We are so thrilled to reveal the absolutely stunning cover of Aditi Khorana’s second novel, The Library of Fates. Aditi is the author of the acclaimed Mirror in the Sky, which came out last summer. The Library of Fates is a romantic coming-of-age fantasy tale steeped in Indian folklore, perfect for fans of The Star-Touched Queen and The Wrath and the Dawn
About the book: No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.
The unthinkable happens, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos of a palace under siege. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.
Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life—and another love—await?
Check out the amazing cover of The Library of Fates below, and read our Q&A with Aditi!
Q: You have said that “Cosmos” was part of your inspiration for Mirror in the Sky, your first novel. What inspired The Library of Fates?
A: While Mirror in the Sky was about finding a sense of belonging in the world when you’re different and “belonging” is an elusive thing, I wanted to write a book about a young woman who has always belonged, always been loved and had everything she ever needed, and to see what happens when all of that is taken away. I was fascinated with this question of who you become when life is stripped down to its bare essentials. The UN High Commission for Refugees just reported that 65.3 million people were displaced from their homes in 2015. I should add here that my grandparents were refugees – they came to India after the 1947 Partition and so I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating this question of starting over when you’ve lost everything, when there’s no home left. I also wanted to talk about the intersection of feminism and colonialism. I loved writing a story about a young women challenging a system that’s stacked against her on so many levels.
Q: How does publishing your second novel feel different from your debut novel?
A: It’s just as exciting but perhaps without some of the nail-biting now that I’ve been through the process once. And honestly, it feels like a debut because Library of Fates is such a different book in many ways than Mirror in the Sky. They fundamentally deal with similar issues of parallel lives and female friendship (themes I’m obsessed with) but Library of Fates is a fantasy, set in ancient India, rather than in a small town in contemporary Connecticut!
Q: Do you feel that the landscape of diversity in literature has changed at all since you were pitching your debut novel?
A: I definitely think it has but I think this is just the beginning. We have to continue to value and appreciate difference in society and the call for diverse voices continues to be just as fierce and loud as ever. I’m so proud to be a part of this movement but I really believe that we’re not close to where we need to be yet. Literature – and all media, for that matter, should reflect the landscape of our society and by listening to diverse voices we have the opportunity to grow and develop a sense of empathy. We really need that now more than ever.
Q: Why do you feel that diversity in literature is so important, especially for children’s/teen books?
A: I’ve said this before and I will probably continue to because I feel so strongly about it: I grew up all over the place and had a very happy childhood. Then, as a result of my parents’ work, we moved to a very wealthy, very white suburb of Connecticut. Having grown up abroad before then, arriving in Greenwich, CT was culture shock for me. I was one of the only people of color at my high school and I learned to see myself through the eyes of others. I had a very hard time fitting in. During this time, I found comfort in books and longed to see characters who looked like me between the pages of my favorite books. Since I wrote Mirror in the Sky, so many young women of color have approached me and thanked me for writing this book because it’s rare for them to find relatable characters of color as the heroes of a story. We all need to see ourselves out there because it validates who we are in this world. I didn’t have that and I’ve devoted my life to changing that.
Q: What do you hope readers will take away from The Library of Fates?
A: That even a young girl with nothing left has agency and strength and the power to transform herself as she transforms the world. That we all do, as long as we are on the right side of history. So make sure you’re on the right side of history. Make sure you’re on the side of justice, and that you understand that not only are we all equal but that we’re equally powerful no matter what our circumstances. It is a revolutionary act to be a woman or a person of color or a member of any marginalized group in this society today and to have the audacity to speak your mind. Have that audacity, speak your mind. Do what you need to do. You are not alone.
Q: How would you describe the main character, Princess Amrita?
A: She is the most resourceful characters I’ve ever written. She figures things out on the fly. She has an enormous capacity to survive and to love. And just like the most powerful and brilliant women I know, she is willing to change direction when necessary. She is flexible, open to growth rather than holding on to outworn ideas. She consistently puts aside her ego for the greater good without losing a sense of who she truly is and I think that’s her most admirable trait.
Q: What is your favorite thing about The Library of Fates?
A: That it has very strong female characters. I’ve read a lot of YA where young women are “rescued” by young men and this particular trope always depresses me to no end. First of all, it’s a boring archetype. It doesn’t give women a lot of credit and it’s unfair to men. But mostly, it feels untrue. All of the women I know – including myself – whenever we’ve been in a bind, we’ve often had lovely men step up and provide kind caring words, or support or take us out for a drink. But when it comes to really rescuing us? We’ve done that for ourselves. And so it feels “true” to me that after the greatest tragedy of her life, Amrita has to pick up the pieces and figure out how to rescue herself with the help of Thala.
Q: What are you currently working on?
A: I’m trying my hand at adult lit for a bit! I just finished a manuscript about a modern American immigrant family, all struggling with their own dysfunctions, nostalgia and losses. And now I’m researching a novel about Los Angeles in the early 80s!
The Library of Fates hits stores July 2017–preorder your copy today!