I have been searching my whole adult life for this exact book, and now that I've found it I'm going to be yelling about it forever. With a gripping plot and a lush world, this book is deeply compassionate, vivid, and lets each character exist as a whole and complete person. Fans of Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic books and Katherine Addison's Witness for the Dead will love The Bruising of Qilwa. Personally, I would like a dozen more books set in this universe.
"I loved this gorgeous book about blood magic, chosen family and refugees in a hostile city. Naseem Jamnia has created a rich, complex world." --Charlie Jane Anders, author of All the Birds in the Sky STARRED REVIEW] "A delight to read. Highly recommended." --Library JournalIn 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 sociopolitical constraints, and find a fresh start for their both their blood and found family.
About the Author
Naseem Jamnia is is a queer, nonbinary, trans Persian writer from Chicago. They are a former neuroscientist and a recent MFA graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno. Their work has appeared in the Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, The Rumpus, The Writer's Chronicle, and other venues. They have received fellowships from Bitch Media, Lambda Literary, and the Otherwise Award, and they recently received the inaugural Samuel R. Delany Fellowship. Jamnia is the managing editor at Sidequest, an independent gaming-criticism website that centers the voices of queer and marginalized genders, and they are also an author mentor through Author Mentor Match. A Persian-Chicagoan and child to Iranian immigrants, Jamnia now lives in Reno with their husband, dog, and two cats.