Tasha Suri’s Empire of Sand and Realm of Ash are a duology that feels like a mashup of S.A. Chakraborty’s Daevabad trilogy and Arkady Martine’s Teixcalaan books.
Like the former, it is set in a desert city with djinn and sandstorms and what-not (though Suri’s world isn’t a fantastic version of Earth, it’s a full on fantasy world); like the latter, it’s a book about empire, and what it means to live in an empire as a conquered people.
Tonally, it probably ends up closer to Martine’s series—it is a fairly straightforward adventure work, but it’s not as breezy as Chakraborty’s. Like, when a book is called Realm of Ash, you can just sorta tell that it’s not going to be all cheery and sunny, you know?
But they never get unpleasantly dark, and the characters and setting are interesting. Recommended to anyone looking for desert fantasy.