The Daughters of Izdihar

Harper Voyager. (Alamaxa Duology, Bk. 1). Jan. 2023. 384p. ISBN 9780063114746. $28.99. FANTASY
DEBUT In Alamaxa, privileged princess Nehal and working-class Giorgina have two things in common: their rights as adults to determine their own fates are completely subjugated, and neither has been permitted training in the element-based magic with which they were both born—because they are women. By different paths, they make their way to the Daughters of Izdihar, a clandestine organization fighting for equal rights. That political agenda arouses the ire of traditionalists, and a neighboring empire is using the resulting upheaval as cover for their own agenda—subjugating their enemies through misinformation or war—all while taking out Alamaxa’s best hope of victory before it ever has a chance to fully flower.
VERDICT Elsbai’s debut feminist fantasy, inspired by modern Egyptian history, provides an in-depth exploration of a society on the edge of revolution and war. The fight for women’s rights is centered here, but it is clear that more is yet to come in book two of this projected duology.
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