Spice Road by Maiya Ibrahim

Spice Road (The Spice Road Trilogy, #1)

by Maiya Ibrahim


Control the spice. Control the kingdom.

'An epic, sand-swept adventure' Ayana Gray

In the hidden desert city of Qalia, secret spice magic awakens the affinities of those who drink the misra tea. With her affinity for iron, seventeen-year-old Imani can wield a dagger like no other - and for that she has gained a reputation as the next greatest Shield, battling djinn, ghouls, and the other monsters spreading across the sands.

But ever since her brother was discovered stealing their nation's coveted spice - a tell-tale sign of magical obsession - and disappeared into the deadly Forbidden Wastes, Imani's reputation has been in tatters. Despite Atheer's betrayal, there isn't a day that goes by that she doesn't grieve him.

Then Imani discovers signs her brother may be alive, and spreading their nation's magic to outsiders. Desperate to find him - and to protect him - she joins the mission sent to hunt him down. Accompanied by Taha, a powerful beastseer, who enthrals and enrages her in equal measure, Imani soon discovers that many secrets lie beyond the Forbidden Wastes - and in her own heart.

Caught between her duty to her nation, and her love for her brother, Imani must decide where her loyalties lie . . . before it is too late.

The first in an epic fantasy series for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Hafsah Faizal and Elizabeth Lim, set in an Arabian-inspired land.

'An enchanting world of tea magic and desert monsters ' Amélie Wen Zhao

'A gripping fantasy adventure that YA readers are going to love!' Lynette Noni

'Soul-stirring' London Shah

Reviewed by Quirky Cat on

4 of 5 stars


Book Summary:

Imani is seventeen and one of the best fighters, destined to be perhaps the best Shield in generations. As such, she is sworn to kill every djinn and monster that crosses her path – no matter what.

Yet Imani can't run from her past. She can't pretend that her brother didn't disappear. Worse, he left in a situation that left his reputation in disgrace, leaving a stain on her family. When presented with the chance to bring her brother home and set things right, Imani doesn't hesitate, even if that means allowing a djinn to live.

My Review:

It's safe to say that I've been looking forward to reading Spice Road. It promised to be an Arabian-inspired fantasy with lots of great tropes (enemies to lovers, potential love triangles, etc.). Overall, I would say that it is a solid read – absolutely worth checking out.

Though it didn't quite live up to my expectations, I will blame Imani for that. For a gifted fighter, she sure doesn't act like it. Her decisions made me want to scream, which unfortunately did affect the relaxing nature of this read.

Still, I did enjoy the magical worlds, the djinni, and the exploration that came from a quest to find family. Likewise, the undertones in Spice Road make it even more compelling, so I appreciated all of that.

Young Adult Fantasy
Arabian-inspired Fantasy
Enemies to Loves Trope

Trigger Warnings:
Missing family

Thanks to Hodder & Stoughton and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Reading updates

  • Started reading
  • 27 January, 2023: Finished reading
  • 27 January, 2023: Reviewed