Book Tour: Review of Spice Road by Maiya Ibrahim

It is always a pleasure to be apart of TBR and Beyond’s book tours. This month I am excited to review Spice Road (The Spice Road Trilogy #1) by Maiya Ibrahim. Check out the full book tour here!


Content Warning: politics, colonialism

The first book in an epic fantasy series for fans of Sabba Tahir, Hafsah Faizal and Elizabeth Lim, set in an Arabian-inspired land. Raised to protect her nation from the monsters lurking in the sands, seventeen-year-old Imani must fight to find her brother whose betrayal is now their greatest threat.

In the hidden desert city of Qalia, secret spice magic awakens affinities in those who drink the misra tea. With an affinity for iron, seventeen-year-old Imani wields a dagger like no other warrior, garnering her the reputation as the next greatest Shield for battling the dangerous djinn, ghouls, and other monsters that lurk in the sands beyond city limits.

Her reputation has been overshadowed, however, by her brother who tarnished the family name after he was discovered stealing their nation’s coveted spice – a tell-tale sign of magical obsession. He disappeared soon after, believed to have died beyond the Forbidden Wastes, and leaving Imani reeling with both betrayal and grief.

But when Imani uncovers evidence her brother may be alive and spreading their nation’s magic beyond the desert, she strikes a deal with the Council to find him and bring him back to Qalia before he can reveal the city’s location. Accompanied by Qayn, a roguish but handsome djinni, and Taha, a powerful beastseer whose magical talents are matched only by his arrogance, they set out on their mission.

Imani will soon discover there are many secrets that lie beyond the Forbidden Wastes – and in her own heart – but will she find her brother before his betrayals endanger the fate of all of Qalia?

In this epic and action-packed fantasy, one young heroine navigates the treacherous road between protecting the ones you love and staying loyal to the place you call home.

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My Thoughts

My interested in Spice Road started with the beautiful cover. I knew right away this was a book I had to read, once I read the summary I was beyond sold. The idea of an Arabian-inspired spice magic story about a strong female character was a story I needed to know more about. Let’s cut to the chase, you need to read Spice Road.

I was amazed by the writing and lush world. From the first few pages I was sold and knew that Spice Road would likely be my top read for January. While reading I was reminded of Strange the Dreamer, The Book of Tea Duology, and Elizabeth Lim’s work. If you enjoy those title, you will likely enjoy Spice Road. Within the first few chapters Ibrahim introduces the magic system, a spice used in tea that enhances one’s powers. The power that one can wield various person to person. I loved this aspect of the magic in Spice Road.

Spice Road is told from Imani’s perspective. I found this refreshing as I do not enjoy multiple perspective story telling. Imani, uses iron based magic. As stated above, one’s magic qualities are awakened and trained using a tea. Imani is known as one of the best fighters and a fierce female character. She hunts the monsters lurking in the darkness and sand, djinni. While Imani has these amazing qualities she can be reckless, but she grows throughout the novel. I am interested to see how she changes as the series progresses. Imani’s brother, Atheer, is missing. Atheer is accused of stealing a scared item and is lost or dead in the Forbidden Waste. Imani sets out on a quest to find her Atheer after she discovers he might be alive. Along the way Imani discovers life changing secrets, which you will have to read to find out. I promise, Spice Road is worth every minute of your time.

By far my favorite part of Spice Road is the setting and world-building. I enjoyed the Arabian-inspired elements as well as the magic system. Overall, Spice Road is a killer debut. You will not be disappointed if you decide to snag a copy. I cannot wait to read Maiya Ibrahim future work.

About the Author

Maiya Ibrahim is the debut author of SPICE ROAD, publishing January 24, 2023 from Delacorte Press and Hodder & Stoughton. She graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Technology Sydney. When she isn’t writing, reading, or spending time with her family, she enjoys video games, gardening, and expanding her collection of rare trading cards. She lives in Sydney, Australia.

She is represented by Peter Knapp of Park & Fine Literary and Media, Claire Wilson of RCW Literary, and Mary Pender-Coplan of United Talent Agency.

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