The Stardust Thief Readalong: Day 2!

Beautiful photo by @elenathereader!

Hi Fairy Friends!

Welcome to day 2 of our readalong of The Stardust Thief. So happy you’re all loving the book so far!

Today we’re reading from chapter 13 to the end of chapter 26. Let’s goooo!


Please be warned, the following section will include spoilers for The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah, from chapters 13 to 26. Please only read on if you’ve finished this section!

-!SPOILERS!-

Loulie isn’t too hot on the idea of heading out into the Sandsea to find this jinn infested lamp (can’t blame her) but the sultan hasn’t really given her a choice. The sultan hands her what is essentially a guide to the lamp, it will help her find it and also give her a bit of backstory into what exactly the lamp did and how it was buried.

Undeterred, the sultan is still pretty adamant Loulie must go and find this relic aaaand, he’s sending Omar with her. Mazen steps in to try to tell his dad this is a bad idea, but he’s already made his mind up and it doesn’t seem like anyone can convince him not to send Loulie for the lamp. The sultan tells them that his plan is to use the jinn, to eliminate the jinn. I feel like this is a recipe for disaster…

Loulie accepts the request, not that she ever really had a choice, but makes a vow to herself that she will protect Qadir.

Mazen and Loulie eventually cross paths in the palace, each confronting the other about the things they thought they knew about each other… and both having the same excuse. “Another identity for another time”. Sneaky pair.

Omar, who was reluctant from the beginning to go on the quest with Loulie, has decided he won’t be going. Mazen will. They will switch bodies using magic. Aisha will accompany Mazen and help him keep his identity secret and Omar will stay in the palace overseeing his thieves, pretending to be Mazen. This sounds absolutely full-proof and like nothing could possibly go wrong, doesn’t it?

Loulie is drunk in the tavern, wallowing. Can’t blame her. Qadir is onsite to put some sense into her, telling her to think of the sultan as a customer to be scammed. Loulie rises to the bait and realises who she is. She is not to be trifled with, so we leave Loulie as she vows that the sultan will regret threatening the Midnight Merchant and Qadir… and I do not doubt her.

As Aisha paints henna designs on her arms, she’s interrupted by a knock at the door. It’s Prince Mazen… or is it? She’s too clever to be outsmarted and notices the bangle on his wrist before Omar has a chance to explain he is not Mazen. She was almost fooled though and it’s enough to convince Omar that his plan can work. He seems to care about Mazen because he’s very serious about how much trust he’s putting in Aisha to take care of him, and he clearly cares and worries for Aisha’s wellbeing too, but something about this just feels so off!

Mazen visits Hakim and tells him of the plan Omar devised for him to accompany Loulie. Hakim, naturally, thinks it’s a ludicrous idea and urges Mazen to just tell the sultan what happened, that he snuck out of the palace, but he won’t. Hakim knows his brother well and knows Mazen is also going because he wants to help the Midnight Merchant, and just wants to leave the palace.

Without further ado, they’re off on their quest. Mazen wakes from a nightmare and Aisha seems to know what’s causing it. She assures him the nightmares are normal and a result of fighting jinn and they will go away eventually. Is she… comforting him?

They expect to arrive at Dhyme tomorrow, and whilst they are there, they will be expected to visit a certain guardian… Ahmed. Aka the man Loulie fancies. Witwoo! 

Maybe they’ll be a bit delayed… there’s a dust storm. Typical! With the storm and low visibility, Aisha loses Mazen, Loulie and Qadir. Then suddenly her brother is before her, taunting her. She tries to shake it off, assuring herself the dead don’t speak… and then another voice is next to her. A phantom, a jinn? If it is a jinn, they’ve picked on the wrong person! Aisha can take them down easily! And she plans to.

Loulie, Qadir and Mazen find a haven of sorts in a cave, but there’s no sign of Aisha and Mazen is clearly shaken at the thought of having lost her. Qadir can see a cave further along and silently tells Loulie to wait here for him whilst he goes to check, but the minute he’s gone Mazen is off, scrambling up a sand dune to get a vantage point. Mazen, I do not condone your recklessness, but alas I am glad you’ve spotted Aisha’s scarf!

Oh… I take that back. Not glad for anything… Mazen is hearing voices? Never a good sign. He starts digging through the sand. In the upheaval of the dust Loulie begins to cough and splutter and when she opens her eyes again… Mazen is gone. When she gets out her magical compass to try and find Mazen, a door of sorts appears in the dunes and Loulie steps right in. This can only be bad.

Mazen is seeing his mother, but his mother is dead. Then there’s a voice in his head, telling him that they can bring his mother back. Is the jinn trying to possess him?

Loulie is having a similar experience, she is hearing her Baba. She can hear a song in the distance, I wonder if it’s the same song Mazen was hearing? Slowly, she realises it’s a song Qadir sings. Loulie is joined by Aisha, but there’s no sign of Mazen. Is he still trapped? 

It was a jinn after all, The Queen of Dunes. Strap in fairies, we’re about to hear her tale!

So, this collar brings nothing but doom, Mazen is in a trance and currently has said collar. Clearly nothing can go wrong here…

Mazen gains control of himself and begins to use Omar’s enchanted knives to bring down the ghouls… but now Loulie wants the collar? Is she possessed or does she just want it because it’s a relic? Either way, Mazen wants to stop her. He’ll do anything to stop her, including stabbing her. He loses Loulie and before he can catch up to her, he hears The Queen of Dunes’ voice, declaring that she’s free. Cracking, this is going really well.

Next thing we know, Loulie is awake. Seemingly normal. Qadir informs her they’ve reached Dhyme and heals her with his jinn blood. Aisha has the relic, but Loulie is understandably a bit concerned about what they’re going to do about it, since the Queen can possess people through that relic. 

As Loulie explores the city (for food, my kinda gal!) she overhears people talking about a hunter in black. She wonders if this could be one of the men in black who murdered her tribe but before she can hear more, she’s interrupted by Mazen. He’s come to apologise about injuring her, she accepts the apology but she refuses to thank him. I do wonder if she’d thank him if she knew it was Mazen, even though she says no one in his family deserves her thanks, I think she has a soft spot for Mazen.

It’s time for us to meet Loulie’s crush! A guard of the city, he’s invited Loulie to his grand affair (knowing she hates parties). Loulie spends some of her time trying to convince Aisha to give her the relic, and the other half trying to avoid answering Ahmed’s proposal. Yep, you read that correctly, Ahmed, who Loulie has pined over this entire time, proposed to Loulie some time ago??? Either she doesn’t care for him as much as she thinks she does, or she knows that something about their relationship would not work long term. Otherwise surely she’d have accepted? Maybe this is an opening for Mazen to become her beau? Just putting that out there.

When she thinks about accepting his proposal, or even talking to him alone about her feelings, she feels unexplainable terror and tells him she can’t meet with him and runs off…


Well, that was intense! Ghouls, ancient jinn… unanswered proposals. I’m loving this drama so far!

Are you enjoying the book? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see you tomorrow for day three!

Love,
Shannon

17 thoughts on “The Stardust Thief Readalong: Day 2!

  1. I’m loving this book so far and … well helloooo there Ahmed with kohl around his eyes and a smile on his lips 🔥. I don’t see that proposal leading anywhere with so many difference of opinions they have, but a girl can dream 😂

  2. Omg the drama is spectacular! Honestly though is it Mazen’s fate to just keep getting pushed around by the jinn 😭😭 poor guy. I’m glad Loulie and Aisha are there to knock some sense into him.

    Also, this Ahmed drama is sweet but sad. I wish she trusted herself enough to know she can love him and be happy. But also, if she just wants to wander the desert and swindle people, then she should be free to do that! But the fact that she didn’t outright reject his proposal makes me think she does have true feelings for him…

  3. I was immediately obsessed by the character of the Queen of the Dunes– I love that all of the characters reacted so differently to that shared experience based on their backgrounds!

  4. Ohhh I loved this part. I was not able to put the book down. The situation with Queen of the Dunes had me almost biting my nails. I’m not sure about Ahmed – he seems so sweet towards Loulie, only wanting the best for her and being patient but as she also notices, something is off and I hope she trusts her gut.

    Lastly, can we talk about the conversation between Mazen and Hakim on page 128? “May the stars guide your path and the gods keep you safe. . . When in doubt, there is no better person to be than yourself.” MY. HEART.

    Random feedback on the layout of the book – I find the ‘paper’ pages with the tales to be a bit too dark, but that might just be me. Also, it is only every other page that is ‘printed’ with the ‘paper’ background? I don’t know if I’m the only one or if the book is supposed to be like that.

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  5. I’m liking the book so far. I should’ve seen the switcharoo but part of me thought this could be enemies to loves with Omar and Loulie. I think I need to learn more about her crush and am wondering if we’ll meet all the jinn kings.

  6. Is it just me or does Mazen seem to just find trouble with jinn wherever he goes. lol Seriously though….I guess it was actually Aisha’s fault this time because she ran off into the dust storm so Mazen and Loulie had to go after her.

    I still don’t trust the motivation behind Omar and why he wanted Mazen to wear the bracelet and take his place…wondering what is truly going on.

    There’s so much deceit and lack of trust by the characters in this one. Everyone is hiding something. I am quite fascinated by this!

    And, poor Ahmed….he’s so smitten by Loulie and really cares for her. But it seems Loulie doesn’t feel the same way or feels they aren’t right for each other or something…She’s avoiding making a decision. That’s never a good thing.

    I’m really curious to see what’s going to happen next! I’m liking Aisha more and more and I still really like Qadir a lot.

    The whole encounter with the Queen of the Dunes (if that is what she was) was really fascinating, but in a scary way. And the fact that they have the necklace creeps me out. I wouldn’t want that to be anywhere near me! lol

  7. I don’t really know what to expect from Ahmed… why is he such a big part of her life that he proposed but we haven’t interacted with him til now?

    I also find it a bit sad that they don’t come closer anyhow. We’re 200 pages in an they fought again an ifrit together but I don’t feel a connection between them and I think that’s a pity. I hope their relationships (between Loulie and Mazen but with Aisha as well) will evolve throughout the story a bit more.

    The setting is amazing btw and the secrets and the drama keeps me intrigued.

  8. I’m so excited Mazen’s going on this quest despite his father’s protectiveness. Although I’m concerned about what Omar’s planning that he needed to stay behind for. He’s a creep, so it’s definitely not anything good. After learning that Omar’s the one they call the stardust thief, it looks like he’ll be a much bigger player than I anticipated in the story.

    I thought the story of the Queen of the Dunes and how she lured the group into her trap was pretty cool. I think Aisha is going to wish she had left that relic under that sand. Pretty sure that someone in the group is either still or going to end up possessed by the Queen of the Dunes again very soon.

  9. Uhhh such drama… I love it.
    And I really like all the characters.
    I wish we’ll see more of Hakim, maybe a POV from him where Omar is acting suspicious or something.
    Ahmed seems nice, I wonder which role he is going to play in the rest of the book or if he is just a plot point to make Mazen realise he likes Loulie?

  10. I am so stressed that Qadir is around all of these jinn hunters. I know he can handle himself but GEEZ. I am absolutely dying to know about his backstory. He seems incredibly different than all of the other jinn. If Qadir wasn’t in the picture, honestly, it really does seem like all the jinn we’ve been introduced to are evil and bad. I am also dying to find out when Loulie is going to realize that has been Mazen traveling with her all along!

  11. I thought the whole section with the queen of dunes was really exciting. I’m waiting for more backstory on Qadir and how he fits in with the rest of the jinn.

  12. Gosh, I loved the way we got to know more about the characters background as a way to move the story along rather than a blurb about them. I’m so invested in everyone!

  13. I love all these characters and their dynamics! Really invested in the story, can’t wait to read more!

  14. I love this story so much! All the characters have such poignant and expressive personalities. I seriously adore Mazen! Ahmed is okay too 😉

  15. I feel bad for Mazen. He keeps ending up as the fall guy in every adventure haha. I laughed when Mazen immediately followed the vision of his dead mother without question, whereas Loulie was like “nah I don’t have time to be following visions”. Even if she did succumb eventually.

    I feel bad for Ahmed…I wasn’t sure if he actually cared about Loulie or just the mystical Midnight Merchant, but that concern when he saw her injured hand…hmmm. Her instincts really seem to be warning her away from him though.

    I’m kinda disappointed “the stardust thief” is just a fancy name for a jinn killer. Such a fanciful name for basically a mass murderer.

  16. I like how we keep learning more tales of the jinn the deeper we get. Now, is the Queen of Dunes possessing Mazen somehow? He never got the collar on but I also think that Aisha is acting a little psychotic about the collar right now so who knows!
    Finally, we are learning about Ahmed! I feel a little bad for him since Loulie has kept him waiting for so long but the situation almost seems a little sketch right now.

  17. I want to know more about Hakim and about Ahmed.

    I don’t trust Omar and because she works for Omar and because her POV chapters don’t tell us much about her I don’t really trust Aisha.

    I’m very concerned about the fact that they have kept the collar… it’s dangerous.

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