The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana
Publication date: 18 July 2017
Genre: YA fantasy
Page count: 336 pages
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
This is a spoiler-free review.
The Library of Fates is a book I hadn’t heard much about, but the lovely cover stuck firmly in my mind. When I had the chance to borrow the book from a friend, I snapped up the opportunity. While I enjoyed The Library of Fates, I felt like it didn’t quite live up to its potential.
No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.
The unthinkable happens, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos of a palace under siege. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.
Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life—and another love—await?
This book has some serious strengths and weaknesses. Most strikingly, I absolutely loved the world building but wish there was more to it. I have been reading lots of books with great world building lately and feel a little spoiled — I had hoped to get similar levels of gorgeous writing about Amrita’s surroundings. My favourite part of any fantasy novel is reading about the culture, politics, food, clothing, you name it. We got the bare bones of that in The Library of Fates, however I loved what we did get. This book combines history and fantasy, one of my favourite things ever, and the real locations in this book help bring it to life.
In terms of plot, I do feel that this book lost its way a little and didn’t know what kind of story it wanted to tell. The beginning is amazing — in fact, it features some of the most gripping opening chapters I’ve read in a long time — and I liked the end, but I felt that the middle meandered a little and got off track. Is it a tale of political intrigue and survival? Is it a lush fantasy based on mythology? Is it a dreamy fairy tale? It didn’t really stick to one theme well, but also didn’t incorporate multiple themes well enough to create a smooth plot.
In addition, I didn’t feel that the characters were as strong as they could have been. Amrita is a strong heroine that I really liked — she’s fierce and determined to control her fate, but she also has flaws that she fights to overcome. The remaining characters fell a little flat for me and aren’t as memorable. I did, however, really love the romance at the beginning of the book. My favourite character was Arjun — our sweet cinnamon roll of a best friend. The Library of Fates features one of the best best friends-to-lovers tropes, which is no easy feat.
The Library of Fates has such a unique feel and could have been outstanding, but I just didn’t feel the writing and editing was quite strong enough. However, it is a good, fast-paced fantasy adventure that you can easily fall into. I definitely plan to keep an eye out for Khorana’s next book — I’d love to see what she comes up with next.
Want to try The Library of Fates for yourself? You can find it here (affiliate links):