Lions of Istan by Fuad Baloch
Published Feb. 15th, 2019
A pampered princess anoints herself sultana after her father’s demise. An unassuming guard must conquer his banality. A world immersed in magic, where djinns menace the world of men. All of this has the makings of a fantastic beginning to a tale, and it is, save for one small problem – it could have been half the length.
Lions of Istan drags on for much longer than needed. We tend to blow through books, but the excess length of the story made it feel like a bit of a chore. That said, once you’re into it, the 550-page length may seem a blessing for those who love this world that Mister Baloch has created. We got there, eventually, but if we said this book was for everyone, we’d be a bunch of tricky djinns.
Nuraya is a lively character. A princess who, after her father’s untimely passing, fights her cruel family for control of the throne. She is forged in fire, going from a naive girl to something else entirely. We won’t spoil it, but her journey is perhaps the most interesting of the story.
Shoki is less interesting. Enraptured by Nuraya’s apparent beauty, the city guard must discover who he is meant to be. A bit of self-discovery for Shoki, but it doesn’t go as far as it could have.
The Verdict – 4/5
Lions of Istan is a beautiful tale, though we would be remiss if we didn’t dock some points for being a little long-winded. That aside, it’s a fun fantasy with solid world-building and character development that will leave many readers ready for more.
We look forward to reading more of Mister Baloch’s work in the future.
Do you want to read Lions of Istan? You can find it here.