Spice Road Readalong: Day 1!

Beautiful photo by @rebireads!

Hello, hello!

Happy Monday and welcome to day 1 of our readalong of Spice Road by Maiya Ibrahim. I’m so excited to be reading this one with you, I hope you all love it!

Before we start, how are you all doing? I hope you had a wonderful weekend and got some reading and relaxing done.

Since today is day 1, we’ll be reading from the beginning to the end of Chapter 8. Get comfy and let’s get started!

When you’ve finished today’s section, catch up with me in the comments down below so we can discuss the beginning of the book. Happy reading!

Please be warned, the following section will include spoilers for Spice Road by Maiya Ibrahim from the beginning to Chapter 8. Please only read on if you have finished this section!


Firstly, can we talk about that map? Hands up who loves a good bookish map!

Secondly, what ? an ? opening ? line! Obsessed with that.

We start with a tea ceremony with Imani and the other Shields. She tells us it’s been a year since she last saw her brother, Atheer. She continues to prepare the tea, her auntie told her at her first magic lesson that the tea awakens affinities in them. This must explain why I have no magic, I’m more of a coffee drinker. If only I drank more tea. Sigh.

Alas the ceremony is interrupted by Dalila, Imani’s sister’s best friend. Her sister, Amira, is in trouble. 

Imani’s off to find Amira, she’s at the Forbidden Wastes. Imani tells Amira she has to let Atheer go. Amira thinks though, that Atheer’s horse Raad can sense that he’s still out there somewhere.

They find Raad, but all is not well, the place feels off… that’s when Imani notices the Djinni.

Imani successfully disbands the Djinni, you can see why they call her Djinni Slayer. Things still aren’t right though, the blend of incense that lingers is one they both recognise from Atheer’s room and they find wood shavings, like the ones he would leave behind when he carved wooden statuettes.

They continue to search and find not only that the Kingdom of Alqibah exists, but Atheer went there. They find a letter that’s both good and bad, bad because Atheer was sharing misra with the outside world, good because this letter points at him being alive. 

They realise quite quickly that they’re not alone. There’s another djinni, but there’s a twist, this one knew Atheer. His name is Qayn and he assures them he means no harm. Qayn offers his services to help them find Atheer but on one condition… that Imani binds herself to him. They come to an agreement that Imani will bind her blade to the djinni, rather than her soul… I can’t help but think this will all go wrong!

Imani goes to the Council at her first opportunity and tells them she believes her brother may be alive and in the Kingdom of Alqibah. After much argument, the Council agree Imani can go in search of her brother, but she’s forbidden to go alone. 

By the time she gets home, her parents have already had word of Atheer and Alqibah from Amira. Her mother doesn’t want Imani to go looking. Her mama eventually gives in, but not before telling Imani that if anything happens to her or Atheer, she will never recover.

Amira is adamant she’s going too, but Imani seemingly manages to talk her out of it… I kind of have a bad feeling she’ll go anyway though. She does seem stubborn!

Do you think Atheer is alive?
If a Djinni asked you to bind yourself to them, would you do it?
What are your initial thoughts on the book so far?

Something is telling me tomorrow’s section will be very, very interesting!

Hope you’re enjoying the book so far! See you tomorrow for day two.


20 thoughts on “Spice Road Readalong: Day 1!

  1. I already love this book, the world building is brilliant I’m already lost in this world ☺️. I think Atheer is alive but the Djinni is definitely upto something.

  2. I love bookish maps! The book seems very interesting so far, I really liked this beginning. I was a little scared and apprehensive about Imani going to the council, still kind of is, but it seems like it was okay. I have a feeling that Amira might follow the search anyway in one way or another. And I do think Atheer is alive, but I also don’t think he’s brainwashed, but actually know a lot more. Oh, and the binding is very interesting, i can’t wait to see how that will turn out. I’m very excited to continue this book.

  3. I reckon Atheer is alive, but very much not the person Imani thinks he is.
    I don’t know enough about the djinni to decide but at this stage I think the binding isn’t a bad thing: like all magic, it’s not inherently good or evil but can be used for either purpose. Qayn obviously has an ulterior motive but we’re yet to see what that is.
    I am really disliking Imani and her attitude, and I hope that it gets a severe overhaul as the book progresses.

  4. The map was the first thing I gushed about too! It’s so well done. (Well, the entire book is absolutely gorgeous. You guys did amazing!) ?
    I’m enjoying it a lot; I read the first section in one sitting (and now I’m suffering from lack of sleep). I’m happy that we got to see the Council straight away and get some hints of their affinities. (I love tea magic, I just do. Pity tea doesn’t seem to have that effect on me, despite how much I drink it.) And I also like that Imani is starting out with a very narrow world view. It makes a lot of sense for someone who’s been so sheltered from everything beyond Qalia’s walls, and it’s always interesting to watch characters develop and let go of preconceived notions as I think she will.
    As for Atheer, I sure hope he’s alive; he sounds like a great character! Amira will absolutely not sit still and I’m glad for it, because I’m already a fan of their sisterly dynamic. And Taha is going too, of course. I also really liked the discussion on grief through the different perspectives. We’re closer to Imani’s, and then Amira’s, but we also got glimpses of mama’s and baba’s, and all four are realistic and heart-breaking in their own way.
    Am I the only one who trusts Qayn? I’m biased from reading another series with djinn, but I don’t think he’s entirely lying. He’s absolutely hiding something, and this is a way for him to leave his prison, but I do think he misses his friend. And I would 100% bind myself to a djinni if one of my siblings had gone missing. Without question.
    I can’t wait to keep going. See you tomorrow!

  5. I’ve enjoyed this book right from the very first sentence. I like how well it’s written.

    I do think Atheer is alive, but Imani is going to have to accept that her brother is not who she thought he was, as I do not believe he’s been brainwashed or manipulated. I also think the council is hiding more things.

    I found Quayn very interesting. I think he has his own agenda that we don’t know yet. I find it hard to believe he doesn’t have much power or magic in him. In the other hand, I’m not liking Tahar’s character so far. He comes across as too much if his father.

  6. I am really enjoing the book but Imani’s naivety is grating on my nerves a bit even though I find it completely understandable. Amira is definetly up to something. I think Atheer is alive but I don’t see him coming home when found. I can’t wait to read more about Qayn and I would totally bind myself to a djinni!

  7. I absolutely adore the map!!!! I am enjoying the world building, but I am not sure if Atheer is alive or not. If he is, he def will have some explaining to do!

  8. Gotta love a catchy opening line! The magic seems super interesting, even more so that its only limited to a small part of the world (as far as we believe).

    Atheer must be alive and helping these rebels with what misra he smuggled out. I hope we get a reunion with him in his lion form! It’s gonna be an emotionally painful reunion period, since Imani cannot begin to reconcile her ideal of her brother with reality. She is making the same mistake with Amira as well.

    As for Qayn, don’t trust him one tiny bit! Way too many unknowns to grasp what he truly wants. At least he is bound to the dagger instead of her soul, but I’m not sure its much better.

    Also Bayek is suspicious as hell, saying Imani doesn’t have the ‘training, experience or constitution’ for this mission when he is totally going to be sending Taha, who is only one year her senior albeit his son! Why did he not want her going? What is he plotting?

  9. I absolutely love book maps and am always so excited when fantasy novels include them! Agreed on the epic first line as well.

    I think Atheer is alive and that there is a lot more to his story we don’t know yet. I definitely think binding herself to Qayn is going to be significant later on, but whether it will be good or bad (or probably a mix) we’ll have to see.

  10. Do you think Atheer is alive?
    Yes, I think Atheer is alive but there is a valid reason he has not come back.

    If a Djinni asked you to bind yourself to them, would you do it?
    I think I would. I am a curious person but also cautious and in this case you would need Djinni to help navigate locating Atheer.

    What are your initial thoughts on the book so far?
    I am interested and it’s a very fast read.

  11. 1) I think he is alive yes.

    2) I like Imani’s idea of binding him to something other than herself directly. On the one hand, if it’s an item you could lose it. On the other hand, if it turns out to be a bad decision, you can deliberately lose it lol.

    3) Imani seems pretty naive and sheltered. I have a feeling the outside world will be a shock to her.

  12. Oh my goodness the world building in this is so cool and the tea ceremony is such an interesting magic system. I can’t wait to see everyones magic and more of all the magical beasts and foes.

  13. I got a late start on this, but I’m liking how this starts out. It gives me “The Stardust Thief” vibes but without the Aladdin parallels. Qayn must be depicted on the back end papers, so who is depicted on the front end papers? Taha? I like that she stood up to Bayek, & I have a feeling of what it might mean that she borrowed Qayn’s feelings to steady herself already. Amira is selfish & spoiled, & although Imani may be naively keeping her head in the sand, she doesn’t irritate me half as much.
    Daily Q&A:
    1.) Do you think Atheer is alive?
    2.) If a Djinni asked you to bind yourself to them, would you do it?
    3.) What are your initial thoughts on the book so far?
    1.) I’d like to say yes.
    2.) Under these circumstances, yes, especially with the conditions (bound to an object, not my soul).
    3.) I’m enjoying it – the writing style, what’s been said of the magic system, etc.

    The map & opening lines were both already shared by me with everyone in my vicinity. ?

  14. 1. I think he is alive, I would love for him to be haha
    2. Depends on the situation and the Djinni I think. I do like that Imani didn’t bind him to herself, but to an item. That would be the smarter choice in the end
    3. Loving it! It is a very lush and mesmerising story!

  15. I am in love with the writing style in this book!! It has me absolutely hooked!

    – I do think Atheer is alive. It sounds like he found someone that he fell in love with. Maybe he has realized what they’ve been told to believe about outsiders isn’t all that true.

    – I think if I was trying to save a member of my family or someone I cared about I think I would.

    – I am throughly enjoying this book.

  16. This book drew me in so quickly! I’m really loving it so far!

    I’m very curious to learn more about how the tea unlocks their powers and if this is something that is unique to them. Also really want to find out more about the outside world and why the Council is hiding its existence- I don’t trust them. I also believe Qayn is hiding A LOT but I guess we’ll find out soon.

    1. I believe Atheer is still alive but Imani will be shocked when she meets him again, it seems she doesn’t know him as well as she believes and is quite ignorant to many things. I can’t wait to see how their reunion goes down!
    2. I think I would bind myself to a Djinni, I’m a very curious person and it seems as if the person is in control of the Djinni anyway so what could go wrong? It’s a built in bestie.
    3. I’m really loving the world building, it seems very solid and delivered in a natural way (no big info dumps!). I was also excited to discover the author is Australian! I love seeing authors from my part of the world receiving recognition internationally!

  17. Just got to gush for a minute about how gorgeous this edition is. Also the book had me at the beginning with the tea quote. Not sure about spiced tea though.

    1. I think it very likely that Amira will follow despite her promise. I assume Taha will in the group to search for Atheer and that Taha isn’t as bad as Imani thinks he is.

      Atheer is probably alive but I think the whole quest will be very different to what Imani imagines. I don’t think he will willingly come home and go back to his old life.

      I wouldn’t bind a djinni but I’m interested to see how this all pans out between Imani and Qayn.

  18. Fashionably late to this, don’t mind me.

    You’re right, the map is absolutely gorgeous. I need this artist to do more fantasy maps ?

    I’m really enjoying this, despite the fact that Imani is very naive. I feel like it’s setting up an arc where she learns about the outside world and comes to realize she’s wrong about most of her perceptions about the world. When done right it’s one of my favorite type of character arcs.

  19. I think it very likely that Amira will follow despite her promise. I assume Taha will in the group to search for Atheer and that Taha isn’t as bad as Imani thinks he is.

    Atheer is probably alive but I think the whole quest will be very different to what Imani imagines. I don’t think he will willingly come home and go back to his old life.

    I wouldn’t bind a djinni but I’m interested to see how this all pans out between Imani and Qayn.

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