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The Bruising of Qilwa by Naseem Jamnia

By Pamelascott
In this intricate debut fantasy introducing a queernormative Persian-inspired world, a nonbinary refugee practitioner of blood magic discovers a strange disease that causes political rifts in their new homeland. Persian-American author Naseem Jamnia has crafted a gripping narrative with a moving, nuanced exploration of immigration, gender, healing, and family. Powerful and fascinating, The Bruising of Qilwa is the newest arrival in the era of fantasy classics such as the Broken Earth Trilogy, The Four Profound Weaves, and Who Fears Death.

Firuz-e Jafari is fortunate enough to have immigrated to the Free Democratic City-State of Qilwa, fleeing the slaughter of other traditional Sassanian blood magic practitioners in their homeland. Despite the status of refugees in their new home, Firuz has a good job at a free healing clinic in Qilwa, working with Kofi, a kindly new employer, and mentoring Afsoneh, a troubled orphan refugee with powerful magic.

But Firuz and Kofi have discovered a terrible new disease which leaves mysterious bruises on its victims. The illness is spreading quickly through Qilwa, and there are dangerous accusations of ineptly performed blood magic. In order to survive, Firuz must break a deadly cycle of prejudice, untangle socio-political constraints, and find a fresh start for their both their blood and found family.


In the early sun-swept hours of the morning, when purples and pinks smeared across the sky like blood, Firuz-e-Jafari looked for a job.


(@TachyonPub, 9 August 2022, ebook, 194 pages, #ARC from the publisher via @ edelweiss_squad)



I thought this was a great book. I never really felt like I was reading a fantasy novel because the world and characters were so real and vivid. It's a short book but so much more than the sum of it's pages. It felt twice as long. I don't often read book with nonbinary characters so this was a slightly different read for me. I loved the world-building as well. I also found the references to blood magic and the history of the world fascinating.

Bruising Qilwa Naseem Jamnia

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