BONUS BOOK: Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima

“If wishes were horses even beggars would ride.”

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Fiction

Book Jacket Synopsis: “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? 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. 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.”

Review: Goodness gracious, Flamecaster was almost shockingly boring. The plot sounds interesting enough, but both Ash and Jenna (who are supposed to be “unforgettable characters”) are just plain dull. Ash especially! Jenna at least has some depth to her character, but Ash feels like a hollow caricature of what “boy who has lost his father and is now hellbent on revenge” can and should be. The best part of the novel took place within the last thirty pages, when Jenna finally meets the persistent voice inside her head, Flamecaster (spoiler alert: he’s a dragon). While this could bode well for the second book, I have no interested in returning to the “Shattered Realms” land just to be bored to death again. I also have never seen a more blatant example of instalove than Ash and Jenna, and I’m shocked that reviewers on Goodreads (where Flamecaster has a remarkable rating of 4.1) haven’t caused more of an uproar over this. And I find it hard to believe that if Ash and Jenna truly love each other as much as Chima implies, Ash would experience such little devastation at the presumed death of his beloved at the end of the novel. All in all, the characters (including supplementary ones) were forgettable and the plot was dull.




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