(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by HarperCollins on April 5th 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Seven Realms series, a generation later, this is a breathtaking story of dark magic, chilling threats, and two unforgettable characters walking a knife-sharp line between life and death. This dazzling beginning to a new series is indispensable for fans of Cinda Williams Chima and a perfect starting point for readers who are new to her work.Adrian sul’Han, known as Ash, is a trained healer with a powerful gift of magic—and a thirst for revenge. Ash is forced into hiding after a series of murders throws the queendom into chaos. Now he’s closer than ever to killing the man responsible, the cruel king of Arden. With time running out, Ash faces an excruciating choice: Can he use his powers not to save a life but to take it?Abandoned at birth, Jenna Bandelow was told that the 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. Eventually, Ash’s and Jenna’s paths will collide in Arden. Thrown together by chance and joined by their hatred of the ruthless king, they will come to rescue each other in ways they cannot yet imagine.
Don’t judge me but Flamecaster is the first book I have read by Cinda Williams Chima. I have other books by her but for some reason have put off actually reading them. Regardless, Flamecaster has motivated me to pick all of them up in the near future and begin working through them. I do have to say, I do kind of wish I had read the Seven Realms series before starting this one but I have a feeling that it might have been a good thing that I didn’t. This book had everything I love about the fantasy genre in it. There are strong, well-developed characters, magic, some swoon, and a fantastic story.
The book dives right into the action and immediately we are introduced to the major players. There is Ash, a healer with a gift for magic who also happens to be the son of someone important to the overall story (there is more to say here but I’m trying to be a little vague). Ash is on a mission for most of the book because the king of Arden has created a lot of pain for the people he loves. I have to say I loved seeing how much Ash cared about his parents and sister and the catalyst that puts him in the situation he is in for most of the book just made me want to hug him.
The other main character is Jenna and she has not had an easy life. Working as a coal miner in a small village, Jenna experiences something that makes the decision to join the rebels standing up to the king super easy. Despite her role within the rebels, Jenna has flown under the radar but now the king is looking for someone who bears something called a magemark…just like she has and when one of the king’s best spies comes to town and locks everyone down, things become very dangerous for Jenna. I liked Jenna. She stands up for herself and is willing to do whatever she needs to in order to protect the people she loves.
When Ash and Jenna finally cross paths, the friendship/relationship that develops is one that I wanted more of. I love the swoony bits and loved seeing how these two went from being strangers to eventually trusting one another to help get them out of the situation they are currently in.
The secondary characters are also very well done and Chima mixes a variety into this story. Lila was fantastic and I hope we get to see more of her in the next book. As odd as it sounds, there are also some blood drinking priests that make things very difficult for Ash along the way and I found this piece of the story very interesting.
I have to say that Chima did a wonderful job of developing this world. Even though I haven’t read the other series, it didn’t feel like I was missing anything. I got just enough backstory to make the connection between the characters and worlds but this book definitely stands well on its own. Add to that, the dialog, the character development and the overall story of the war between the realms and this is a story that had me turning the pages to see what was going to happen next.
So, that’s about all I can say without completely giving the story away. You know me, I hate to spoil it for anyone so just trust me when I tell you that you should try to get your hands on this. If you enjoy fantasy stories at all – I have a feeling you will find that you are unable to put this book down once you begin and to be perfectly honest, once you hit the end, if you are anything like me you will want the next book immediately. If you are looking for a new fantasy series, definitely consider checking this one out. I enjoyed it a lot and can’t wait to see where Chima takes the story, and these characters, in the next book.
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy!