Hello and welcome back to The Reading Room, where we share our thoughts on books we’ve read recently! Today, as part of our three post series, we are reviewing . We received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for review purposes, all opinions are our own and do not reflect the thoughts or beliefs of the publisher or author.
Race the Sands is a standalone adult fantasy set in a desert world and inhabited by lethal monsters. It is in this world that Tamra, a retired racer, and Reia, a young women trying to escape her domineering family and fiance, try to do the impossible and win the deadly Becarran races.
About the BookRace the Sands by Sarah Beth Durst
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons on April 21, 2020
In this standalone fantasy, 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, everyone knows that who you are in this life will determine what you are in your next life. The augurs can read your fate in your aura: hawk, heron, tortoise, jackal, human. Armed with that knowledge, you can change your destiny with the choices you make, both in this life and your next. But for the darkest individuals, there is no redemption: you come back as a kehok, a monster, and you will always be a kehok for the rest of time.
Unless you can win the Races.
As a professional trainer, Tamra was an elite kehok rider. Then a tragic accident on the track shattered her confidence, damaged her career, and left her nearly broke. Now Tamra 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 can’t become good enough to compete without 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.
Durst creates an immersive, complex world rich in both mythology and environment. Becar is set in a hot and arid desert setting where monsters called kehoks are captured and raced and the augurs maintain order by reading the auras of those who can afford it and telling them what they be reincarnated as in the next life.
There are numerous points of view in this book and Durst handles them all perfectly, showing us more of the world from the different perspectives Beyond the races and kehoks, there was a lot more political intrigue than I was expecting but it only enriched the story and made it that much more engrossing.
Tamra and Raia are amazing, strong and passionate characters who make mistakes but always fight for what they believe in. I found their motivations very compelling which only added to the story.
One of my favorite parts of the book were the kehok monsters. There were so many different varieties of unique animal combinations. Every race, I always looked forward to the descriptios of the monsters.
Race the Sands is a doorstop, clocking in at just under 600 pages but the pacing was quick and I was invested from the first page. Durst’s writing style is succinct but immersive and O never felt stuff was included just to make the book longer.
If you have loved other epic fantasies by authors such as George R.R. Martin and Brandon Sanderson or you adore books featuring races like The Scorpio Races or Ashlords, you will not want to miss this book.
What About You?
Have you read this book? Did you like it as much as I did? I can’t wait to chat about it with you!