The Demon Race by Alexandria Warwick
Synopsis From Goodreads:
A race across the desert.
An unimaginable prize.
It occurs once every thousand years: the Demon Race. A test of will and strength, it is a race across the Saraj, a fight for the prize of a lifetime. And it is the key to Namali Hafshar’s freedom.
When shy, seventeen-year-old Namali learns of her arranged marriage, she flees home and enters the Demon Race for the chance to change her fate. But to compete, she must cross the Saraj on a daeva, a shadow demon that desires its own reward: to infect her soul with darkness.
Namali soon learns the desert holds more dangers than meets the eye. The only person she can trust is Sameen, a kind competitor seeking his own destiny. As her affection for him grows, however, so too does the darkness in her heart.
In this race of men and demons, only one can win. But the price of winning might be more than Namali is willing to pay.
I received an e-ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
Reading the synopsis mostly sold me for this book. Desert race? Diverse characters? Crazy adventure? Sign me up! The premise was intriguing enough. It sounded like something I’d truly enjoy, so I was more than eager to start reading.
Unfortunately, reading the first few chapters was kind of hard to get into.
While the concept behind it the book was great, I think the execution was lacking, somewhat. Reading the book was like looking at a stunning view, but sadly, you don’t have your glasses on and instead of soaking in all that beauty, everything’s just muddled and blurred. That’s kind of what I felt while reading the book.
I tried to soldier through it. Sadly, I’m stuck at 19% after a couple of weeks of going at it on and off. As someone who can devour at least 4 chapters during a single bus ride, I kind of felt ashamed of myself, so I went on a deep-dive to try and examine why I just can’t seem to get into this story.
First, the intro didn’t feel all that compelling. The first few lines of the prologue? Didn’t reel me in, didn’t leave me wanting to flip the page (or scroll further, in this case). I found the conversations stilted and not fluid.
Next, I felt like there was an imbalance between description and exposition. There was too much showing where it needed straight-forward telling, and vice versa. It spoonfed you things wanted to figure out by yourself but it also left the really important bits in the dark. Does that make sense? For example, the narrator kept telling me what Namali felt, but didn’t fully describe the Demon Race itself. I know that the whole story is set in the desert, but there were times where I couldn’t get my bearings. There’s too much descriptions in some parts and in others, you just can’t seem to get what’s going on. This made my progress slower.
Lastly, I found the pacing painfully slow. When you add a lot of introspection on top of the blurry world-building and storytelling, it kind of makes you want to take a break from the book, too.
All in all, I think the premise of the book was great, but I didn’t find the actual storytelling that compelling. To be fair, I’m only 6 chapters in. I’ve already finished 2 books (The Hazel Wood and An Ember in the Ashes) whilst on break from this one, so maybe I’ll give it another shot one of these days. I’ll definitely update this post in the near future, so stay tuned!