the end with talk of torture and sacrifice although there is a small romance introduced and the occasional light-hearted banter keeps the story from becoming too intense. We get a few glimpses of the magic I’m hoping to see more of in the next book.
The Eyes of Tamburah was an easy read and I was totally caught up in the whole world of Zirdai. There are plenty of evil people to despise and Shyla’s character development was well executed.
Recommended for ages 12+ * I received my copy courtesy of the publisher