Thursday, 16 June 2016

ARC Review: Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima.

I am a fantasy lover through and through but wow did this book blow me away! Huge thanks to Alice at Harper/Harper360 for my ARC; this however in no way affects my opinion or rating.

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.

Flamecaster contains everything I ever wanted in a YA fantasy. This is a riveting, action packed story set in a beautiful, evocative world and filled to the brim with smart, strong and engaging characters. Racing through it in four days, I really struggled to tear my hands from the pages; it was that good.

Although I own The Warrior Heir, Chima was a brand new author to me. It was the plot that drew me to request this book but it was Chima's writing - the style, pace and rotating POV's - and her ability to weave multiple character and story arcs so effortlessly that has me coming back for more. Simply put, Flamecaster was not only enjoyable to read, but beautiful. The twists and turns - the ending especially - left me breathless, and anxiously awaiting the sequel, but it was the characters that truly kept me glued to the pages.

I personally think that a good character is not just entertaining and intriguing, but relatable. I find it very hard to empathise and engage with a character if I can't relate to them, and so - being family orientated myself - one of my favourite aspects is family driven characters. From Kell and Errin to Clary and Darrow, family themes and motivations are at the heart of many of my favourite books. Flamecaster - its characters driven by such themes - now joins those ranks.

Jenna was by far my favourite. Driven by her love for her friends and father yet haunted by her origins, she was the perfect combination; both relatable yet fantastical. I found myself cheering for her success from the start, and her romance with Ash was perfect; equal parts sweet and sassy.

Ash too was fabulous and has definitely been added to the list of book boyfriends. Kind hearted but with a simmering darkness, and a royal Prince with an affinity for animals, I was swooning from the get go.

Last but not least, street smart Lila had my head spinning, opinions about her constantly shifting. The perfect finale in our triquetra  of heroes, I'm eager to hopefully learn a lot more about her in future books; fingers crossed.

Simply put, Flamecaster was perfect. Just when I thought I had everything figured out Chima threw in one last curveball.

I cannot fault it one ounce.

If you're a fan of fantasy, especially Tolkien, Raasch and Maas, do yourself a favour and go buy this book. If you somehow regret doing so after reading, I'll (metaphorically) eat my shelves!

Thanks for reading!

Holly @TheArtsShelf

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