The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana
The Library of Fates had so much potential, but instead of an epic female-led journey, we got a surface level plot that was done in 300 pages.
It pains me to say that the best thing about this book is the cover. It physically hurts, but it’s the truth. I received an ARC of The Library of Fates in a trade, and I knew only two things about it:
The book cover is gorgeous and I want it on my shelf.
It’s a South Asian/Indian inspired fantasy. My favourite kind of fantasy.
So I traded for it, and while I don’t feel duped by the cover, I was a little stunned when it arrived and the book was tiny. 315 pages is the size of a contemporary, not a fantasy. Maybe I had accidentally attached the word ‘epic’ despite receiving no indication of that? So, I read the synopsis:
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, Sikander’s slave who escapes the during a siege at the palace. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala 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?
Oh come on! A kingdom under siege? A quest? A library that can alter fates? And you’re telling me that this can all be done in just over 300 pages?
The answer is no, it can’t.
I loved the idea of this story, and the beginning was a great set-up. It had a romance, a plot to overthrow a kingdom, along with myths and magic and ultimately, the beginning of an epic journey. But once everything was set up, I realised I was half way through the book.
I began to panic.
There was no way this story would finish at the end of this book, there had to be another one. So I didn’t think about it and carried on.
The ‘epic journey’ was…not epic, and more of a collection of conveniences that made the journey go from two weeks to two days. We learnt things, we saw cool things happen, but it was like being on a school trip at a museum; look at it for a few seconds and then be hurried along. So many aspects of this story weren’t fleshed out or developed, and while I enjoyed the characters and what actually was happening, I wanted more.
So, maybe we weren’t gonna get our epic fantasy just yet, but surely that means it’s coming in book two?
Instead, The Library of Fates ended with a deus ex machina, a way to conveniently tie up any loose ends with a time travel scene. There was quite literally no point to anything that happened before the end. And then, it ended.
Who does that to a story?
If Aditi Khorana wants to write some spin-offs or companion novels in the Library of Fates universe, I will gladly pick them up. The writing was beautiful, descriptive, and immersive. But the plot felt cut down to reach a word count that was entirely unfair and not for an epic fantasy.
Publication Date: July 2017
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ .5