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Embers (Abiassa's Fire) Paperback – October 16, 2015
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
About the Author
Ronie Kendig is an award–winning, bestselling author who grew up an Army brat. She married a veteran, and together their lives are never dull with four children and two dogs―a Maltese Menace and a retired military working dog. Ronie's degree in Psychology has helped her pen novels of intense, raw characters.
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Ronie Kendig earned her author stripes crafting rapid-fire, take-no-prisoners military suspense, and she has several series' in today's marketplace. With "Embers", she makes her high fantasy debut, giving us the first volume in what promises to be the epic saga of "Abiassa's Fire".
For an author to strike the literary nail on the head within this genre, several elements have to come together in a perfect reading storm. In my humble opinion, not only does "Embers" fire on all fictional cylinders, but this novel quickly moves Ronie to the head of the fantasy class of authors!
World building? Check. Imagine a world in which those in power can wield the power of fire, and engage with those known as accelerants, and spark people to get their attention? And that's just the surface: wait until you meet your first raqine!
Strong characters? Check. From Prince Haegan, forever paralyzed due to an unknown poison, to his beloved sister who will do anything to heal her brother, to the band of wacky and hearty misfits the prince encounters on his coming of age journey, every single person you'll meet will intrigue you and capture a piece of your heart.
Plausible story? Check. As always, a prophecy is at the root of the story, but discovering the prophecy is only half the fun! Defeating enemies as wide and varied as the ones Ronie gives us? Yeah, that's the other half (so want to meet a Jujak!)
This book clocks in at just under 500 pages, and not one page nor word is wasted as the story unfolds. Yes, a lot of unfamiliar names and locations pop up, but the reader learns along with the prince as you both discover this fantastical world together.
Cliff hanger? Unfortunately, check and check!! I can barely stand the wait until the second volume arrives! But "Embers" is a novel I'll be reading multiple times, just for the joy of encountering this magical, fantastical world again and again.
My thanks to Ronie for an advance copy of "Embers" in exchange for an honest review. This high fantasy cannot get a high enough endorsement from yours truly. I envy your first read of "Embers"...I truly do.
What I liked:
The world building is amazing. There are so many details but the reader isn't overwhelmed with them. You can tell that the author has only scratched the surface with what she knows about this world. No backstory dumps. No excessive explanation.
The characters: Heagan, Thiel, Drracien. Although my two favorites are probably Thurig and Tili. They don't enter until later in the story, which is a shame.
The theme: Good vs. Evil with an emphasis on obedience. I can't help but see parallels to the messiah's coming in a Revelation-like prophecy.
Raqine - I so totally want one. Cool creatures.
What I didn't like:
There was so much going on that I had a hard time getting grounded in the world. I think the author was trying to keep the mystery aspect going to keep up reader engagement, but it almost worked against her. At 30% into the book, I almost gave up reading it because I had spent a lot of time confused and was having trouble keeping some of the characters straight. Even at the end of the book, there were questions left unanswered. I can only presume they will be cleared up through the rest of the series.
And I didn't like that the parts written from the bad guy's perspective were in third person present while the rest of the book was written in third person past tense. That's a preference thing.
Still, I'm giving the book 4 stars because I did enjoy it and I'm glad I didn't put it down. I look forward to reading the rest of the series to get those lingering questions answered.