My rating: 5 / 5 ★

"Mikal, I'm scared."
"Of what? We're here. Almost safe."
"For you."
He laughs. "Don't be. I've accepted my fate."
"Have you?"
He doesn't reply.

TW: deaths, allusions of rape

From where do I start? Anna Tan's writing for this series have always left me speechless in awe.

Absolution takes place some years after Amok, and immediately after the epilogue in The Tale of the Hostage Prince. Instead of returning to Mikal's POV like in the first book, Absolution offers the POV of an entirely new character: Tulen from Impian. Following the deaths of her mother and brother, Tulen was traumatised with guilt and blamed herself for many things. An attempt to steal to survive caused her to be punished to serve a bratty princess. When the princess sets out for a pilgrimage, Tulen thinks it might just be a way for her to offer a sacrifice, to gain absolution. 

It was so easy to love Tulen that just from the first few paragraphs of this book, I only wish nothing but good things for her. In a fantasy world where things are much different than ours, her character is relatable and feels very much realistic. Despite the harsh life  she had gone through, combined with the guilt towards the deaths of her loved ones, I find it astounding that she was still able to stand tall and be herself. Sure, she did lie about her identity at a certain point, but what else can an orphan girl do by herself at desparate times?

Getting Mikal back in a new story felt so glorious because I had missed him so much (although when he first appeared, I deluded myself into thinking that he was Yosua instead—I terribly miss that boy too). A teeny bit spoiler, but the fact that Mikal called Tulen as 'sayang' when he first met her made me scream because eXCUSE ME WHILE I SCREAM AND CRY AND BUILD THIS SHIP ♡♡♡♡♡♡ I like that despite being the Sultan, Tulen treated him like a normal man and Mikal did the same towards Tulen. I love that despite the feelings blooming between these two, the story focused on their own worries and faith instead of making it all about the romance. The journey they had to go through together, the connection they formed with their gifts, made their bond so tight that I think I would not have survived if anything happened to either of them.

This series has always been about faith, but Absolution speaks about this matter more prominently. In terms of plot, there were not as much violence compared to the previous two books in the series, yet it was painful to go through as well. Tulen's guilt and Mikal's fears were agonising, and I wanted so bad to protect them from every harm and suffering they had to endure. Unlike the previous books where there were actual villains to hate, the only adversary in Absolution were their own selves. And I find that that is what made this story more meaningful, because sometimes, the hardest enemy to defeat is yourself.

All in all, Absolution is a story about faith that ends with an endearing note. I will give my whole heart to Tulen and Mikal (and Yosua since he made a cameo ♡). This review is supposed to be posted on the 25th, but due to circumstances, I'm only able to write this five days later. Much much thanks to Anna Tan and Teaspoon Publishing for trusting me with this book and I am honoured to have read all three books in this series earlier than the rest of the world. If you ask me whether I would recommend this book to anyone, I would give a big fat yes to it!

Below are the links where you can order Absolution.

Ebook: [USD4.99 / RM20]

Paperback (Malaysia only): [RM50]


Title: Absolution
Series: Absolution, #2
Author: Anna Tan
Publisher: Teaspoon Publishing
Genres: Fantasy, Spirituality 
Format: Ebook
Publication Date: November 24th 2022
Pages: 414

Synopsis (Goodreads): If cursed is the hand that kills, then it wouldn’t matter if that same hand stole, would it? 

Tulen feels doubly cursed, forced to serve the bratty princess of Impian as punishment for her crimes. When said princess embarks on a pilgrimage, Tulen grabs her only chance to offer a sacrifice at the holy city of Suci—and maybe, finally, feel clean again.

Sultan Mikal has set his face towards Suci—and certain death. Nothing about his Penance is clear, except the fact that if he fails, Terang will fall along with him.

When Tulen’s pilgrimage intersects with Sultan Mikal’s quest to fulfil the Covenant of Salt, Tulen faces a difficult dilemma: What is her absolution worth in the face of the sultanate’s very existence?


Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'