The Stardust Thief – Chelsea Abdullah

The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah
Published by Orbit on May 17, 2022
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy
Buy on Amazon

Neither here nor there, but long ago…
Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal who, with the help of her jinn bodyguard, hunts and sells illegal magic. When she saves the life of a cowardly prince, she draws the attention of his powerful father, the sultan, who blackmails her into finding an ancient lamp that has the power to revive the barren land—at the cost of sacrificing all jinn.
With no choice but to obey or be executed, Loulie journeys with the sultan’s oldest son to find the artifact. Aided by her bodyguard, who has secrets of his own, they must survive ghoul attacks, outwit a vengeful jinn queen, and confront a malicious killer from Loulie’s past. And, in a world where story is reality and illusion is truth, Loulie will discover that everything—her enemy, her magic, even her own past—is not what it seems, and she must decide who she will become in this new reality.
Inspired by stories from One Thousand and One NightsThe Stardust Thief weaves the gripping tale of a legendary smuggler, a cowardly prince, and a dangerous quest across the desert to find a legendary, magical lamp.

I believe I have mentioned this in a previous review, but I will say it again: As an adult, fantasy is a hard genre for me. My imagination may be vivid and overreactive, but I struggle to step into other authors’ worlds. Some fantasy novels, I have…tolerated. Others, I have disliked. Even rarer, though, do I find a series in which I can lose myself in the first chapter. That was The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah. Abdullah transported me into her tale. She did not have to drag me along, kicking and screaming like a child throwing a tantrum. Oh no, if anything, I yanked on her characters’ hands and tried to force them to their fates faster than they probably would have liked. For the first time in 2023, I found a book that made me want to awake past when I should have.

Loulie, Mazen, Qadir, and Aisha—a team no one would expect. Each one has secrets. Demons that chase them both literally and figuratively. Together, they must find a magical relic in the middle in a sea of sand. As the pages turn, the dangers turn life-threatening. Secrets once held tight to the heart become revealed. Excitement. Betrayal. High stakes. Mystery. Vivid, beautifully painted imagery. Emotional storms. The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah has it all; it reminded me how stunning the fantasy genre can be. The novel reminded me of the old Disney movie, Aladdin, but far better. A better villain. Better plot. Better characters. Better everything.

I started The Stardust Thief in the early morning hours, long before the sun rose. Before I knew what happened, I had read half the novel, and my stomach was angrily growling. My dog was whining, staring at me and wagging her tail. I fell asleep with Abdullah’s world on my mind. The next morning, I woke up and dove right back into it. Chelsea Abdullah’s story swallowed me whole. When I hit the final page, I screamed inside. In a way, The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah concludes. She finishes portions of the characters’ lives. On the other hand, my heart jumped into my throat at realizing the book was over. It ends in a cliffhanger. If it had not been before 7:00AM, I would have screamed…and I probably would have woken up the whole block.

When can I have book two?