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Flamecaster (Shattered Realms) Hardcover – April 5, 2016
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“A welcome return for loyal fans and a splendid jumping-on point for new ones. Both will be panting for the next installment.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“With full-blooded, endearing heroes, a well-developed supporting cast and a detail-rich setting, Chima explores the lives of two young adults, one at the top of the world and the other at the bottom, struggling to find their place and protect those they love.” (Publishers Weekly for The Demon King)
“Fans will pore over every detail and beg impatiently for the sequel. Riveting.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review) for The Exiled Queen)
“The story lines are intricately plotted and the characters fully realized, even as questions about truth, loyalty, and power are explored.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) for The Exiled Queen)
“Chima navigates with graceful ease through multiple viewpoints and intricately realized settings united only by a subtle current of magic. Every character is both likable and flawed, written with such clear-eyed compassion that it impossible not to sympathize with all their competing goals.” (Kirkus Reviews for The Gray Wolf Throne)
“Chima’s tour-de-force world-building keeps readers apt, with cutthroat action sequences running parallel to the political ones.” (Horn Book Magazine for The Gray Wolf Throne)
“Betrayal, war, and the faith of lovers all come around to a glorious conclusion as Chima weaves together her geopolitical, magical, romantic, and even mythical themes on an epic scale.” (The Horn Book for The Crimson Crown)
From the Back Cover
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 one day 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 curse. Though Jenna doesn’t know why she’s being hunted, she knows that she can’t get caught.
DESTINY’S FIERY HAND
Thrown together by chance and joined by their hatred of the ruthless king, Ash and Jenna 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.
A wizard PRINCE in exile, thirsting for REVENGE.
A girl with a curse, striking back against a RUTHLESS king.
Together, they will burn the kingdom to its rotten core.
Praise for Cinda Williams Chima
“Cinda Williams Chima’s worlds bristle with magic, romance, and intrigue. She delivers poignant, sweeping fantasy with a deft hand.”—Leigh Bardugo, New York Times bestselling author of Shadow and Bone
“Vividly drawn and lusciously executed.”—VOYA on The Exiled Queen
“Fans will pore over every detail and beg impatiently for the sequel. Riveting.”—Kirkus Reviews on The Exiled Queen (starred review)
“Indispensable.”—Kirkus Reviews on The Gray Wolf Throne (starred review)
“Simply brilliant.”—Kirkus Reviews on The Crimson Crown (starred review)
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Forgive me for comparing Chima’s two series, but since they are in chronological order, it makes sense that I make comparisons. The Seven Realms series was a triumph: it put Chima near the top of my auto-buy authors list just because it was so magnificent. In content and technique alone, it is arguably one of the greatest young-adult fantasy series at the moment. And perhaps one of the reasons why The Seven Realms just soared above and beyond its peers was due to the tremendous characterization Chima employed. Unfortunately, Flamecaster lacks the level of depth that I’ve come to expect of Chima’s characters.
I have always insisted that Han Allister is one of the greatest heroes I have ever read: a former thief lord and murderer, who grew up on the streets in a poverty-stricken area, who is dangerous and lethal but ultimately decent at heart. To make him the hero of the series was a ballsy move, and I admired Chima for it. She does the same in this one: she takes a character who is unlikely to be a hero and makes him the protagonist. Adrian is a healer; he knows very little of fighting or politics or the nitty-gritty of this world torn by strife and war. In the first few pages, I was excited to see who Adrian would navigate through this cut-throat world as a healer, but I found myself sorely missing Han’s level of intellect and danger. Because while Adrian being the protagonist is unexpected, I didn’t feel that he deserved that title. Han was a bad-ass, in every sense of the word. You knew he could do something fantastic with something very little, and it was always believable because of who he was. Yet, Adrian didn’t draw me in.
In fact, none of the characters drew me in the way they did in Chima’s previous series. I found myself wishing that the secondary characters were the protagonists instead because they were more interesting. Destin Karn, especially, was a multi-layered character who has something more to him that I’m sure Chima will reveal in the next book. I looked forward to his chapters more than the protagonists’, and that doesn’t sound too promising. Moreover, the romance between the protagonists felt so rushed: they meet, and within a few pages, they’re in love. I don’t think romance is Chima’s strongest feat- it didn’t do much for me in her previous series either, but coupled with the fact that I didn’t care for the protagonists, I found myself skimming much of the ‘romantic’ scenes.
But despite all this, Flamecaster is a solid start to the series from a storytelling viewpoint. The world is richer than ever with vivid descriptions and the portrayal of the intricacies of war and politics. We encounter a new area that we hadn’t previously explored in the Seven Realms, and new magic has come into play. The stakes seem to be higher in this series as well, which tells me that there’s going to be a lot more action in this series. But I won’t lie when I say wow, I miss Han Allister too freaking much to be fully invested.
Flamecaster is one of those stories that has everything I want in a fantasy. This story had many layers, well drawn characters, descriptive world building, magic, dragons, and a promise of more to come. Yes, I did say dragons. There is a bloody dragon in this story! I am scared of dragons in fiction, honestly. Making them seem real is difficult and not everyone can pull it off. *Adds Cinda Williams Chima to the very short list of people that can make a dragon seem real.*
The beginning of this book was addictive and the action didn’t let up throughout the story. I loved the descriptive writing and the promise of magic, so I became hooked right away. The writing in this story is amazing. Seriously, I am blown away. The world building is so exciting. We get to see a snippet of the Seven Realms. Ash is in a school in Oden’s Ford, then he travels The West Road with Lila. He makes his way to Ardenscourt. In Ardenscourt, we explore everything from the dungeons to the tower. Meanwhile, Destin gets sent to Deliphi. Jenna is a resident there. Destin is on a mission to bring Jenna to Ardencourt. Then Ash and Jenna meet… (there’s also a map if you want to follow along like I did)
Adrian sul’Han (aka Ash) is on a mission to kill the King of Arden. Ash is a mage and the son of Han? (don’t fault me for not knowing who Han is people, I am new to this author)
Jenna Bandelow (aka Flamecaster) was raised by step-parents. She was abandoned by her own parents because of a mage mark on her neck basically targeting her. She is immune to magic and everyone is looking for her.
Ash + Jenna.
Those are the main characters. We also get a perspective from Lila Barrowhill, who is on a mission to protect Ash. She might be my favorite character b/c she is a smuggler/black-marketer. Lila is a bad ass. I want to learn more about her. The other character who gets some attention is Destin Karn. He is a character working intelligence directly for the king. I am not sure how he is going to fit into all of this because his loyalty seems to be to the king of Arden, but we’ll see how he plays out.
This is my first book by Cinda Williams Chima, but it won’t be my last. I am looking into getting every single book this author has ever penned and adding it to my collection. I really want to read the Seven Realms series now. Plus, it will give me something to do while I count the minutes to the sequel for this book. Don’t try to tell me not to. I know a lot of people said I couldn’t read The Grisha Trilogy after I read Six of Crows and I did it and enjoyed all of them.
If you are a fan of YA fantasy, you need to read this book. That is all.