The Stolen Kingdom by Bethany Atazadeh (2019)
Updated: Jun 18, 2020
Arie is a princess with a big secret and a big problem. A problem that could ruin her kingdom, and a secret that could cost her her life.
Her secret is that she has a magical Jinni gift that she inherited from her mother’s line; a gift she ought not to have – at least according to the rules of her culture. While noblemen can exercise their magical Jinni talents, a woman found with them is ‘severed’ from her gift, and dies soon after. Arie's other big problem is that a neighbouring ruler is using his Jinni gift to manipulate and control everyone around him, and now he’s in Arie’s kingdom manipulating the mind of her father, the king. If her beguiled father has his way, Arie will be married off to this very nasty man, thus handing over the kingdom to him.
Arie’s only way of escape is to flee. Finding herself alone, vulnerable and hungry on the city streets she falls in with Kadin, a surprisingly honest thief and his crew of men. Posing as a Jinni-hunter, she seeks to play them along just as they play out their confidence tricks on others. But why does Kadin want to find a Jinn so badly? And what will he do when he finds out the identity of Arie? And, oh dear, Kadin also happens to be rather handsome, as well as good-hearted, so things get really complicated when Arie and Kadin start having those kinds of feelings.
Mysterious talismans, a magical lamp, a powerful Jinni, heists, secrets, and plots of revenge become Arie’s new world. A world where crime is dealt with ruthlessly, and where she has fallen in with criminals. Somehow she must find a way to free her father’s mind and her kingdom from the grip of a usurper, and she doesn’t know who is safe to trust, and how powerful her enemy really is.
This was a fast-paced adventure, with an undercurrent of sweet romance, and lots of colourful characters and settings. It's the first in a series, so I’m guessing that some of the characters, particularly Arie and Kadin are going to show up again. A fun start to a new series!