A bloodthirsty cult of telepaths, human sacrifice, and a world of glass.
Naheli’s Sacrifice, by Rabea Scholz, is a haunting coming of age dark fantasy novel with a literary pace.
The book revolves around a caste-based society that is determined by psychic ability. The empaths, like Naheli, live in a glass tower and only communicate telepathically. They eschew color and anything perceived as emotional.
Outside the tower, however, is where the non-empaths live. Non-empaths speak out loud, wear bright colors, and aren’t afraid to express their feelings.
Though the empaths are the dominant class, Naheli has a major problem.
She is about to die.
Seven days to live. Four rules to follow. One Sacrifice to make.
Through cold glass walls, Naheli looks down on the altar of the ocean goddess where she will die in seven days. She doesn’t mind much; the empaths have wiped her mind so clean that she hardly remembers what she once longed for. Only sometimes does she think of a colour in secret, or hum a forbidden tune.
Then her only remaining friend, the only one they haven’t found yet, hands her a letter that changes everything.
~excerpt from official Amazon book blurb
If you’re searching for a slow-burn read that delves deeply into the relationships between characters, this is the book for you. These are the kinds of questions that drive the plot forward:
- Will Naheli’s last surviving friend be discovered by the empaths and Forgotten (killed)?
- Why is it so difficult for Naheli to obey to her elders and the Goddess?
- How will she produce her required final two acts of magic?
- Will the Goddess reject her sacrifice?
- Is this sacrifice even what the Goddess wants?
Naheli’s Sacrifice is Rabea Scholz’ debut novel and showcases her exquisite prose and colorful imagination. If you’re a fan of dystopian worlds and beautifully crafted tragic myths, you’ll definitely want to read this.
Spoiler Free, Guaranteed
At the opening of the book, Naheli is in the glass Spire interacting with her empath mentor. Here, Naheli telepathically expresses some of her initial longings for sound and color, which her mentor finds distressing. When the meeting is adjourned, Naheli sneaks out of the Spire and wanders over to the non-empath side of the island to visit her last friend, Thilkhan.
Since Thilkhan cannot hear her thoughts, Naheli is forced to speak out loud, a process which takes some effort for her. During their conversation, Thilkhan reveals that he has received a message for her. He hands her a sky-blue envelope holding a letter written in a sloppy hand. What shocks her more than anything is the identity of the sender.
Forgotten feelings begin to surface, and Naheli remembers what it is like to cry, to laugh. To love. But her time is running out, and with the Sacrifice only days away, she sets out to solve the mystery of the letter — and discovers that most of her life has been a lie, and there may be some things worth living for.
~excerpt from official Amazon book blurb
Content Warning Note: If you are triggered by violence against women, especially involving restraints, this may not be the book for you.
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Ditrie Marie Bowie (née Sanchez) is a Puerto Rican in British Columbia, Canada who writes fiction. She is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) and co-editor of Strange Stories to Tell in the Park. Bowie is also the creator of the webcomic, This Writer Can’t Draw. A classically trained pianist and former educator, she has lived in three different countries spanning two continents. And she met her spouse in a video game.
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