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Saara El-Arifi Books In Order

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Publication Order of The Final StrifeTrilogy Books

The Final Strife (2022)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Battle Drum (2023)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Faebound (2024)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Saara El-Arifi is a fantasy author brought up in the Middle East before her family relocated from the Abu Dhabi desert to the English Peak District hills. The change of location made her learn what it was to be black in a white society.
Saara knew she could tell stories from when she first told her lie. Her first novel, The Final Strife, is the debut inspired by Ghanaian folklore and Arabian myths.

The Final Strife
The Final Strife is the debut in a trilogy with the same name. Sylah grew up in resistance, constantly being told that she would start a revolution to free the empire from the red-blooded ruling classes’ tyranny.

Unfortunately, the spark went off on the day she witnessed her family getting killed in front of her. However, her flame of hope may be rekindled since she wasn’t born to sparkle but to burn bright. Now it’s up to her to either rule the empire or destroy it. Anoor has always been told how she’s no one but rather a disappointment by the only person who mattered to her: her mother, an influential leader (Warden of Strength) in the empire.

However, when Sylah and Anoor cross paths, the heat between them could also affect the entire kingdom and their hearts.

Hassa explores her world unnoticed by upper cases, so he’s aware of what it means for one to be invisible. However, invisibility has some importance, such as hiding some dangerous secrets that can spark a revolution. Therefore, their unity creates a storm when she joins forces with Anoor and Sylah. Sylah helps Anoor train for the competition

As the empire starts trials of combat and skill to find its new leaders, the stage is about to have blood flowing, powers shifting, and cities burning.

The Final Strife has themes of love, rebellion, and the courage it takes for one to stand up to tyranny featuring three women whose journey will keep you hooked to the last page. The story is set in an extremely hierarchical society where people are divided based on their blood colors. Embers rule with red blood while oppressing everyone below them. It’s the blood of magic, the elite, and of control.

Dusters have blue blood, the low working class, and the poor, while Ghostings have translucent blood and have their tongues and hands cut as infants. It’s the blood of servants and the less visible. The Empire rules by blood; red is the blood of the elite20 years ago, a duster rebellion stole Ember infants and replaced them with their own. Sylah is now mourning the loss of her family when the resistance was addicted to drugs and fighting to survive. Soon things are about to change.
Sylah is from Ember, Anoor- Duster, and Hass from Ghosting. The twist is that Sylah and Anoor grew up in the wrong caster as Sylah is among the twelve-year-old Ember children switched by the rebel Sandstorm for Duster children like Anoor.
Most of the problematic Duster children were found out and killed, but Anoor’s Ember mother could not withstand admitting that the Sandstorm had broken into her home, so she chose to keep it a secret. Sylah was raised by Sandstorm to help lead the revolution and topple the Embers.

However, Sandstorm was discovered, and everyone else apart from Sylah and her Duster mother was believed dead. Sylah used her martial training to earn a living as a cage fighter, but she had no hope of fulfilling her purpose. She was a forged weapon to bring down the red-blooded Embers’ governance.

Sylah became a drug addict and got addicted to Joba seeds. In much need for money, she gets into Anoor’s bedroom, feeling that everything Anoor owned should have been her birthright. However, it turns out that Anoor is not as weak as Sylah thought and ends up imprisoning Sylah.

Four wardens, Warden of Knowledge, Warden of Truth, Warden of Dutyf, and Warden of Strength, rule the empire. After every ten years, the Aktibar trials are conducted to choose the next disciple for a warden. Sylah’s mission has been to enter the Aktibar for the Warden of Strength. When she misses the deadline, Anoor helps her train for it. All can join the Aktibar, but only one is destined to win as it requires great skill and ingenuity. Anoor is used to being underestimated, hated, and abused due to her low blood.

Sylah believes what Sandstorm told her that all Embers are evil. Anoor, on the other hand, has a sheltered life but is curious, and through Sylah, she learns more about the destitution and privilege of the outside world.
They learn about each other and become better while learning the truth about the empire they never thought would become possible.

Hassan has always known everything that’s going on and is the most mature of the three. She doesn’t judge people depending on the color of their blood and believes that change can only come through all parts of the empire united. Hassa is the bravest and one with the most tragic history.

Can Anoor win the Aktiba? If she does, can things change for the best?

Through the novel, Saara explores themes of oppression, social class, violence, and things that divide people. The layered world-building is unpredictable and intricate; plotting with entertaining twists and turns keeps the reader guessing. There is also slow-burn romance, actions, outstanding voice with lots of details, and realistic characters to keep the reader at the edge of their seat.

Saara El-Arifi created the novel with great passion, thrill, sensitivity, confidence, originality, and skill using her extraordinary storytelling talent. It’s an epic fantasy story addressing racial themes through the characters’ voices.
The story is set in a world where people are grouped based on blood and color. El-Arifi does an excellent job setting the story’s scene, world-building, and foundation. There is an excellent balance between magic and fantasy with intrigue, politics, reality, love, loss, and change of promise as the author weaves the story together.

The cast of characters is expansive and intricate, creating flawed and realistic characters. El-Arifi weaves together compelling and complex characters with perfect precision. The novel shows varied depictions of black womanhood. The reader gets to see the complicated mother/daughter relationships. Black women are depicted as, , spoiled heiresses, fighters , abuse survivors and sullen heroes in various roles.

The author also shows black non-binary people and men existing in their complex lives.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Saara El-Arifi

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