Serpent Of The Sands by Vashti Hardy

Publication Date: 11 May 2023

The Blurb

A leap of faith in a race against time.

When Princess Ganzorig’s uncle falls gravely ill, she sneaks out of the Citadel to find a powerful cure, said to be guarded by the Serpent of the Sands. But is it only a story? Is she chasing false hope? But the further Gan travels, the more secrets are revealed – and the more she questions everything she believes…

Cover illustration by George Ermos

The Review

Having loved every moment of adventure, I was heartbroken at the end of The Brightstorm Twins Trilogy, so to be back in that world again is a pleasure and a thrill – and one that certainly didn’t disappoint. You could read Serpents Of The Sands as a stand alone, but you will miss out on so much nuance and three superb books, so I’d heartily recommend you start at the beginning, with Brightstorm.

From the very beginning, we are drawn into a gripping story of disappearances, deceit and discovery, and a race against time to stop a deadly disease with a new lead taking centre stage.

Princess Ganzorig’s appetite for adventure was well and truly whetted in Firesong, and she is becoming increasingly frustrated at feeling trapped within the Citadel when we meet her scaling the walls of her home. Her need for action sits at odds with her Uncle Batzorig and Temur, who expect her to help with the administrative duties of running the Citadel.

With only a fairytale for guidance, once she gets her wish to seek out the Serpent Of The Sands, we see her team up with a fantastic sapient bursting with character, and a stranger from Lontown with much to learn about the world he finds himself in. As their trust and friendship grows, so does the danger they find themselves in. Teamwork and tenacity shine as they overcome obstacles together.

I loved discovering more about Nadvaaryn – it’s sweeping sandscape hiding treasures for only the bravest adventurers to discover. But it was the island that lies off it’s coast that really wowed, but I will let you discover that gem for yourself.

Once again, Vashti has created characters the worm their way under your skin in a world that feels tangible as you read. Every twist and turn is carefully crafted to heighten suspense and leave you gnawing at your nails as you wonder how in the Great Wide our intrepid explorers can possibly triumph. There are also issues simmering beneath the story that resonate with reality – the ability to spread misinformation in a bid to divide and set people against each other, and the need to control others for personal gain stand out.

Having yet to meet all eight super sapients, and with the HAC still going strong, I am hopeful of returning to The Great Wide again in the future.

Huge thanks to Kiran and Scholastic for sending me a finished copy.


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