How are you? Everyone ok? Been reading? Anything good? Well, I have been reading Race The Sands by Sarah Beth Durst.

As you will be surprised to know, I have had this one for ages. I actually got it as part of a giveaway run by Sam on the blog site The Book in Hand ages ago. In addition to that,  Eleni, from FanFiAddict also raved about this. So, when Benny at the Discord site Secret Library proposed a readalong, I veritably jumped at the chance and ripped through this one.

In this epic standalone fantasy, the acclaimed author of the Queens of Renthia series introduces an imaginative new world in which a pair of strong and determined women risk their lives battling injustice, corruption, and deadly enemies in their quest to become monster racing champions.

Life, death, and rebirth—in Becar, who you are in this life will determine your next life. Yet there is hope—you can change your destiny with the choices you make. But for the darkest individuals, there is no redemption: you come back as a kehok, a monster, and are doomed to be a kehok for the rest of time.

Unless you can win the Races.

After a celebrated career as an elite kehok rider, Tamra became a professional trainer. Then a tragic accident shattered her confidence, damaged her reputation, and left her nearly broke. Now, she needs the prize money to prevent the local temple from taking her daughter away from her, and that means she must once again find a winning kehok . . . and a rider willing to trust her.

Raia is desperate to get away from her domineering family and cruel fiancé. As a kehok rider, she could earn enough to buy her freedom. But she needs a first-rate trainer.

Impressed by the inexperienced young woman’s determination, Tamra hires Raia and pairs her with a strange new kehok with the potential to win—if he can be tamed.

But in this sport, if you forget you’re riding on the back of a monster, you die. Tamra and Raia will work harder than they ever thought possible to win the deadly Becaran Races—and in the process, discover what makes this particular kehok so special.

Race the Sands is one of those books that I have had for such a long time and it wasn't until I joined the TBR smashers (now called Secret Library) readalong that I managed to get to this.

Why did I leave it so long? I. Do. Not Know! I have to say, I loved the shit out of this book.

I suppose I should tell you what this story is about huh? Well, first off it's about monster racing. There's these things called Kehoks which are the reincarnated souls of bad people who come back as the lowest of the low monsters and then people catch 'em (a bit like Pokémon but with cages instead of glowing balls. Hang on! Something just struck me! Who says I am going to catch monsters with my glowing balls? I mean, I think there's laws against that!). Sorry! I digress, but I now cannot get the idea of glowing balls out of my head now.

Any way, glowing balls aside, let's get back to me telling you what's going on in the story! Stop thinking about.glowing balls! Brain, you are a bad influence. 

Everyone else n this world does different things with em, but in Becar, they race em, and everyone loves it. It's like the national sport, I dunno, like football or something, except a little bit more dangerous, there's the little matter that the monsters can eat you, or tear you apart, or tear you apart and then eat you. I was going to put eat you and then tear you apart, but that didn't work, although they can digest your ass so they could eat you and then break you apart. Anyway! You get the picture, they are like dangerous, proper effing dangerous.

Which leads us to the characters. There's this trainer, Tamra. She's like a bit disgraced, well a lot disgraced to be honest, you see one of her riders was kinda like killed in a bad way, and now she's like babysitting rich dudes kids who are all arse wipes and she hates it, and did I tell you the kids were all arse wipes? One of em ends up getting hurt, which obviously makes her boss proper pissed off, coz everyone complains and like these rich arse wipes are her income like. So her boss, Lady Evara has a plan, she gives Tamra one last chance to wipe her slate clean and tells her to go buy a Kehok, find a rider and win the races. Which leads her to finding this black, metallic lion Kehok who's not like any of the other monsters and also Raia who wants to be a rider. 

Tamra takes her on as a rider, even though she's not done it before and gets all Yoda at Raina, you know telling her to 'feel the force Luke'. Except it's not Luke' but you know what I mean. But Raina has had bad shit go down in her life. Her parents were shit and …. Well find that bit out for yourselves. But anyway, Tamra and Raina kinda like learn to get along and then in between all that there's this emperor. Well he's not really the emperor, not yet anyway, coz his big brother died and there's these matters of state that need sorting out, so he sends his most trusted advisor. I can't remember his name, let's call him Alan! It isn't Alan but that will do. Who is this really good dude, like a kind of Buddhist monk kinda vibe. Anyways, Alan but who's not Alan is a really good character,coz he's been hidden away in the palace, eating all the good food and swishing about looking all holy like and giving the not emperor all this good advice, and now he's out in the real world, he has to do a bit of real life stuff like lying and making shit up as he goes along. Obviously you know that Alan's Not Alan path is going to cross with Tamra and Raina's. Which is good.

So, there you go, that's the basis of the story. Hopefully, that gives nothing away like, and you think, hmm, that sounds interesting. 

Anyways, this is a proper good book like. There's intrigue, there's an unpredictable monster, there's this society that revolves are reincarnation and best of all there's monsters. I mean, who doesn't like monsters? On top of that, Sarah Beth Durst writes really good characters and it's a dead easy book to read. And not only that, it's a standalone. There's no big commitment to a whole new series that's like anything from three to goodness knows how many books long. You know what I mean?


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