Cover Image: The Stardust Thief

The Stardust Thief

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Member Reviews

I’ve been intrigued by this, and I was lucky enough to get an ARC, and then I received a gorgeous hardcopy from FairyLoot, so I had to read it! This was a very fun read. It seems to straddle the balance between the YA premise and quick pace, but with the older characters and slightly more serious themes of Adult Fantasy. It’s an interesting world, using mythology I’m lucky enough to get more and more exposed to, and uses the Arabian Nights stories in a fresh new way. I loved that our characters were given space to create and develop bonds, as well as their stories, without any of the complications that I normally care less for – give it the time it needs! Keen to see where the next part of the tale takes us in the sequel, as this is the first of a new trilogy!
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La autora de The Stardust Thief tiene un origen ecléctico ya que es estadounidense y kuwaití, esto es algo que se refleja perfectamente en esta historia de djinns, magia y desiertos que da comienzo a una trilogía destinada a hacerse un hueco en el mundo de la fantasía

Hay varias cosas que llaman la atención en la lectura de esta novela. La primera es el maravilloso mundo que crea Abdullah, reminiscente de otras historias de clara influencia árabe pero con personalidad propia, intercalando entre los capítulos propios de la novela relatos que recuerdan a las mil y una noches y que sirven para dotar al relato de más consistencia e interés. Los personajes también son muy atractivos, desde la Mercader de Medianoche a los ladrones y familiares del sultán. El relato sobre la búsqueda de un artefacto mágico se trocará en aventura por la supervivencia cuando entren en acción ghouls y otras criaturas mágicas, pero siempre teniendo presente el objetivo principal.

La magia está íntimamente imbricada en la narración, apareciendo de forma más leve con el uso de artefactos mágicos con efecto discreto o por la propia intervención de los poderosos djinns, cuya historia también iremos conociendo conforme se van desarrollando los acontecimientos.

El ritmo se mantiene bastante bien a lo largo de la novela, si bien es cierto que debido a su longitud en algunos pasajes se resiente. Afortunadamente son pocos momentos, porque la autora ha sabido espaciar juiciosamente los momentos de introspección con otros de más acción. Además, el juego de ir cambiando de punto de vista a lo largo de la novela es bastante equilibrado, no se puede decir que haya una perspectiva que sea eminentemente más interesante que otra.

Resulta también muy interesantes las revelaciones que se van haciendo hacia el tercio final del libro, sin duda semillas para el desarrollo de los siguientes libros. Se nota que la autora tiene bastante definido el camino que tiene que seguir su historia, y va plantando las ideas que serán el origen de las tramas posteriores.

Menos gracia me hizo el cliffhanger del final del libro, algo que parece casi inevitable en los principios de las series, pero que no por ello me hace más gracia.

Chelsea Abdullah ha conseguido despertar mi interés por saga, así que sin duda me haré con la siguiente entrega.
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"One cannot know the outcome of a journey if one is not brave enough to take it"
What a journey this book was!!!!
This story was all encompassing from the very first page. The story follows Loulie and her bodyguard Qadir embark on a quest for a jinn relic through sandseas, lost cities, grief and friendship. 
This has to be one of my favourite books I've read in a long time. The world, the stories, the gods, I found myself believing in it all.
 Thank you Netgalley for giving me a copy of this to review, I am now going to go out and buy a beautiful hardback version and eagerly await the next installment.
#TheStardustThief #NetGalley
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This book was such an enjoyable read and a great adventure story! The worldbuilding was incredible, in depth and full of lush descriptions. It was very easy to picture everything that happened. The characters were my favourite part though and literally jumped off the page. I’m extremely excited to see what will happen next after that ending!!
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Thank you for a copy of this book for review. I really enjoyed the adventure and the banter between the characters. I wish for more books by Chelsea so that we can have more to read in this setting.
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A wonderfully woven tale full of magic and mystery. The Stardust Thief will whisk you away to a land where death lurks within every shadow and power is wielded as ruthlessly as any blade, where jinn and humans alike are driven by vengeance and between them, will set the very sands alight.

 Our story follows Loulie al-Nazari; the Midnight Merchant, a criminal dealer of ancient magical relics, her guardian, a brooding being with many secrets, a kind–hearted prince who only wishes to escape his own gilded prison and a hunter on a single minded quest for vengeance.
  These four unlikely traveling companions are forced together on a quest set by the sultan himself, to find a magical lamp said to give its wielder unimaginable power. 

 Loulie is a character I immediately liked for her innate confidence and complexity, she is a heroine with flaws who we see grow and develop over the course of the story.
 Her bodyguard is a creature of mystery and I was endlessly taken by surprise as his history unfurled throughout the chapters.
Our prince is easily the most likable and morally pure so for me personally, the least interesting but even i cannot ignore the fact he is well written and his relationships with the other characters given a depth and variety that is enjoyable to read.
 The hunter was easily my favorite character in this book. She is vicious and single minded and possesses a strength of will I immediately appreciated. Her story took some unexpected turns and I felt her character was all the more intriguing for those twists.

The writing in The Stardust Thief is easy and smooth to read, the descriptions rich and vivid and the dialogue realistic and often entertaining. Though this book is shelved as “adult fantasy” I personally am inclined to recommend it as ya, simply due to the overall writing style and pacing.
 Most of all I adored the Arab inspired world Abdullah introduces us to in this book, I could feel the heat of the sun, see the shimmer of the sands and hear the howl of the desert winds.
Additionally , it was only towards the final chapters of The Stardust Thief that I truly understood the depth of the intricate emotional and political threads Abdullah had woven through the entire story and witnessed how she pulled these strands tighter and tighter as the finale drew closer.  
I can honestly say this is one of the most beautifully nuanced and emotionally layered stories I have ever read.

Overall this is a thoroughly enjoyable fantasy that I would recommend to fans of Victoria Schwab, Kierstan White and Kristan Ciccarelli.
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I wanted to love this book so bad. It was one of my most anticipated releases for 2022. An Arab-inspired fantasy world (by an Arab author!) and a party of four distinct characters journeying through the desert in search of ancient jinn magic? I was so ready for this to be my next 5-star read, but it was mostly just underwhelming. Maybe my high expectations were part of the problem.

‍'The Stardust Thief' by Chelsea Abdullah is told from three points of view. The first belongs to Loulie al-Nazari, the famous Midnight Merchant, known for the ‘relics’ (items enchanted with jinn magic) she hawks. Always with her is her jinn bodyguard and sort-of-stand-in-parent, the unflappable Qadir. The second comes in the form of the cowardly but curious Prince Mazen bin Malik, whose thirst for adventure outside of the palace that doubles as his cage often lands him in trouble. The third is that of Aisha bint Louas, one of the Forty Thieves with a vendetta against the jinn and the skills to make them regret crossing her. When the sultan forces Loulie and Qadir to embark on a quest for a magic lamp so that he may command its power to exterminate jinn forever, Mazen and Aisha find themselves roped into the endeavour. And so, their tale begins.

‍My biggest issue was that 'The Stardust Thief' read like a typical YA story. That’s not to say that there aren’t many amazing YA books out there, but this fell into the trappings of the not-so-amazing ones. This is most evident in the characters, whose actions and motivations are more reminiscent of teens than adults (this is an adult fantasy, and everyone is in their twenties or above). Lending itself to this is the dialogue, which is quite juvenile and very modern. It felt like I was reading dialogue from a contemporary story, which often jolted me out of the setting.

I also found everything to be . . . a little shallow. The characters, the plot, the worldbuilding – it is all decent enough to get you from the beginning to the end, but it never truly hooked me. I wasn’t in love with any of these characters. I never felt completely immersed in their world. The plot, plateaus and twists alike, never made my heart rate quicken. Part of the reason behind this was the writing style. Nobody wants prose flowery enough to give you hay fever through the page, but on the flip side, if it's too dry it’ll scrape against your mind like sandpaper. That was my experience here, and it dulled the magic in a world that is supposed to be very much magical.

‍My favourite part of this book was the relationship between Loulie and Qadir. They have a strong, familial-like bond that endures when tested. Qadir can be a little stoic and shields himself behind a thick cloak of secrecy, but he quickly becomes the most compelling character. It was an added benefit that Abdullah didn’t try to force a romance between them or anyone else in the main group for that matter.

Another solid point in the book’s favour came from the interesting way Abdullah wove in different stories from 'One Thousand and One Nights'. She adapted them so that they were consistent with the world she was building and even used them to enrich its history and magic system.

‍I could definitely see all the base ingredients for an enticing read in 'The Stardust Thief', but I thought the execution was rather lacklustre. That being said, if you need an accessible fantasy or want to transition over from YA, this could be what you’re looking for. I jumped between 2.5 and 3 stars a lot while trying to decide on a rating. I’m still not completely sure, but I’ve settled on 3.
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DNF @31%

The book starts off pretty great, honestly and I loved all the magical vibes. But unfortunately, it was slow and I couldn't finish it as anticipated. This is currently a DNF but hopefully I will return to it in the future when I can. I still recommend the book though, the only issue so far was the pacing which didn't work for me.
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I've received an arc copy through netgalley (big thanks for that) and the book is beyond great! A fantastic debut that sparks throughout the vast sea of novels thrown at us. The world building, characters, and story are perfection. Definitely amongst the top reads this year, and I can't wait for the sequel!
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Whenever I see a fantasy story involving djinn I get really excited, as was the case with The Stardust thief.
I had missed that it was inspired by One Thousand and one nights, but was pleasantly surprised when I started the book and recognized the references.

I loved how the stories of one thousand and one nights where interwoven into the story and how there were references and sometimes stories told by the characters in the story.

I loved all of the different characters we got to follow, how distinct they where from each other and I have a hard time picking a favourite.

I also found the magic system really intriguing with the different magical objects.

This book was definitely a fun adventure, with some fast paced action at times, but I did occationaly feel that it draggad a bit during the traveling (it’s difficult to make traveling interesting 😅)

All in all this was a great start to a new fantasy series and I’m looking forward to get to follow these characters on other adventures!
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For the first third of the book, I was convinced it would be a 5 star read--I loved the setting, the world building, the writing style, character dynamics, but as the story went on, it just didn't work for me as much I thought it was going to. I think the bursts of action as the journey went on started to feel a little repetitive, and I didn't enjoy the Mazen POV chapters as much as Loulie's. However, I will definitely be picking up the next books in the series as I loved the mythology inspired world so much. 

(Many thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for the eARC.)
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I am a bit of a newbie when it comes to the fantasy and mythology genre, but, I am widening my perspectives and so dar loving it. The author has done this brilliantly. The story is beautifully written, the characters come alive on the page, the settings pop and all characters have a believable voice. This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you very much to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.
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Brilliant story. Incredible world-building and strong voice. Chelsea Abdullah is definitely one to watch in this space and I can't wait to see what she releases next!
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An exciting and enchanting world to visit, with engaging characters to lead you through the story. I did find the pace lagged a bit for me in places but the ending more than redeemed itself - excited for the sequel!
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Unfortunately this one just wasn’t for me. The storyline didn’t grip me and the characters felt flat enough that I didn’t care what happened to them. It’s a shame as I received a special edition copy as part of a monthly book box. DNF at 150 pages.
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Thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for the digital ARC, it has not affected my honest review. 

Unfortunately this book fell flat for me and didn't live up to what I was expecting. Although the premise is excellent, and the world is interesting, I had little emotional connection with the characters. This was a DNF at 55%.
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4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thank you Netgalley and publisher for the e-arc for an honest opinion.

Please take in mind it’s my opinion, and everyone is allowed to have one. 

This was better than I expected, I liked this book. I kept pushing this off because it seemed like a big book but honestly it wasn’t that at all, it was an very easy and fast read. The story and plot were so good, some things were predictable but that didn’t stop me from liking it. 

I loved the characters, the chemistry between them all. Loved how also not only the humans had good and evil people but the jinn too. I liked learning about each of them and their powers. 

I can’t wait for the next book, am curious to see what’s going to happen next!
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The Stardust Thief is a delightful debut novel that weaves together storytelling a la 1001 Nights with an epic adventure. The worldbuilding here is stunning, building a rich Arab-inspired setting filled with jinn magic and supernatural monsters. With each new secret Louilie and her companions uncover, there's a tale to show its story. Personally, I loved Qadir, Loulie's steadfast companion and sometimes lizard. His relationship with Loulis was incredibly endearing but also Qadir on his own is just the best. Stardust Thief ends on worldbuilding cliffhanger and I can't wait for book two! Overall I rate this a 4.5/5.
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Inspired by One Thousand and One Nights, The Stardust Thief glitters with magic and adventure. The ideal escape for fans of S.A. Chakraborty’s City of Brass and Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes.

Loulie is a merchant of illegal magic with a Jinn bodyguard by her side named Qadir. Prince Mazen is a story-obsessed Prince kept like a prisoner in the Sultan’s palace for his own protection. Aisha is a hunter working for Prince Mazen’s older brother tracking down rogue Jinn.

This unlikely band of tenuous allies are sent on a quest by the Sultan, seeking a legendary magical lamp of immense power believed to linger in the depths of a sunken mythical Jinn city. They must traverse the harsh and unforgiving desert, avoiding all manor of assassination attempts, vengeful Jinn spirits, and other deadly obstacles along the way.

Abdullah does a spectacular job at building a vibrant world rich in history and magic. It’s a beautifully written story, interwoven with fables from the world’s mythology.

I loved getting to know the three main characters (and Qadir!) Abdullah expertly crafts as they try to survive the imminent danger of the present, and the haunting trauma of their pasts.

Full of twists and betrayals, The Stardust Thief is a fun and fast paced romp through an Arabian inspired world that gripped me with intrigue from the first page and didn’t let up until the epic conclusion. A fabulous fantasy read that’s perfect for summer.
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I cannot believe this is Chelsea Abdullah’s debut novel! She has created an amazing world with amazing characters and a great story…. Can I say it’s amazing again? 😅 Looking forward to see where Chelsea takes this in her next book ☺️
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