Cover Image: The Battle Drum

The Battle Drum

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Member Reviews

I was so excited to see this cover as it looks exactly like I imagined Anoor. If you loved the first book, buckle up! We get to spend much more time with Hassa and learn more about the origins of the Empire. I think I liked it even more than the first book. I won't say much more, but the ending! AH!
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While I appreciate the opportunity to read this but unfortunately I just couldn't get into this one.
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This picks up right where the Final Strife ended. Since this is a sequel, I'm not going into details.
I will just say that I loved it! One of my favorite things about the first book was the world building, and this one expanded on that quite a bit. There is so much going on in lots of different places and I can't wait to see how it all plays out.
A great cast of characters again. I love them all, but I was really loving the parts with Hassa.
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Lets just say this book gives off" I left you alone for 20 minutes! There's a chicken in the tub Timmy is covered in chocolate I hope. Dad is taped to the chair and where are your eyebrows. Ungraspable chaos and shock factors after shock factor I'm sure I gasped and my heart stopped more times than should be legally allowed. Why so much homicide. SOOO much homicide and unaliving. Cant wait for Book 3 because hands may be thrown in ways one does not hope.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Saara El-Arifi has done it again! I read this 500+ page book in just about two days; it didn't drag at all, which a lot of fantasy doorstoppers can do. It felt very quick, had a LOT of twists and turns, and kept me reading at the edge of my seat.

I really loved The Final Strife, so I had high expectations for this book, and it did NOT disappoint. I loved how this sequel expanded on the already impressive and immersive worldbuilding El-Arifi set up in the first book. I loved learning about the world and all the colors of blood that Sylah discovers have existed all along. This book take you on a whirlwind of discoveries and leaves you breathless from all of the stressful and suspenseful situations all of the characters end up in. It's certainly a wild ride.

I of course loved reading Anoor and Sylah again, but Hassa in particular shined in this book. I also LOVED the new character, Nayeli, and her POV chapters - they were arguably my favorite part of the book. El-Arifi has an extraordinary talent for making all of her characters stand out from each other and have very different, memorable voices. 

I can't wait for book three!
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It’s not often I like the second book in a trilogy more than the first but The Battle Drum was spectacular! A few things seemed to fall into place a little conveniently for me however the expansion of the world building and backstories of the characters were so well executed! There were quite a few twists I didn’t see coming AT ALL!
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Sylah, Anoor and Hassa are discovering that the world as they know it is only a shadow of what is really out there. Sylah adventures to a land, that she only recently learned existed, to find answers to the increasing tidewind destruction. Anoor tries to balance leading with the needed change that politics inhibits. Hassa continues to hear, listen and try to navigate the changing threats as the world unfolds. As each follows their story thread, the world expands and a new threat emerges — one that is far larger than the Warden’s Empire and destructive tidewind.

In this second book of the Ending Fire Trilogy, the world as we know it is exponentially increased. We discover that the Warden’s Empire is only a fraction of a much larger society that once was. Led by a fanatic, the greater thread of this story has been progressing for hundreds of years and we are seeing how our three protagonists fit into that puzzle. Overall a good novel that moves the story forward. There were, however, moments where I would hit a lull or detour in the pacing. We are definitely set up for the final installment and I’m looking forward to see how everything pans out for Sylah, Anoor & Hassa. 3 stars.

Review based on an Uncorrected Digital Proof provided by Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine and NetGalley. Thank you!
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Sorry for the late review this book was very good but so so good. This series is honestly written so beautiful one thing i will say about this novel is at times i didnt remember a person because that person didnt get much airtime in the novel HOWEVER the storylines in this novel were so good it had so many. The main leads in this novel make u fall inlove with them and the story the romance the fantasy aspect the history and concept in this novel are amazing. I remember reading the first one and zooming past it and once i picked this one up after the first chapter i was sucked back in this novel was not boring at all.. and usually with long paged novels they have filler chapters NOT THIS ONE. This book had great world building great leads great storylines i cant wait until the last book seriously one of my favorite fantasy series. It touches down on such important topics regarding a kingdom being so divided and the concept by being divided by blood is still so interesting to me and i love this book series so much. Great Great book! You did it again!
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So I probably should’ve read the first book before reading The Battle Drum, but too late now! I enjoyed this a lot. There was a helpful recap or what I thought to be a recap at the beginning of the book. 

This was definitely taking me out of my reading comfort zone, but for one of my first fantasy books, I think this was a great read. 

Definitely an interesting concept to have people judged by the color of their blood, but sooner rather than later blood will no longer determine  person’s status. This is really a story of fighting for freedom and managing without forgiveness. I’m going back to read the first installment of this series, but overall really enjoyed this!
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Thanks to NetGalley & Random House Publishing Group for the early copy in exchange for an honest review.

Wow, I can't wait to read more! Saara El-Arifi truly understands how to write a damn amazing world with fleshed-out characters who make stupid decisions, but you still root for them all the same.

I didn't think I'd like reading Jond's chapters all that much but it was really fascinating to see his worldview and dedication to Sylah. Definitely a really unexpected but pleasant surprise.

Having Anoor and Sylah separated for most of this book was heartbreaking, but really great to see them develop outside of each other.

This series is so lovingly crafted and I can't wait for more! Words don't really do it justice, just read the books. And pay attention to all the details the author pours her heart and soul into. It all comes together... :)
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***4.5 Stars***

How can you end it there!!!! I am always a little nervous about the second book in a new trilogy. Often there is a bit of a slump. While this book started off slow it picked up and the flew. I have so many emotions, sadness, anger, frustration. I need the next book sooo bad! 

As with the first in the series the US artwork is gorgeous! Absolutely love it.

Yes. If you love fantasy, lgbtq, and kick ass well developed characters. 

Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my free and honest review.
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How am I supposed to go on living after that ending??? This is the perfect follow-up to The Final Strife, and if anything, it felt more engaging! From the start, the twists and turns were so unpredictable, and the bridging of past and present is so seamless that I’m still slack-jawed. I can’t wait for the conclusion to this fantastic series!
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I had to take my time with reading this book, not because it was boring or anything so dreadful as that, but because there was so much going on.  Yes there is a lot of information, but oh my goodness the complexity and world building was fantastic.  I loved the expanded perspectives, Hassa continues to be one of my favorite characters from the first book and I am really interested in what happens next for her.  Anoor and Sylah are on their separate journeys after the events of the first book, and oh boy are they in for a wild ride.

This is a highly recommend, 4.5 out of 5 stars!

Thank you to Del Ray and NetGalley for the free eARC, I am voluntarily leaving my honest review.
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Unfortunately, after a year and a half since reading the first book (which I loved), there just wasn’t enough keeping me interested in the *plot* of the story. I still enjoy some of the worldbuilding and the characters, and love to see queer black girls at the center of a high octane fantasy story. Not sure I’ll check out the finale because at this point I’m just not invested.
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The Battle Drum is the much anticipated sequel to The Final Strife, and it picks up right where the first book left off. With Sylah fleeing for her life amongst a group of ghostings, while Anoor and Hassa remain in the Warden’s Empire to try and help their people. 

While The Battle Drum continues to follow our three female MCs from the first book, it also brings in an entirely new storyline and perspective which initially seems at odds with the other characters, however El-Arifi does an amazing job of weaving together all of the threads of the story in a way which keeps you guessing. 

The Battle Drum had a very different tone to The Final Strife, and was honestly not what I expected after the first book, however it was just as wonderful as it’s prequel and I will certainly continue the series when the next book comes out!
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I raved about The Final Strife so my expectations were high. I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed. A lot of times second books is trilogies are fillers. Saara packed this story with so much that there’s no doubt this book is essential and by no means a filler. I loved reading about the journey each of the main characters took and I was equally satisfied with all the twists and revelations.

Thank you to NetGalley for the eARC!
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Sara El-Arifi’s sophomore entry in the “The Ending Fire Trilogy” picks up where it left off in Book 1. I appreciated that she summarized the events in The Final Strife. 

This novel explores new territories, magic systems and folklore. The world building exploded in rich landscapes, perilous locations and ruthless survivors. 

I liked this one. The ending was very good. I didn’t see it coming. It definitely put the pieces in place for the finale and I’m looking forward to reading it. 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC.
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Oh my gosh! That ending! I did not see that coming at all.

All in all, this was a solid book, which for a second book in a trilogy is usually always a good sign. The world from the first book is expanded, the stakes are even higher, and a lot of forward momentum happened. The setup for the next book is rather explosive, and I can't wait to see how the characters handle the fallout from this book.

Very highly recommend!
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We're back with Anoor and Sylah and Hassa and I couldn't be more happy to get my heart stomped on. We get more world-building in this second in the trilogy and I loved the way the author intertwined characters and points of view to give us a well rounded look at the story. You absolutely do not need to worry about second book syndrome here. I was hooked from the very first page and riveted for all 500+ pages.

This series has its roots in Arabian and African mythology and I find that this is something I really enjoy. It's a nice departure from the typical Greek mythology that a lot of books have and it's a lot darker which is appealing. For those who love a morally gray character, I have to push you towards this series. Plus, look at this cover!! I'm ready for book three to come out but alas, the waiting game is on.

Thank you so much to Del Ray (an imprint of Random House) for a gifted ecopy.
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I always feel a bit wary going into a sequel.  Will it live up to the first?  Will it build the story into an even stronger one?  Will the character's grow in accordance with expectations?

I needn't have worried about this one.  I thought this one was just as wonderful as the first.  The worldbuilding is so good that even me - not a seasoned fantasy reader - could picture the places and the people.  Maybe what I love most about this series is the strong women.  Each book has several and a new one was added in this book and woah, what a bad a$$ she is! 

"I look at you and I see a flame, the same fierce and loving woman I have known nearly all my life.  But fire's nature is to burn those around it."

The Battle Drum takes off where book one ended - but gave me just enough back story to remember where we were in our journey.  This book finds Anoor and Sylah separated.  Sylah, the warrior, is off to fight and Anoor stays to fight a more political battle.  At times this book felt very YA - but then at other times it didn't.  The men in this series always play more of a secondary role and honestly - I'm all for it!  It is rare to find the woman making the decisions and fighting the battles - so when I find it - I love it!  There is a very dark element in this one that is developed and strings all the different stories together. I can only imagine where book 3 will go.  I'm already looking forward to it!

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House - Ballentine for the ARC to read and review.  Pub date:  5/23/23.
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