Saturday, March 26, 2016

Review: Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima

Title: Flamecaster (Shattered Realms #1)
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Source: HarperCollins via Edelweiss

The first in a thrilling new four-book fantasy series from New York Times bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima, set in the same world as her beloved Seven Realms series, a generation later

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 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?

Abandoned at birth, Jenna Bandelow was told that 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.

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 by Nara

One thing I completely didn't realise was that the main character of Flamecaster would be someone so closely connected to the characters in the Seven Realms series. I mean, it's pretty obvious once you read the blurb and see Ash's full name, but I hadn't read the blurb and was surprised and delighted to see the connection. Of course, that delight didn't last so long when something rather upsetting happened at the start of the book...but enough about that, and more about Flamecaster itself.

While Flamecaster is somewhat different to the Seven Realms series, one thing that Chima retains is the fantastic characterisation. Almost instantly, you're rooting for the characters she introduces in this book. She's great with the relationship development as well, including Ash and Jenna's romance.

Of course, there's also the very high paced action involved in the plot, making it a difficult book to put down. Even with multiple points of view, Chima is able to keep your complete attention and put together a novel with various twists and turns and leave just enough teasing at the end that you want to get your hands of the next book as soon as possible.

You can probably start this series without having read the Seven Realms and still understand it, but I would definitely recommend against doing that seeing as though this is chronologically set after the original series. It spoils a few things, including basically how that series ends, so if you're thinking of reading both series (which you should, because they're fantastic), then you should read them in publishing order.

Overall: 9/10
Plot: 4.5/5
Romance: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
World Building: 4.5/5
Characters: 5/5
Cover: 5/5