Cover Image: The Battle Drum

The Battle Drum

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Member Reviews

Thank you to the Publisher for the arc! 

what a fantastic sequel! i fell in love with the final strife when i first read it and couldn't put the sequel down.
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- thank you to netgalley and the publisher for an arc to review! 

- this story was perfect. a sequel to the first book, the final strife, that had its own voice and structure. i cannot wait for the third book.
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Amazing second book with lot of new info and some really heart wrenching scences.  I like the raiin city aspect and teh fact that there are more blood colors then we thought.  The part with the blood plasma was gross and eeery.  Also the two types of blood werks one with the stylus and the ball was uniuqe.  eager for book three.
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No second book slump here! This is an action-packed sequel full of twists. Perfect for fans of political, multi-POV fantasy. 

It was wonderful to come back to this fascinating world where blood is used for magic and comes in many colors that determine your place in the world. Anoor, with her blue blood, isn't supposed to be in power, but is due to many twists of fate. She's doing her best to enact change but that comes to a halt when she's falsely accused of murder and given a short amount of time to clear her name. 

Sylah, Anoor's lover, is sadly far away searching for answers and Hassa is discovering new depths to the empire's evil. A secret cult is gaining power and they might just be on the brink of war.
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The Battle Drum by Saara El-Arifi is epic! This is book two in The Ending Fire trilogy and it boasts well-developed characters and sequencing that is perfection.  You'll love the imagery, world-building, and storytelling.   I'm waiting for book three with bated breath!

I received a review copy of this book from the author/publisher through NetGalley for my honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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I did not think I would be pulled into this world even more than The Final Strife but I stand corrected.  It was nice to see Anoor grown into her own and Sylah finding herself more.  Hassa, she's my favorite.  I cannot wait for the next installment in this series.
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This is the Book Two of The Ending Fire Trilogy. I am halfway through and I adored the first book. This world is so unique with such an interesting society structure built on blood color and the past history has been lost and just creating a new truth for the blood colors creating a caste system that doesn’t represent the truth only oppresses major populations. The abuse and beliefs and sacrifices are hard to witness as they struggle to survive. Anoor and Sylah are so fierce and fighting for a new future and answers. Just love this world. Love the vibrant colors and patterns of these covers as well! 

Thank you randomhouse for the e-ARC for my honest and voluntary review.
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I loved this book. It was a great follow up to the first book and really continues to build on the story and the world building that we saw in book 1. 

While I am still not a fan of the main relationship (it seemed so rushed to me in book 1 & in book 2 seems to make no sense because of my feelings about book 1) - I overall like the character development- both good and bad - found in this book.

 There were many moments I asked myself if someone was really making the dumb decision they were making and that to me is a sign of great writing! 

Highly recommend.
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I can honestly say I enjoyed this more than The Final Strife. The writing has improved, I found myself more engaged in the plot, and wow, that ending!
But overall, the series suffers from two insufferable main characters, questionable pacing and lackluster action. I'm hoping that with the improvement in this book, book 3 will hit it out of the park.
5G UC ll 99%
Should you read it? If course I'd the premise sounds good to you. Should you buy it? Idk, maybe get it from the library.
Thanks @netgalley for the ARC! And shoutout to @itsbookswhitme for buddy reading (kinda) with me.
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I really wasn't expecting to love this as much as I did but here we are! It was so angsty and I really thrive on reading through all that pain and tension lol

Our poor Sylah and Anoor really go through it in this book and with them be separated so much, I felt bereft! But I know their reunion will be that much sweeter when we finally get there. This book was full of reveals but Saara wrote it in such a way that only certain characters knew the answers to things while others didn't and you desperately wanted those other characters to know the answers too, it was highly frustrating but at the same time really good too lol. I felt the pacing was spot on, I didn't want to put it down one bit even though it's quite chunky at 560 pages.

Overall really solid second book in this trilogy, I am dying for book three!

Thank you to Netgalley and RandomHouse Publishing Del Ray and Ballentine for this e-arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Battle Drum is the amazing sequel to The Final Strife. The author did a fantastic job with this second novel to keep the character building, would building, and the story line flowing. This book kept my attention just as much as the first one. It was interesting to see more development of the characters and to be pulled deeper into there world. The action scenes were well written. I would recommend reading this book.
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An excellent continuation to the series! Really enjoyed the expansion of the world building as well as the character development that the characters all went through on their different journeys. Can't wait for the next installment in the series. I would recommend this to any epic fantasy lovers.
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The first novel in this series topped many most anticipated book lists last year, and after reading it I understood why. This sequel is just as compelling and doesn’t venture anywhere close to second book syndrome territory. It’s a long one at six hundred pages, but don’t let that number intimidate you. It doesn’t read like a book that length. World-building continues to be exceptional and expands even more.

Of the three leads, Hassa remains my favorite. Most people underestimate her since she’s supposedly a servant, but there’s little that goes on without her knowledge. I liked seeing her interact more time with Anoor this time. Being accused of murder and with a limited amount of time to find the real killer, Anoor has a lot on her plate. She’s remains somewhat naive and trusts too easily – qualities that may lead her in the wrong direction. I still have a love/hate relationship with Sylah. She’s morally gray, which I enjoy, but is also selfish at times, and I had issues with her. But her storyline is no less compelling, and I’m eager to see where it leads her in the next book.

A myriad of plot twists with several hints along the way kept me guessing as I tried to connect the dots, especially the identity of the new POV. I also appreciated the poem at the beginning that summarized the first novel and refreshed my memory.

With epic world-building, well-crafted character arcs, and whiplash-worthy plot twists, this is a series fantasy fans shouldn’t miss.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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El-Arifi is now an auto buy for me.  This series is very quickly becoming one of my favorite fantasy series.  The characters, the politics, the world building all amazing.
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This book starts out being fantastically helpful with a review on the finer points of the first novel, which was something I was worried about remembering since I read The Final Strife an entire year ago. Kudos to the author for how seamlessly that fit in. But also for the fact of just how much I DID remember after all this time, which says a lot about the first book in this series.

Being back with Sylah and Anoor was like slipping back into a comfortable blanket and I don’t know why I was so intimidated to pick up this book and return to this world.

The Battle Drum picks up almost exactly where The Final Strife left off and we immediately jump back into the plot, no slow winding up for this one, but at the same time we were getting more information that we needed and I liked that combination of background vs plot progress a lot.

Sylah is on her way to the mysterious other lands she discovered in book one while Anoor is getting ready for her Warden duties. And all three of us just wanted them to be back together again! Lol

They set out looking for answers to save their world but the secrets and truths they uncover just might mean the end of it.

I don’t want to say anything to spoil the slightest part of this book. The twists and turns were unpredictable and so excellent to experience. Cannot wait for the final book in this trilogy!

4.5 stars rounded up to 5
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Despite being absolutely DEVASTATED by the ending, this is truly everything I could have wanted from the sequel and more. 

Book two of the Ending Fire trilogy takes place pretty much immediately after the end of book one (minus what would have been some travel time). We get right into the thick of it, following all of the original faves: Sylah, Anoor, and Hassa. Each one is handling her own trials, and as the story moves you can see the threads weaving together. Everything is flowing toward the final book in such an interesting way, and I can’t wait to see what happens. 

The Battle Drum doesn’t, in my opinion, suffer from middle book syndrome, and the action feels fresh and purposeful the whole way through. I especially love that TBD delivers answers for a lot of questions that were opened up in TFS, including the prophecy. There’s a lot going on, and El-Arifi delivers it in a way that does right by the complexities she constructed in the story’s groundwork.

If I was on the edge of my seat at the conclusion of TFS, I’m close to imploding based on how TBD ended. I have a lot of feelings. And a lot of hopes for how certain situations might evolve from where we left them. 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention all of the incredible rep in this book. I’m addition to a full BIPOC cast, there’s also plus size rep (Anoor), disability rep (limb differences, mobility aids, sign language), addiction rep, 2SLGBTQ plus rep in a queernormative world, and more. The book tackles very heavy themes though, so definitely check trigger warnings. 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This book has a lot going on & took a turn that I was not expecting so I am anxious to see how they are going to wrap this all up in the next book. In this book, we are introduced to a new character & I just could not get into her chapters until midway through the book. It was so good to see more of the world & learning about different types of magic as well as answering a few questions we had from Book 1. Anoor & Sylah really annoyed me, just as they did in Book 1. Justice for Hassa, she's still my fav & I hope she's getting the cover for Book 3!
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What a cruel, cruel cliff hanger to leave me dangling from! Despite this book being so long, I still flipped the proverbial page (I read the e-arc) expecting more. NEEDING MORE! In fact, my brain is already speculating on what the story will reveal next, but this review isn't for speculation. It's for praising! 
Mood: Murder mystery! That's right Anoor gets to live her favorite zine, and Saara El-Arifi isn't afraid to let her characters fail and suffer. 
Mood: Travel, discover new lands, new histories, and new secrets, all with lover-to-enemy in tow! Sylah is on a journey and without spoilers I enjoyed the author's commitment to Sylah's continued battle with addiction and, again, allowing Sylah to fail while also remaining so dedicated. This back and forth of who Sylah wants to be, could be, fails to be, and who she is and who she is becoming makes her so real. I cannot wait to see who she becomes.
Finally Hassa: She is my favorite ghostling and probably my favorite character out of the whole series. If you ever need a character to look at and say "she proves that anything can be done and any hardship can be endured" it's Hassa. She is bold and brave and I love her most! Whatever empire is pulled down and whatever is built in its place, I want Hassa ruining it!
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This was one of my most anticipated 2023 reads after The Final Strife became a massive hit for me in 2022. 

The Battle Drum FULLY delivered on that anticipation. Somehow the worldbuilding was even more complex and beautiful than TFS, the triple-narratives in the book were easy to follow (usually I struggle to follow multi-POV books!), and the lore behind the world was deeply fascinating. 

Then we get to Sylah and Anoor's actual lives during this book. DAMN. This book is a WILD RIDE. 

10/10, not at all surprised this was five stars for me. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the free advance copy.
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I was so lucky to receive an e-galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Random House so much!  This book is so so good! I absolutely loved it!
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