ARC Review: Sisters of the Snake by Sasha and Sarena Nanua

A lost princess. A dark puppet master. And a race against time—before all is lost.

Princess Rani longs for a chance to escape her gilded cage and prove herself. Ria is a street urchin, stealing just to keep herself alive.

When these two lives collide, everything turns on its head: because Ria and Rani, orphan and royal, are unmistakably identical.

A deal is struck to switch places—but danger lurks in both worlds, and to save their home, thief and princess must work together. Or watch it all fall into ruin.

Deadly magic, hidden temples, and dark prophecies: Sisters of the Snake is an action-packed, immersive fantasy that will thrill fans of The Crown’s Game and The Tiger at Midnight. 

It’s always so much fun to discover desi debut authors and get to read and talk about their books in advance. And that’s exactly my feeling tonight after finishing this book – delight.

The author-sister duo really managed to create a very entertaining and engaging story here, which got its hook in me very quickly. Once I started, there was no way I could stop because there’s almost a breakneck pace, and with so much happening in every chapter and with revelation after revelation; all I wanted to do was read the next chapter and find out what more was gonna happen. The writing is very easy to follow along and not overly descriptive – the kind of writing style I usually prefer – and I found myself totally immersed.

But it is also not without some flaws. We get some history about the magic wielding masters and how the kingdoms came to be in the current state, but other than that there isn’t much world building. However, there is scope for a lot more expansive world as well as different kinds of magic and I’m excited to see how the authors will achieve this in the sequel. While the quick pacing makes for a thrilling read, it also means that sometimes things happen too quickly and without any explanation, leaving us a tad bit dissatisfied. I also thought there were many conflicts in the story that were resolved too conveniently, which might really annoy a more discerning and critical reader than me.

But the heart of this book are it’s characters. Rani is a sheltered princess and all she wants is the freedom to live on her terms and also prove to the king that she is capable of ruling. Ria is a thief on the streets whose every day is filled with the struggle for survival. These two sisters couldn’t be more different on surface, but I loved how the authors ensured that we could understand their deeper feelings and realize that they aren’t so different underneath. After they both swap places, they both realize what is it that they actually want to do with their life, how they can contribute towards the welfare of their people, and how it is possible to subvert one’s destiny. I really loved how much they came to trust each other and their bond felt special, but I won’t deny that it was a bit too quick in execution.

The side characters also play major roles here, especially in furthering along the characters of the sisters. Through the reserved but sweet Saeed and the absolutely delightful and strong Aditi, Ria learns to see the faults in the palace and also how to trust them enough to form a team and uncover some truths. On the other hand, Amir is a streetsmart thief who gives Rani the feeling of true friendship and more; Sanya, Jas and Irfan all together making her realize the bitter truth about her father’s brutal rule and understand what her next steps should be for the sake of her people.

The villain also cut an intriguing figure, not just a caricature but a power hungry person who has only learnt the importance of pain and power through their upbringing and use those too as tools to achieve their deranged dreams.

In the end, I was left quite surprised by the ending. It’s not exactly a cliffhanger but it’s a cool twist and I’m sure the next book will be interesting. And if you are someone who loves YA fantasies with good friendships, budding romances, a strong sisterly bond, and a world where magic may be the doom or liberation – then I think you should give this debut a try. It’s not a complicated story and might even feel too simplistic at times, but it is nevertheless very captivating, and you will enjoy your journey through these pages.

PS: Thank you to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for providing me with this advance copy. All opinions expressed here are unbiased and truly mine.

2 thoughts on “ARC Review: Sisters of the Snake by Sasha and Sarena Nanua

Add yours

  1. Brilliant review! I really liked the way you summed it all up without giving any spoilers, been seeing a lot of buzz surrounding this book so will definitely be adding it to my TBR. Thanks for sharing! x

    Liked by 1 person

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