Children’s Literature Review: The Theft Of Sunlight by Intisar Khanani


INTISAR Khanani’s beloved fantasy series, Dauntless Path, which started with Thorn, introduced young adult readers to a new kind of fairy tale detailing the struggles of Princess Alyrra and her people.

The long-awaited next installment in this captivating exploration of class, secrets, and all the best things that can be done with the conventions of the fantasy genre doesn’t disappoint.

As it follows up on Thorn’s plot, takes place in the same world, and is definitely a sequel, there is a shift in perspective from the novel, presenting us with a new character with different issues and causes that on his journey to do the right thing for friends, family, and the kingdom as a whole comes across characters and references that readers will remember from the first book, especially Princess Alyrra’s involvement.

The two stories, although separate, are undoubtedly linked, deepening an understanding and interest in the world.

In a small town in the kingdom of Menaiya lives 18-year-old Amraeya Ni Ansarim or Rae for her friends, whose family leads seemingly simple and peaceful lives, raising and selling horses.

However, her sister Niya is one of the blessed and cursed few with magical abilities and the family therefore hides her from the authorities lest she be taken from them and put to work. All over Menaiya, children have disappeared at the hands of perfectly coordinated and invisible villains suspected of selling those they enslaved.

Rae herself was born with a different foot shape, which often made walking more difficult and resulted in teasing from many in her town. She succeeds and has access to a shoemaker who knows how to alleviate the difficulty and the pain somewhat. Rae never considered herself a heroine.

That belief must change, however, and quickly, when her best friend’s younger sister is taken away by the Snatchers and no one seems to know what to do about it. Any children who manage to escape are cursed by The Darkness, a disease that slowly destroys their minds if they attempt to relate what happened to them.

It haunts Rae but despite his rage, the kidnappers remain in the shadows.

However, when her cousin Melly, after marrying a lord, invites Rae to court and gets a job with Princess Alyrra as her wedding approaches, everything changes.

High society politics don’t attract her until she finds out how much more there is to it all. Her friendship with the princess and their mutual desire to stop The Snatchers put her on an exciting journey full of whispered conversations, all manner of magic, intrigue and twists.

I would recommend this book to teens looking for a fantasy series that both recalls classic fairy tale tropes while still managing to tell a fresh, daring, and unique story.


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