Gwen & Kate's Library

Two sisters' reviews of Young Adult and Middle Grade books, inspired by their lovely library.

Gwen’s Review of Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima

After four lengthy books following two characters’ struggle to unite a broken nation, one might think a follow-up series entitled “Shattered Realms” would incite groans of dismay. But with Cinda Williams Chima at the reins, I say bring on the (continuing, never-ending) conflict! I’m ready for 535 more pages of powerful mages, daring adventures, heart-warming romance, and a dash of dragons!

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Series: Shattered Realms, Book 1

Genres: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Romance, Adventure

Rating: 4.5 stars

Format: Hardcover

Description:

A burning vengeance.
Adrian sul’Han, known as Ash, is a trained healer with a powerful gift of magic—and a thirst for revenge. The son of the queen of the Fells, Ash is forced into hiding after a series of murders throws the queendom into chaos. Now Ash is closer than he’s ever been to killing the man responsible, the cruel king of Arden. As a healer, can Ash use his powers not to save a life but to take it?

A blood-based curse.
Abandoned at birth, Jenna Bandelow was told the mysterious magemark on the back of her neck would make her a target. But when the King’s Guard launches a relentless search for a girl with a mark like hers, Jenna assumes that it has more to do with her role as a saboteur than any birth-based curse. Though Jenna doesn’t know why she’s being hunted, she knows that she can’t get caught.

Destiny’s fiery hand.
Eventually, Ash’s and Jenna’s paths will collide in Arden. Thrown together by chance and joined by their hatred of the king, they will come to rescue each other in ways they cannot yet imagine.
Set in the world of the acclaimed Seven Realms series a generation later, this is a thrilling story of dark magic, chilling threats, and two unforgettable characters walking a knife-sharp line between life and death.

Review:

After four lengthy books following two characters’ struggle to unite a broken nation, one might think a follow-up series entitled “Shattered Realms” would incite groans of dismay. But with Cinda Williams Chima at the reins, I say bring on the (continuing, never-ending) conflict! I’m ready for 535 more pages of powerful mages, daring adventures, heart-warming romance, and a dash of dragons!

Overall, Cinda Williams Chima did not disappoint, delivering two more brave characters to her eager readers. However, I found my experience with the first installation of the Shattered Realms series to be slightly less magical (not in a literal sense of the word) than my fond memories of the original Seven Realms quartet. First of all, the two main characters (Ash and Jenna), who jointly narrate the tale, are and act younger and more innocent than Han and Raisa did in their series. Ash and Jenna’s romance (not a spoiler, unless you’ve never read a book narrated by two main character of the same age and different genders) falls into palce much too easily, and their grief over personal losses feels stunted and false. (I felt like it took me longer to get over one particular loss than it took the character’s own son to move on!)

But of course, Cinda fantastically knits another complex tale of warring fantasy nations, introducing a new player, and a new weapon, into the never-ending battle. Descriptions of the sequel, Shadowcaster, reveal the perspective will be handed over to two new protagonists. I anxiously await April 4th, 2017 (its publication date), and hope these characters will be as mature, complex, and relatable as I’ve come to expect from Cinda Williams Chima.

(Clarifying note: While reading the Seven Realms series (The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Gray Wolf Throne, The Crimson Crown) first is not completely necessary to understanding and enjoying this book, I would highly recommend it for three reasons. First, one of the two main characters in Flamecaster is the son of a main character(s) in the Seven Realms series, and some references are made to previous adventures and happenings. Second, much of the world-building and explanations for how the magic, government, culture, etc. works in the Seven Realms is explained much better in the first series. And finally, the Seven Realms series is not one to miss for fans of high fantasy and books like Graceling by Kristin Cashore, The Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, and Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.)

Have you read this exciting new book yet? What were your thoughts?

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One comment on “Gwen’s Review of Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima

  1. This was one of my favorite YA fantasies of this year, and I still haven’t gotten around to reading the Seven Realms series. I think I’m going to ask for them from Santa!😊

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This entry was posted on November 1, 2016 by in Author: Gwen, Review, Young Adult and tagged , , .
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