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Vial of Tears

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Two sisters become trapped in the underworld--and in the machinations of deities, shapeshifters, and ghouls--in this lush and dangerous Phoenician mythology-inspired fantasy. Sixteen-year-old sisters Samira and Rima aren't exactly living the dream. Instead, they live with their maddeningly unreliable mother in a rundown trailer in Michigan. Dad's dead, money's tight, and Mo Two sisters become trapped in the underworld--and in the machinations of deities, shapeshifters, and ghouls--in this lush and dangerous Phoenician mythology-inspired fantasy. Sixteen-year-old sisters Samira and Rima aren't exactly living the dream. Instead, they live with their maddeningly unreliable mother in a rundown trailer in Michigan. Dad's dead, money's tight, and Mom disappears for days at a time. So when Sam's grandfather wills her the family valuables--a cache of Lebanese antiquities--she's desperate enough to try pawning them before Mom can. But she shouldn't. Because one is cursed, forbidden, the burial coin of a forgotten god. Disturbing it condemns her and Rima to the Phoenician underworld, a place of wicked cities, burning cedar forests, poisoned feasts of milk and lemons, and an endless, windless ocean. Nothing is what it seems. No one is who they say. And down here, the night never ends. To get home--and keep her sister safe--Sam will have to outwit beautiful shapeshifters, pose as a royal bride, sail the darkest sea... and maybe kill the god of death himself.


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Two sisters become trapped in the underworld--and in the machinations of deities, shapeshifters, and ghouls--in this lush and dangerous Phoenician mythology-inspired fantasy. Sixteen-year-old sisters Samira and Rima aren't exactly living the dream. Instead, they live with their maddeningly unreliable mother in a rundown trailer in Michigan. Dad's dead, money's tight, and Mo Two sisters become trapped in the underworld--and in the machinations of deities, shapeshifters, and ghouls--in this lush and dangerous Phoenician mythology-inspired fantasy. Sixteen-year-old sisters Samira and Rima aren't exactly living the dream. Instead, they live with their maddeningly unreliable mother in a rundown trailer in Michigan. Dad's dead, money's tight, and Mom disappears for days at a time. So when Sam's grandfather wills her the family valuables--a cache of Lebanese antiquities--she's desperate enough to try pawning them before Mom can. But she shouldn't. Because one is cursed, forbidden, the burial coin of a forgotten god. Disturbing it condemns her and Rima to the Phoenician underworld, a place of wicked cities, burning cedar forests, poisoned feasts of milk and lemons, and an endless, windless ocean. Nothing is what it seems. No one is who they say. And down here, the night never ends. To get home--and keep her sister safe--Sam will have to outwit beautiful shapeshifters, pose as a royal bride, sail the darkest sea... and maybe kill the god of death himself.

30 review for Vial of Tears

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chloe Gong

    Perfect for the adventure-seeker who wants to fall into another world—literally. Vial of Tears holds the beautiful complications of family close to its heart, all while telling a sweeping story filled with gods and monsters.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jodi Meadows

    Beautiful!

  3. 4 out of 5

    joy

    Vial of Tears follows Sam as she journeys to save her sister after they are unintentionally transported to the perilous Phoenician underworld. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT WAS EVEN MORE PERILOUS? THE EVENTS THAT OCCURRED WHILST I WAS READING THIS BOOK. ✨STORY TIME✨ SO. While perusing my local e-library, I came across this book and was initially drawn by its cover (in case you weren’t aware, real readers always judge books by their covers). Anyways, as I read the synopsis, I was further allured by the me Vial of Tears follows Sam as she journeys to save her sister after they are unintentionally transported to the perilous Phoenician underworld. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT WAS EVEN MORE PERILOUS? THE EVENTS THAT OCCURRED WHILST I WAS READING THIS BOOK. ✨STORY TIME✨ SO. While perusing my local e-library, I came across this book and was initially drawn by its cover (in case you weren’t aware, real readers always judge books by their covers). Anyways, as I read the synopsis, I was further allured by the mention of Phoenician mythology, which I knew absolutely nothing about. After renting the book and listening to 70% of it, I forgot about it for many days because of…ummm…*frantically tries to find an excuse* *can’t find one* UM SO YEAH Soooo, I then logged back into my account and realized that the time was almost up and that I needed to renew my rental. So I did. Without memorizing where I was in the book. Well, let’s just say that that was a ROOKIE MISTAKE, and that the crummy software my library uses for its online rentals is not so forgiving. It reset my progress entirely, so I then had to guesstimate where I was in the story, because I’m a proud member of the Goldfish Memory Club and didn’t remember anything.😁 After sort of finding out where I was in the story, I resumed listening to it. Andddd let’s just say that the not-so-hot e-library, for some unknown reason, kept resetting my time stamp back to where I had started listening and I may or may not have listened to the same chapter over four times. BUT, despite these obstacles I prevailed and managed to finish the book. ACTUAL REVIEW Firstly, the Phoenician underworld was UTTERLY TERRIFYING. There were so many times when I was just squirming in ew and terror at the brutality of it. It was super fascinating to read about and was such a refreshing, unique setting that I had never read or heard about before. Sam, the protagonist, was okay. I’d say her biggest con is that she just wasn’t super memorable. And with my goldfish memory, honey, I just don’t think she’s gonna be in my brain much longer. My memory is prime real estate and the market is HOT. Rima, Sam’s sister, on the other hand, was hilariousssss. I feel like Rima is the embodiment of what us readers would be like in a fantasy novel. It’s honestly a shame she didn’t have more page time! Because of the above events, my understanding of the plot has become a bit…muddled? But obviously this has nothing to do with the author and everything to do with the e-library.🙃 Because of that, I’m just going to go ahead and give this one four stars because I did enjoy the parts that my brain wasn’t confused at, and it really is a fresh, unique, and original story, which the YA genre could honestly use a lot more of. CONTENT RATINGS: (Scale of 0-5) Addictive substances: 1 - Brief mention of one of the characters smoking at a party towards the beginning of the novel. Sam and Rema’s mother gambles at casinos. Language: 2 - One character cusses frequently but has minimal page time. Kissing/Smut/Sexual content: 2 - No kissing or smut, just vague references of sex. Suggested age rating: 14+*

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    Underworld fantasy? Phoenician mythology? *screech*

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cindy ✩☽♔

    Plot sounds interesting and the characters are from Michigan? Hell yes! Michiganders let’s go! 😆

  6. 4 out of 5

    Celia McMahon

    Huge thanks to Holiday House for the chance to review this book! VIAL OF TEARS has been high on my tbr since I saw the cover, but due to a few reviews and posts It's seen on the fly, this was categorized as a middle-grade book. When I dove in, I was in that mindset, but was pleasantly surprised that this is actually YA. With that information, it took me a minute to get into the story, but I eased into it quickly enough to find that not only was this book marketed strangely but it wasn't marketed Huge thanks to Holiday House for the chance to review this book! VIAL OF TEARS has been high on my tbr since I saw the cover, but due to a few reviews and posts It's seen on the fly, this was categorized as a middle-grade book. When I dove in, I was in that mindset, but was pleasantly surprised that this is actually YA. With that information, it took me a minute to get into the story, but I eased into it quickly enough to find that not only was this book marketed strangely but it wasn't marketed as much as it should be, In short, this book was incredible! Sam and Rima don't live a perfect life. There's always the threat of eviction and barely getting enough food to sustain them, but they also have to deal with an absent mother who seems to disappear for days on end without explanation. So, when they're gifted a jar of old antiques, the first thought Sam has is, this will catch us up on rent enough to keep the landlord off their backs. Oh, but the coins within the jar are cursed and suddenly Sam finds herself trusted into a world completely unlike her own with Rima nowhere in sight. Off the bat, I was reminded of City of Brass (one of my favorite books in the world) with its culture intertwined into a fictional fantasy world. And like the aforementioned novel, VIAL OF TEARS is helmed by a strong, determined protagonist. The people and things in this new world cannot be trusted, and Sam quickly realizes that in order to reduce her sister and get them back to Michigan, she will have to play a game of her own. The only thing I could not get behind was the romance. I didn't feel any sort of connection between Sam and Eshmun for it to come to a head by the book's end. This had the potential to have a slow-burn enemy to lovers, but the spark was absent. If there had been a build-up (at least on Sam's side) the confession at the end would have had a larger impact. To be honest, it would have been best to leave the romance out entirely since Eshmun was a selfish kidnapper, to begin with, and did not have enough time to have a redemption arc for me to really see him as anything romantic for Sam. Carrying this book for was Teth, my grizzly bear of a man. I loved him so much and his scenes had me smiling and crying my darn eyes out. Overall, I enjoyed the experience. The author created a riveting novel full of dangers and betrayals. If you're looking for a quest book with strong sibling dynamics and twists to keep you up late into the night, this is the one for you. Bookstagram

  7. 5 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) One of my favorite elements of Vial of Tears has to be this mix of ancient and modern. We don't spend that much time with Sam before she is whisked off to the Underworld. But throughout the story, this mix of modern notions of love and family, consistently come into conflict and conversation with the Phoenician Underworld. My other favorite element had to be the action and intrigu (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) One of my favorite elements of Vial of Tears has to be this mix of ancient and modern. We don't spend that much time with Sam before she is whisked off to the Underworld. But throughout the story, this mix of modern notions of love and family, consistently come into conflict and conversation with the Phoenician Underworld. My other favorite element had to be the action and intrigue. As I said, Vial of Tears feels like constant action. It's easy to get swept away in wondering if Sam and Rima are going to be reunited. If they can survive this new setting and challenges. Seeing the world from Sam's perspective, we can feel her fear and uncertainty. It means that this thread of wonder and dread in the pit of your stomach, pulls you through Vial of Tears. Additionally, it's a story of a fractured family and an ancient secret. While I wanted to keep reading, I wished that there had been more emphasis on the family/sister aspect. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Becca Mee

    A VIAL OF TEARS is a story about family and sacrifice, and how far you're willing to go for it. Sam and her sister Rima find themselves inadvertently swept away to an underworld filled with dangerous and vengeful gods and unpredictable magic when their grandfather sends them an ancient coin from Lebanon. To survive, Samira will have defy the gods and face off against dangerous monsters, but she may end up losing more than she bargained for. What is truly magnificent about this book is its Phoeni A VIAL OF TEARS is a story about family and sacrifice, and how far you're willing to go for it. Sam and her sister Rima find themselves inadvertently swept away to an underworld filled with dangerous and vengeful gods and unpredictable magic when their grandfather sends them an ancient coin from Lebanon. To survive, Samira will have defy the gods and face off against dangerous monsters, but she may end up losing more than she bargained for. What is truly magnificent about this book is its Phoenician mythology inspired world-building. The author's lush writing style brings this world to life in a vivid and colorful way and you can't help but just be enraptured by it. Especially because I don't know much about Phoenician mythology it was a really interesting read and it certainly is one of those YA Fantasies that stands out among the crowd. At its heart, this is a story about sisters and family. I really liked seeing the relationship between Samira and Rima develop and grow throughout the novel. I will say that pacing was an issue at times and I am not sure why but there were times while reading just could not stay super into it, but in no way do I think that diminishes this book's quality and importance. I also wasn't crazy about the main male love interest and how he spoke to Sam and Rima, BUT I am thrilled that the author addresses how that is totally not acceptable. It was just hard to remained invested with a character like that who plays such a pivotal role in the story regardless of his tragic past. VIAL OF TEARS overall was a really solid fantasy that was a wonder to behold and I did enjoy reading about this fantastical journey.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cary Morton

    I received a copy of this book directly from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. I loved every minute of this book. The imagery and culture intertwined into a stunning work of world-building. The narrative was clear and easy to read, and I was sucked into the story from the very first line until the end. The characters were distinct and well-written in a way that made them seem alive. My favorite, of course, was Samira. She was a smart, determined, and sometimes fearless main c I received a copy of this book directly from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. I loved every minute of this book. The imagery and culture intertwined into a stunning work of world-building. The narrative was clear and easy to read, and I was sucked into the story from the very first line until the end. The characters were distinct and well-written in a way that made them seem alive. My favorite, of course, was Samira. She was a smart, determined, and sometimes fearless main character that didn't just wait around for someone to save her - she spent nearly every second of the story striving to reach her goal, even if that was sometimes the wrong choice. If I had to nitpick, the only issue I had with the book was the romance - it was barely there. Samira spent the entire book not trusting Eshmun and barely going along with his plans, and then in the last few pages, suddenly she was in love with him, and he was in love with her. It felt forced and didn't ring true. I don't think the author spent enough time weaving in the subtext needed to make their relationship believable. That aside, I still enjoyed the book immensely, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes Fantasy stories with a strong action/adventure vibe.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea

    My first DNF of the year. I stopped around page 155 (48%). I was excited about how this started, but it felt like the story wasn’t really progressing. I don’t know much about Phoenician mythology, so I found that part intriguing. On to the next adventure!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Starr ❇✌❇

    I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: gambling, mentioned self inflicted cut, strip search, missing in action parent, implied threat of sexual assault, knife violence 3 Thanks to an unreliable mother, who sees no problem disappearing for days on end, sisters Samira and Rima are barely scraping by. That's why when Samira receives a package from a family member back in Lebanon, she thinks the ancient looking coins within could be the answer to their money problems. But before she can attempt to pa I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: gambling, mentioned self inflicted cut, strip search, missing in action parent, implied threat of sexual assault, knife violence 3 Thanks to an unreliable mother, who sees no problem disappearing for days on end, sisters Samira and Rima are barely scraping by. That's why when Samira receives a package from a family member back in Lebanon, she thinks the ancient looking coins within could be the answer to their money problems. But before she can attempt to pawn them, something impossible happens- she and her sister are dragged into another world. Caught between the machinations of two gods, manipulative beings, and a prophecy they may or may not be a part of, going home is the one thing they want and the one thing that may be impossible. Mythology is definitely not an interest dying off any time soon, so I wasn't surprised to see another story about an underworld, but the idea of a Phoenician one seemed really unique. And there are definitely some elements that do feel unique and interesting, but somehow this book failed to make an impression on me. It's interesting how the author and her family connect so directly to this work, which did make it feel more real to me, and I loved the addition of the recipes. It's these things, with some of the more vibrant descriptions, that did snag me and make me feel more interested in the world and the story. And I am always interested in stories that focus on sibling dynamics. Samira and Rima have a very specific relationship- an older sister that almost doubles as a mother, and a younger sister that both appreciates her and resents her. So I cared about them due to that in the beginning, but that dynamic seemed mostly to come into play in moment Samira was searching for her sister, and when they were together you couldn't feel that kind of dynamic. Part of that might be because of or why I really didn't care for Rima. The way she's written just felt so off to me- as if she were from an entirely different book. This, to me, felt like someone pushing too hard to make someone sound like a modern teenager, and against this backdrop and compared to her own sister, it didn't feel organic at all. The other dynamic I couldn't get behind was the strange romance hinted at throughout. It's not one that would have worked for me over all- the premise of teen girl and ageless god will rarely win me over, plus him being her kidnapper and them having zero chemistry just put the nail in the coffin- but the weird way it was danced around made it very confusing. But mostly it's just that this story felt so flat. The characters don't have much dimension, and most of this story is made up of either walking or talking about a goal/quest so large that a reader, who is not immersed in the world or the character it actually effects, can't make an impact. Being dropped into the middle of a quest is already going to make it harder to connect, but it was written as if we're expected to care because it's a story, or myth, and not because of the actual outcomes. Plus, the ending making a very heavy line between those worlds and characters, as it's no longer Samira's problem to help them with the quest carrying this entire plot, made it feel even more as if nothing had actually happened in this entire book. It's nice to see a different kind of mythology represented here, and there are some mental images that I liked, but there was nothing for me to really care about in this novel, and nothing truly unique beyond the premise itself.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ele #FreePalestine

    Saw the cover, skimmed the plot, hit to-read. This cover gives me too many 90's fantasy novel vibes and I love it. Saw the cover, skimmed the plot, hit to-read. This cover gives me too many 90's fantasy novel vibes and I love it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie (A Backwards Story)

    I love a good book about siblings. There aren't enough of them in the world in YA. Especially when the relationship is on the siblings and not focused on romance? *chef kiss* VIAL OF TEARS by Cristin Bishara is a new novel about the lengths one sister will go to save the other when they are trapped in a deadly world full of vicious occupants who will stop at nothing to obtain the strange new girls that have appeared. VIAL OF TEARS kicks off when Samira's grandfather Jiddo sends her an ancient vas I love a good book about siblings. There aren't enough of them in the world in YA. Especially when the relationship is on the siblings and not focused on romance? *chef kiss* VIAL OF TEARS by Cristin Bishara is a new novel about the lengths one sister will go to save the other when they are trapped in a deadly world full of vicious occupants who will stop at nothing to obtain the strange new girls that have appeared. VIAL OF TEARS kicks off when Samira's grandfather Jiddo sends her an ancient vase hiding an ancient burial coin. She is able to resist its pull leading to the Underworld, but when the coin sweeps her sister Rima away, she follows in a desperate attempt to save her. The girls are separated, and it is revealed that the denizens of the Underworld want to either consume them to gain power, sell them for wealth, or turn them in to the God of Death, who believes one of them is the mortal of a prophecy that could give him ultimate power. Sam is in a strange new world full of beings who wish her ill, but sacrifices her own safety in order to find Rima and keep her safe, no matter what the cost... The novel is centered around Phoenician mythology, so while the Underworld is familiar, it is not the Greek version that many readers have previously encountered. Instead, we are treated to the lore of ancient Lebanon from the mind of a Lebanese-Amercian author, and introduced to creatures and tales not previously seen in popular mythological novels. I loved learning more about Phoenician lore and not knowing where we were going or what I might be able to expect. It kept the pages turning and felt fresh and new. Sam goes through some crazy trials and remains defiant and headstrong, refusing to give up or be distracted from her task despite being in a very fragile position herself. Sam and Rima have been forced to rely on one another over the years. Their father is in the military and Missing in Action, and their mother often disappears for days at a time. They have no money and are about to be evicted from their mobile home. Before their father left for his last tour, he tasked Sam with protecting her sister and mother and keeping everyone safe. She's determined to do so now and bring Rima home. Without going into details about the plotline of what happens in the Underworld to keep it fresh and exciting for you, you can expect to see powerful gods, terrifying shapeshifters, and even eerie rubã, a type of ghost that can consume your life in order to taste the world of the living once more. While there is a hint of potential romance, it isn't the focus of the book and never comes into full fruition, which may deter some readers, but will be absolutely refreshing to others. It is also a stand-alone, but has a couple of small threads that could become a sequel or companion novel in the future should the author decide to revisit the characters. VIAL OF TEARS is a solid new fantasy entry in YA with a fresh voice and world you won't want to miss checking out!

  14. 5 out of 5

    dana

    blog // twitter full review on my blog! thank you to Netgalley, Rockstar Book Tours, and the publisher for sending me this ARC courtesy of a blog tour! 💖 The first adjective that comes to mind after finishing Vial of Tears is lush. First, I’ve never read a Phoenician mythology-inspired novel, and now I’m definitely curious for more. The world into which sisters and protagonists Samira and Rima are thrust teems with detail. I was continually pleasantly surprised by the worldbuilding, though I almost blog // twitter full review on my blog! thank you to Netgalley, Rockstar Book Tours, and the publisher for sending me this ARC courtesy of a blog tour! 💖 The first adjective that comes to mind after finishing Vial of Tears is lush. First, I’ve never read a Phoenician mythology-inspired novel, and now I’m definitely curious for more. The world into which sisters and protagonists Samira and Rima are thrust teems with detail. I was continually pleasantly surprised by the worldbuilding, though I almost never felt lost (except when I was supposed to be confused because the narrator was also uncertain). The familial relationships are also strong, especially between Sam and Rima. Sam and Rima both endure danger after danger to save each other, though they also learn to save themselves. One relationship that I thought could be developed further, however, was Sam and Eshmun. They do naturally grow closer by the end of the novel, and I think they do understand each other more than Rima even understands Sam, but I wish the two of them had stayed companions, not potential romantic interests. All in all, a beautiful read for those interested in adventure, gods, ghouls, and the complicated families that make it all possible.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah B

    The concept for this book is so captivating: Sisters whisked away to the Phoenician underworld by a half-god on a quest to find his burial coin, and maybe save the (under)world. It's ultimately a story of family and healing from family trauma, as well as learning to let go of the past while forging a new path for yourself. I wanted to like this book so much, but it ultimately fell flat for me. If you like plot-heavy books with little characterizations, you might enjoy this more than I did, but I The concept for this book is so captivating: Sisters whisked away to the Phoenician underworld by a half-god on a quest to find his burial coin, and maybe save the (under)world. It's ultimately a story of family and healing from family trauma, as well as learning to let go of the past while forging a new path for yourself. I wanted to like this book so much, but it ultimately fell flat for me. If you like plot-heavy books with little characterizations, you might enjoy this more than I did, but I struggled to remain invested in the characters when so much was happening with little-to-no explanation. I was particularly disappointed in Rima's character. It seemed like she existed in the story solely for the purpose of giving Sam something to do, rather than being a fully fleshed out character. I also struggled with the pace; things just happened to characters, with no time to process anything or really feel the stakes. The "romance" also came out of nowhere and didn't contribute much to the story at all, which was disappointing.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Samira (Sam) is stubborn and loyal, but when is it time to let go of hope? This is a Lebanese/Phoenician based fantasy, with guls (ghouls), pterodactyl-type dragons, an underworld and many different, competing gods and demi-gods. The bloody final conflict is what turns this into a teen book. Interestingly, Sam and her sister Rima are NOT the heroes of some ancient prophecy, but they are dragged into the story of the hero of one (Eshmun). Sam comes to respect (like?) Eshmun, but must return home Samira (Sam) is stubborn and loyal, but when is it time to let go of hope? This is a Lebanese/Phoenician based fantasy, with guls (ghouls), pterodactyl-type dragons, an underworld and many different, competing gods and demi-gods. The bloody final conflict is what turns this into a teen book. Interestingly, Sam and her sister Rima are NOT the heroes of some ancient prophecy, but they are dragged into the story of the hero of one (Eshmun). Sam comes to respect (like?) Eshmun, but must return home with Rima when she finally gets the chance, so this will appeal to those who don't like romance in their fantasy. Plus, Eshmun kidnapped them in the first place, so really falling in love with him would be a bit squicky. It goes against many fantasy tropes that the fate of the world doesn't rest on her shoulders, and she realizes that neither does her mother's well-being (her missing-presumed-dead father placed that burden on her just before he left).

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cath (Cather.reads)

    Thank you to the publisher for the free copy Vial of Tears is a beautiful book that delves into Phoenician mythology. It's filled with ancient magic, prophecies, and family values. Sam and Rima are sisters who accidentally fall into the underworld after inheriting their great grandfather's ancient coin collection. They have to fight gods and try to stick together as they become the victims of an ancient prophecy. I thought this was a fun adventure filled with a great good vs. evil conflict. The c Thank you to the publisher for the free copy Vial of Tears is a beautiful book that delves into Phoenician mythology. It's filled with ancient magic, prophecies, and family values. Sam and Rima are sisters who accidentally fall into the underworld after inheriting their great grandfather's ancient coin collection. They have to fight gods and try to stick together as they become the victims of an ancient prophecy. I thought this was a fun adventure filled with a great good vs. evil conflict. The characters were varied and magical. I'm certainly not an expert on any type of mythology, so I cannot speak to whether or not the representation was accurate, but from the Author's Note, I'm confident that this was well researched.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Robbins

    *I received a free copy of this book which I voluntarily chose to write an honest review for. This is a fabulous fantasy action read for middle grade readers. Though I also highly enjoyed it as an adult as well. Our two heroines hale from Michigan which isn't too far from where I am making it very relatable. The sisters Samira and Rima find themselves in a fascinating fantasy world full of Phoenician mythology. This creates a riveting read full of ancient magic, mysteries, prophecies, and so ver *I received a free copy of this book which I voluntarily chose to write an honest review for. This is a fabulous fantasy action read for middle grade readers. Though I also highly enjoyed it as an adult as well. Our two heroines hale from Michigan which isn't too far from where I am making it very relatable. The sisters Samira and Rima find themselves in a fascinating fantasy world full of Phoenician mythology. This creates a riveting read full of ancient magic, mysteries, prophecies, and so very much more. A highly recommended read to keep young readers' attention. I totally loved it so I give it 5/5 stars.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dani

    I wanted to like this book so much but it was just so meh. The pacing was all over the place, the story would move insanely fast for like 2 chapters and then nothing would happen for another 3. I didn't care about any of the characters or even the plot in general. This book's saving grace is the mythology it's based around, it's clearly well researched and imagined in a way that's very interesting and modernized. The story wouldn't have worked with any other mythology and that's something I appr I wanted to like this book so much but it was just so meh. The pacing was all over the place, the story would move insanely fast for like 2 chapters and then nothing would happen for another 3. I didn't care about any of the characters or even the plot in general. This book's saving grace is the mythology it's based around, it's clearly well researched and imagined in a way that's very interesting and modernized. The story wouldn't have worked with any other mythology and that's something I appreciated.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alyson L

    This book is slightly confusing, and overall a bit misleading. The plot is okay, but I got slightly confused at multiple points. The romance in this book is completely pointless, because you can't seem to find any sort of connection. The book is from Sam's point of view, and she never expresses any love toward Eshmun, which made them not seem like and ideal couple. It's hard to see any character development, and both sisters are quite plain. Sure, they aren't living a perfect life, but they bare This book is slightly confusing, and overall a bit misleading. The plot is okay, but I got slightly confused at multiple points. The romance in this book is completely pointless, because you can't seem to find any sort of connection. The book is from Sam's point of view, and she never expresses any love toward Eshmun, which made them not seem like and ideal couple. It's hard to see any character development, and both sisters are quite plain. Sure, they aren't living a perfect life, but they barely find ways to provide for themselves. Neither have defining heroine qualities, and Sam is much more of a narrator than the main character, telling readers what happened but barely taking action herself.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    Entertaining read, but I was left a little unsatisfied by the open ending. Full review to come, but you can check out a teaser mini-review at the Forever Young Adult Instagram. Entertaining read, but I was left a little unsatisfied by the open ending. Full review to come, but you can check out a teaser mini-review at the Forever Young Adult Instagram.

  22. 5 out of 5

    S.R. Toliver

    Captivating story that blends Lebanese history and Phoenician mythology. I loved the plot even though it took me a bit to get into it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    2.5 stars

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lizzy

    Dropped at page 84. Really boring characters and dialogue. I can’t stay invested in the story.

  25. 4 out of 5

    christiana

    4.5 stars Really good-I loved the Lebanese representation and all the Arabic!💚 I think a few things could have been improved on, but overall fantastic!

  26. 5 out of 5

    lin

    my heart is in pieces 😭 i'm happy but sad but happy but also sad and happy and sad very sad my heart is in pieces 😭 i'm happy but sad but happy but also sad and happy and sad very sad

  27. 5 out of 5

    Charlene

    Love this story. Looking forward to future works from this author.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Calei

    oh my gosh this book was PERFECT. the plot and characters are amazing, and if anyone knows who designed that cover, I must know so I can obssess over their artwork more!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Colleen Grazioso

    Such a fascinating read! I loved diving into the phonecian underworld. Incredible strong female characters. Fascinating, inventive plot. Highly recommended!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ana Louisa

    Haven’t read yet but the cover is really pretty, expected more reviews lol.

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