Race the Sands by Sarah Beth Durst

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset“Call it what it is: monster racing.
Forget that, and you die.”

In Becar, who you are in this life determines your fate in the next. The purest souls, known as the augurs, can read auras and see your path; who you are and who you will become. For the darkest of souls there is only one outcome: to be reborn as a kehok, a monster, and that is all you will ever be, with no hope of redemption. The only way to ever be reborn as anything other than a kehok is to win the Races. Tamra was a top rider before being sidelined by an injury and becoming a professional trainer. After a miscalculation led to tragedy on the track and damaged her reputation, she is in desperate need of funds to prevent her daughter from being taken away. In a search for a new kehok and rider, she comes across Raia, who is running away from domineering parents and a cruel fiancé. The prize money from winning the Races would mean freedom for Raia and a secure future for Tamra and her daughter. With plenty of obstacles in their path, they embark on achieving the impossible and changing their future, with a new kehok that can lead them to victory.

Race the Sands is a standalone fantasy novel that completely hit the mark for me. From the story to the characters and the world created by the author, I was along for the journey from start to gripping finish. I am a reader who is very much drawn to character focused novels, and here we are introduced to a whole array of characters that leap off the page. Tamra and Raia in particular are incredibly compelling and I couldn’t help but feel invested in their story and outcome. I was also pleasantly surprised by a certain character who did not go the expected route in their particular role, which was refreshing. The concept of monster racing is especially intriguing, along with the incredibly rich fantasy world of Becar that completely captured my attention resulting in a “just one more chapter” kind of read.

Sarah Beth Durst is the author of one of my favourite fantasy series, The Queens of Renthia. Everything I loved about those books is present in Race the Sands, and shows her incredible skill of creating rich fantasy worlds, charismatic characters, and weaving them into a compelling story.

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