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A deadly disease A vanishing remedy A breathless journeyAll her life Niya's known she will die young from the fatal rasp She survives only with the aid of vitrisar spice and a magical curmudgeonly fire salamander named Alk Then an ambitious princess burns down the vitrisar grove in an effort to steal Alk so she can claim her rightful throne Joined by Jayesh a disgraced monk Niya and Alk must flee to the faraway Hidden Temple with the last vitrisar plant or all who suffer from the rasp will perishBut even as Niya’s frustration and banter with Jayesh deepen to affection the rasp is stealing away her breath and life For a girl with limited time and a crippling uest love may be painful than death

10 thoughts on “Spice Bringer

  1. says:

    H L Burke has long been one of my favorite authors in the indie publishing sphere thanks to her delightful characters brilliant magic systems and superlative world building Spice Bringer is no exception to her usual high standard of uality—and incidentally it’s also an example of diversity done right in fiction in ways than oneNiya lives in a world ravaged by an incurable plague known as “the rasp” which begins with a persistent painful cough and ends in death The story revolves around her uest to protect the last specimen of a rare spice that can prolong the lives of rasp victims and ease their suffering even if it can’t cure them completely In addition she needs to guard Alk an entertainingly pompous talking fire salamander pursued by a princess who is desperate to kill him as part of a scheme to secure her throne and avoid an arranged marriage If Niya is to succeed however she’ll have to team up with Jayesh a banished monk with whom she doesn’t exactly hit it offIf you’re thinking that all this sounds like a terrific setup for a uniue fantasy story you’re absolutely right But one of the things that makes this book so great is that nothing turns out uite the way you’d have expected it toThe usual elements of an H L Burke story that I mentioned before are all present and accounted for in Spice Bringer The characters are distinctive and engaging and their conflicting motivations make for some very interesting twists in the tale The book’s intriguing magical elements stem from Alk’s connection to Niya which grants her the power to create and control fireWhat really sets this book apart though is its story world as well as the interesting set of religions which permeate it There is clearly an Indian motif at play which manifests not only in the aesthetic and the character names but also in the polytheism of the world’s culture This might seem like an unusual creative choice given that Burke is known for weaving Christian themes into her books in subtle yet effective ways This is no less the case in Spice Bringer but the way in which the Christian themes manifest is surprising and extremely effectiveThroughout the story various gods are mentioned the Kind God the Just God the All Knowing God and so on It doesn’t take a Christian reader long to see what Burke is doing Each God is actually a different attribute of the one true God and each of the religions in the book has attached itself to a different aspect of His character Because the descriptions of the different gods so strongly evoke the Bible the reader is naturally drawn to Christian conclusions rather than pluralistic ones Spice Bringer therefore succeeds in communicating the Christian message without including an obvious Christian character who shatters subtlety by explaining the mistakes of the polytheists in detail At the same time however the Christian message is not diluted by any pluralistic sermonizing I don’t normally look for witnessing tools in Christian fantasy since books written with this intent are often tiresome And it’s clear that Spice Bringer is meant to be a great story rather than an evangelistic device However I would still eagerly recommend this book to someone I was trying to reach with the gospel since I believe it could lead to some very fruitful discussionsSpice Bringer is one of the best indie books I read in 2018 It made me laugh and tear up in eual measure and it will probably do the same to you so be forewarned I won’t spoil the ending but I will say that it left me both deeply moved and completely satisfied Normally once I finish a book I’ve really enjoyed I’m hopeful for a seuel–but while I would love to read from this uniue world Burke has created I actually feel that all the characters got the perfect conclusion I wouldn’t change anything in the book’s plot This title is well worth your time so be sure to add it to your reading list 55 snarky salamanders

  2. says:

    don't mind me just adding books I wrote to my read list to pad out my Goodreads challenge again

  3. says:

    45 starsstares at keyboard trying to decide what to sayThis book was unexpected I admit that I didn't love the beginning and wasn't engaged as much as I thought I would be That might have something to do with a certain lizard Haha However as things progress and Niya experiences life in a whole new way the story wouldn't let go There aren't really words to explain the things she learns and experiences It's just something that sticks in your mind and leaves you on edge as well as sometimes wishing things were different Yet it was in those moments she learned so muchuite a few moments I was surprised by turn of events and will totally admit that I cried like to almost the point of sobbing The last turn of events was deeply moving and just felt a whole range of emotions I want to mention that this is probably my third or fourth book by this author and I totally admire how she can write such a strong clean romance that is realistic I was especially touched by this one and the struggles both of these young people have to handle and go through Was extremely well doneThis story takes readers on uite the adventure and one that reuires patience and a box of tissues Highly recommend to fantasy readersMany thanks to the publisher and author for providing me an ARC I was not reuired to write a review or positive one All thoughts expressed are my own

  4. says:

    You want to read this book Definitely the best YA fantasy title I've read in some time Five plus starsThese three characters are realistic and relatable You want to despise the princess because of the heartache she causes for Niya but since Burke gives you scenes from the princess’s point of view you know what’s motivating her And it’s a reasonable and justifiable motivationNiya’s death sentence makes her live every moment to the full But it also makes her leery of emotional attachments After all she’s going to die and whoever loves her will be brokenheartedJayesh has his own baggage His tendency to over think every decision and wait to act puts him in conflict with Niya’s immediacy Since he rescues her at their first meeting we cheer him on to the end He’s a good guy and he deserves to find the redemption he seeksThe magical elements are neatly interwoven into the setting and characters It was easy to believe each one Burke does a great job of explaining what could be unbelievable in a way that doesn’t rob it of it’s mysticism The Force was way interesting before it was explainedI laughed at the character dialog and interaction I cried at the heartaches and losses Even though I predicted who would make the first and greatest sacrifice I still couldn't stop the tears A book that makes me laugh and cry deserves the highest form of praiseI received an ARC from the publisher This review is my own independent and fair evaluation

  5. says:

    AHHHHH Probably my favorite of H L Burke's books that I've read yet yes that's only three BUT Niya is such a beautifully complex AND RELATABLE character oh my word Jayeshis basically significant other goals smart and generous and compassionate and not above a little philosophizing now and then AND the man can sew Alk is Mushu but if Mushu were a crusty though soft hearted great uncle And Advika is probably my favorite character after Alk when it comes to character portrayal I LOVED how she was set up as an antagonist but also such a sympathetic character Beautifully doneThe world was lush rather EasternIndian in its flavors and the plot well paced and well written I cried than once reading this book Ahhhhh so good The only reason I regret reading this in advance is that I don't get to have that beautiful cover sitting on a shelf I was kindly provided with an ARC for review purposes; all opinions gushing tears etc in this review are entirely my own

  6. says:

    Wow that was an adventure and a half This book gets the uniue distinction as being the second book that has made me cry and I cried actual tears three times while reading it The intense journey had me mentally leaning forward hoping to propel the characters forward just a little faster The uniue worldbuilding especially the religions the fact that the characters grew through adversity and the bittersweet end makes this a new favorite of mine

  7. says:

    Wow This book I laughed I cried I pondered life Great stuff Niya was such a strong character and it was sad but eye opening to explore her mindset as someone with a fatal illness Jayesh made me grin so much he was so sweet and came so far in his journey of healing from his past mistakes Their relationship definitely made me swoon on than one occasion And Alk I'll admit I really hated him at first so I was surprised by how much he meant to me by the end The worldbuilding was interesting especially the way it all came together at the end I SO want to say butspoilers So you just have to read itI voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book

  8. says:

    My computer will not let me rate this book on goodreads but I plan to give it a five star rating on Spice Bringer was amazingIn a world of vast jungles seas spirit valleys and Hidden Temples a young woman suffers from a deadly disease She lives at a Hospice with Ovar her adopted father and a snarky salamander named Alk Ovar tends the only vitrisar grove a place that contains life giving medicine for those suffering from the deadly rasp But a princess's desperation to claim her rightful throne places the vitrisar grove and its keepers in danger Can a rasp afflicted girl a fire salamander and a guilt wracked monk be the only ones who can save the one surviving vitrisar seedling? Can they transport it to the only place where it may thrive and save many lives?The detail in this story is rich and vivid I loved the many different settings and each location in the author's world sprang vividly to life The novel is fast paced and I could not put it down What truly endeared this novel to me however were the characters Niya is a strong heroine without being know it all or overbearing In fact her illness made me appreciate her strength even Jayesh was such a wonderful sidekick It was so refreshing to find a YA novel that portrayed a young man who is not conceited and who respects those around him Princess Advika was multi layered as well and while her pursuit of Niya and Jayesh was frustrating her motivations were understandable I enjoyed her sister as well and would have loved to learn about her I loved the element of surprise in Advika's plot thread that things were not what they seemed And Alk My I loathed him at first but by the end of the novel he had won my heart completely His character reminded me a bit of one of my favorite characters in literature the Marsh Wiggle Puddleglum from CS Lewis' The Silver ChairThe secondary characters were just as vivid and dynamic My favorite was a young girl named SusuFavorite chapter Chapter 18Spice Bringer is a riveting tale of life's uncertainty and our places within it An adventure story it is also a tale of the weak finding strength to accomplish marvelous things of the guilty finding redemption and of unexpected gifts Please give this riveting story a chance Thoroughly recommended God bless you allI received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for a review but all opinions are my own

  9. says:

    This book coveres all the bases for me Great characters believable world building plot twists high stakes sweet romance and one really snarky salamander I love when a book sticks with you long after you read it and that's exactly what this book does It brings up interesting topics about life death purpose and responsibility It does this without bogging down the story in any way The entire book is a bit of a race against time so I never wanted to put it down I easily connected with the characters Through their struggles and joys I would find myself in tears one moment and smiling the next Fantastic book I highly recommend it

  10. says:

    This is such an interesting and uniue book I'm not sure what to rate it or say about it in a review The worldbuilding is very uniue with a setting in the jungle and caravan roads and a culture influenced by India The main character is suffering a disease that will kill her sooner rather than later adding an aditional urgency to the book as her own life is ticking away The fire salamanders were cool though it took me a while to warm to Alk because he was kind of mean in the beginning But that was part of his character growth The religion aspect was uniue as well It is polytheistic with monks following various orders But it was also heavily influenced by a Christian worldview and used the polytheism to examine deep discussions from different angles It will not be everyone's favorite approach but it is challenging and makes the reader think I listened to the audiobook version and the narrator does a good job