Reviews And Awards
2011 Blog Tour
Some quotes from the reviews:
"This is the first Historical Fiction book I read and wow, it did not disappoint."
"laced with danger and adventure"
"a vivid setting and a main character who was an absolute joy to read about"
"a richly written account of a princess's harrowing adventure along the Frankincense Trail."
"a magical journey of discovery"
"The whole book was absolutely stunning in the visuals"
"This is a tale filled with adventure, danger, mystery and a budding romance."
"I cannot recommend this one enough… the story will pull you in and not let you go till the very end."
"I read the book in one afternoon as I couldn't put it down."
"There is an element of unpredictability that kept me hooked."
"The Frankincense Trail has an amazing setting and the descriptions are fabulous."
"Alia is a fascinating and strong character"
"The strength of the MC, Alia, is amazing; I found her to be refreshing and empowering."
"Alia was wonderful! I loved her spirit, her determination. For a princess, she was pretty badass: brave and good with a sword."
"Jody Kihara has created two fascinating characters in Alia and Kardal; their chemistry and interaction keeps the reader engrossed in the story."
"The characters all felt so real. I felt like I got to know Alia like a sister. I wanted a best friend like Safiy. I was desperate to know more about Kardal."
"The scenes were so vivid! I was transported to the point where I could feel the heavy heat of the desert sun beating down, or the parched state of the travellers as the water from the skin bottles trickled to a stop. I heard the zing of the swords, the echoing of the horse's hoof steps against the palace walls, and the guttural shouts of the men in their foreign tongues."
"It felt like I'd travelled back in time. It was so very vibrant that I could feel it, feel the book, the place, the people... I loved every page, every moment."
"The descriptions of the towns and landscapes were stunning. The spices, the colours, the sand: I could see it all in my head, smell it, feel it. Vibrant, bright, near overwhelming. It made me want to grab a time machine so I could be there."
"I loved, loved, loved The Frankincense Trail. It was unlike anything I'd read before. Once I'd finished, I just wanted to dive back into the story."
"I would LOVE to see a sequel to this book!"
"I highly recommend The Frankincense Tour for readers who enjoy YA, historical fiction, adventure and a little mystery sprinkled in for good measure."
"I will count this book as one of my favourites for this year."
Thanks again to all the bloggers for the reviews, interviews, and guest post spots; and thanks to Lightning Book Promotions for organizing the tour. You can read the full reviews here:
Nov 1 – One Book Shy of a Full Shelf
Nov 3 – In between Writing and Reading
Nov 4 – Fictitious Musing (with interview)
Nov 5 – The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
Nov 6 – Reviews by Molly (guest post)
Nov 7 – Sweeping Me
Nov 8 – Can't Put It Down (including interview)
Nov 9 – Library of Clean Reads
Nov 10 – The Book Addicted Girl
Nov 11 - The Character Connection (author interview)
Nov 12 - Rai29 BookReadnReview (author interview)
From The Book Addicted Girl
Alia is a princess, an Ameera. Her place in life is to get married to a prince from another kingdom and have children. But she doesn't want that. Alia wants to travel the desert, to visit the mysterious incense roads. With the help of her friend Safiy, Alia disguises herself as a boy, and joins a caravan of traders, headed for the frankincense lands. But what Alia doesn't realise is that traders are highly superstitious, and one tiny little sign of misfortune could lead to someone getting left behind… in the middle of the desert…
When I was given this book, it was compared to the Arabian Nights. I love that time period, with the jinn and traders. So I really, really was not disappointed with this book. It felt like I'd travelled back in time. It was vibrant. So very vibrant that I could feel it, feel the book, the place, the people... I loved every page, every moment. I loved this book: addicted from the word go. I can't wait to see what Jody brings out next. Hopefully another historical book just like this one. Maybe even a sequel? But either way, I have a feeling that no matter what it's about, it will be amazing.
Alia was wonderful! I loved her spirit, her determination. For a princess, she was pretty badass: brave and good with a sword. She was also caring, loving, considerate. Of course, she had to hide her feminine side: she was meant to be a guy named Ali! But she was so strong-willed, and really, really clever, with a good head for politics. She could totally take care of herself. She was the best! I just loved her from the word go.
Safiy was Alia's best friend, and may I just say: a princess has never had a better friend. She was the kindest friend: she'd do anything for Alia. Their bond was so strong. They may have been princess and servant, but they were also best friends who would do anything for one another. They were so close, it was so sweet and so strong.
Kardal was a strong leader of a group of traders. He was quiet, mysterious, intense. Very little of his past was known by Alia, and it was intriguing to see how his history grew as I read. He, himself was very difficult to gauge. I never could tell what he was thinking. He was a good guy, very caring. In a macho way. I love him: dark mysterious Kardal, strong and silent.
The characters all felt so real. I felt like I got to know Alia like a sister. I wanted a best friend like Safiy. I was desperate to know more about Kardal. I hated Alia's family with her. All of the relationships just felt so real. I could just feel everyone. Don't you just love that feeling?
And the writing was just beautiful. It was written in 3rd person, focusing on Alia, letting us see through her eyes and feel what she felt. As for the plot: wonderful. Even though much of the story was about Alia's journey across the desert, it wasn't at all boring. The way it was laid out made it so interesting, so addictive. And the descriptions of the towns and landscapes were stunning. The spices, the colours, the sand: I could see it all in my head, smell it, feel it. Vibrant, bright, near overwhelming. It made me want to grab a time machine so I could be there. Well, that or go to Arabia, or some other such country.
I just loved the historical side. It was all so vivid, so realistic. From the various gods to the customs, it felt like I'd gone back in time. I loved the feeling, the setting. Learning all about the trade routes, the rules. All the little details made everything fell so real. I loved learning about them all. It made the whole story more real, powerful and just overall amazing.
Back to the details… I dread to think how much research had to go into this! But, as they say, the devil's in the details. And the details rocked! Bravo Jody!
I loved, loved, loved The Frankincense Trail. It was unlike anything I'd read before. Once I'd finished, I just wanted to dive back into the story, into the time zone. Book Two, please, Jody? I want to know where Alia goes next!
P.S. I loved the glossary and name meanings. It gave a deeper understanding of the time zone and meant I could get more into the book. Genius!
Star Rating: 4½ Out of 5
From Library of Clean Reads
I was in a dreamy mood when I picked up this book and it was exactly what I was looking for and more! I was transported on an exotic adventure reminiscent of Arabian Nights together with a feisty princess heroine, and a caravan leader whose dark penetrating look had me riveted.
The year is 200 B.C. Alia is a 15 year-old princess whose palace lies on the Frankincense Road, a dangerous route through rocky mountains and barren desert, where traders travel to transport the precious resin frankincense that was worth its weight in gold at that time.
Illness and financial problems has swept through Alia's town and she isn't content to sit back and do nothing. She knows her father will marry her off, probably for political alliance, and the relationship with her brothers has become strained since her mother died. She is quick-witted and wants to do her share of helping her kingdom. So she disguises herself as a boy to make the journey with a passing caravan to the mysterious incense lands of the south.
The journey is dangerous and risky. The traders turn out to be mercenaries, and Alia discovers the meaning of endurance and the cost of making certain decisions. I was quickly engrossed in this novel and liked the characters and especially the historical setting. I was transported to the point where I could feel the heavy heat of the desert sun beating down, or the parched state of the travellers as the water from the skin bottles trickled to a stop. I heard the zing of the swords, the echoing of the horse's hoof steps against the palace walls, and the guttural shouts of the men in their foreign tongues. The scenes were so vivid! The author even includes a glossary in the back of the book for easy reference of Arabic terms.
This is a tale filled with adventure, danger, mystery and a budding romance. The scenes between Alia and Kardal, the caravan leader are intense and leave the reader wondering where they will lead. Both of these characters are strong and carried the story forward. There is an element of unpredictability that kept me hooked. The ending left me wanting more, of course, so I am truly hoping there will be a sequel. I did not want it to end. In a way, this is a coming-of-age story about a young women healing from her grief and finding her way in life at a time when a woman's role was limited. She started out a sheltered and naive princess and soon learned through hardship and perseverance how to use your inner strength and her status as royalty to make a difference.
So if you are looking for a good historical YA novel to
transport you to a different land and culture, this one is sure to please. For
my part, I will count this book as one of my favourites for this year.
When I hear 'historical fiction', I usually think bodices and corsets, but this book was so different! First of all, I've never read a YA novel set in Arabia; secondly, I've never read one set in 200 BC! For those who don't know their history, that wasn't caveman times, it was after Alexander the Great.
The book summary gives you the premise, so I won't repeat it here. Instead, a few random observations:
This book has the best antagonist I've come across in ages! I spent the whole book wondering 'is he bad or is he good?' (You won't find out till the end. Actually, I'm still wondering about it!)
The friction between Alia and Kardal is great. They're two characters who seem fated to have tension right from the beginning. In fact, even before they meet! And the resolution chapter... awesome!
Which brings me to my next point: you know how when you were a teen, there were certain books you'd read over and over, and in those, certain chapters you'd read over and over? Well, this book has 2 of those for me; if I were a teenager I'd probably read those chapters every night!
Which is a nice segueway to my next point... I found Alia kind of naïve at times, but then I had to remind myself that she's 15, hasn't been anywhere, and doesn't live in times when she would see or hear much of the outside world. If I were a teen, I probably wouldn't find her naïve at all; in fact, she's a good role model — equal parts compassionate and brave.
I think I'm going to re-read this book and focus less on the plot, more on the writing, setting, and mood, because there are some really beautiful descriptions and evocative scenes.
I definitely recommend this book!