I am a high school student who has always loved to read and lately has learned to improve my writing and I thought I could reflect both and try to share my love of reading. I primarily read Fiction, especially fantasy and science fiction. I am just starting out at reviewing books and as a blogger of any sort so enjoy my reviews and give feedback if you would like. P.S. Hope I'm not spoiling anything
This review is about Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima and appears to be the first book in what will be a new series of books called the Shattered Realms series. This series appears to be a continuation of the 7 Realms stories but much farther down the timeline to where the 7 Realms main characters have aged substantially and the mostly young main group is grown up now. This opens the story up for new main characters, many of which are the children of the main characters of the 7 Realms Series and some are simply new characters. Having read the 7 Realms series as well as The Heir Chronicles and loving both of them I was very excited for this book and was not disappointed.
The story begins in the Fells with Adrian sul’Han aka Ash, our main character. The son of Han Alister, aka Cuff or the main character of the 7 Realms Series, Ash is also a gifted wizard but also a very gifted healer, though his healing career has been limited to animals thus far. We quickly discover that Ash and his family have recently been through the tragedy of losing his sister and heir to the Grey Wolf Throne, Hanalea ana’Raisa or Hana. Ash thought Hana was the perfect fit to be Queen and thinks of himself as the misfit replacement and his family has not been the same since she died fighting Arden. His father Han also now has reason to believe that she was no victim of accident either but she was targeted and that there is a traitor in the Fells who gave information to Arden that lead to Hana’s death. In addition to all this, the Grey Wolves have started appearing to their family, a clear sign that the Grey Wolf line is in danger.
After a meeting with his father, Ash believes that his father is the one in danger but when he goes to warn his father he quickly realizes that he is the real one in danger when he is attacked. In an attempt to save his son Han forces the kidnappers to let Ash go but pays for it with his life. Having just seen his father be murdered and unable to confront his family because he feels responsible, Ash flees the country to Arden to meet up with Taliesin Beaugarde, a Voyageur healer that he hopes will train him at Oden’s Ford. Taliesin agrees to train Ash but what she does not know is that Ash will spend the next few years of his life becoming an incredibly skilled assassin and the bane of Arden, the country that took his father and sister. During this time the Fells and Ash’s family will not know what happened to Ash and he will be presumed dead, another great advantage for an assassin.
Our second main character is Jenna, a girl who has been condemned from her childhood to work in the mines, she is also mage marked, bearing a marked stone that appears to be part of her neck, she and her family have been told this means she is powerful but in great danger. Her life is changed the day that her king, King Gerard, came to her mine and killed her young friend Maggi and her best friend and lover Riley. She tries to kill king Gerard but miraculously survives due to the heroics of Riley and is knocked unconscious. When she awakes she in the presence of Fletcher, a mineworker who moonlights working for the Patriots, an organization dedicated to destroying the King and bringing peace to Arden; from that day forward Jenna is a Patriot. Both pursuing their lines of work trying to dethrone Gerard and either free or destroy Arden they destroy much of value to the country and kill many of its soldiers, yet when they come into the sights of king Gerard and his wizard servant Destin Karn it is not because of their rebellion.
When an attempt on Ash’s life by a priest of the Church of Malthus, the official church of Arden, and its Darian Brotherhood, the anti-wizard brotherhood devoted to killing wizards and sucking their blood, it is because they have discovered his true identity.. Ash escapes with the help of Lila Barrowhill, an unexpected ally who Ash distrusts, rightfully so since it seems she is playing on his side and the side of Destin Karn, so he quickly ditches her. After the attempt on his life though he thinks he has not been raising the stakes enough and decides he can no longer go after the the lackey’s of Arden, he must kill King Gerard. In doing this he travels to Ardenscourt where he will become a master horse healer and eventually the favored healer of the King himself, but still unable to commit his most important murder because of Gerard’s paranoia.
When Delphi, Jenna’s hometown and base of operation, is occupied in search of her it is not because she is a major player with the Patriots but rather because someone is looking for her because of her magemark and King Gerard is eager to claim their bounty. Jenna disregards the advice of her father to leave Delphi while the hunt for her continues; in light of her decision her father gives her the items of her birthright that had been left by her ‘grandmother’. These items are very mysterious for a random orphan; a dragon dagger, a breastplate and an astrolabe pendant all made for a woman. She also is quickly realizing that she has mysterious gifts like the ability to read people on a deep level, absorb magic from wizard attackers and her gift since birth of immunity to heat. Soon after that her father is dead by the hands of Destin Karn’s lackey Clermont and Jenna finds herself in the hands of Destin, dying on her way to Ardenscourt from her mysteriously deadly self inflicted wound from the dragon dagger. This is where she and Ash will meet. Ash will be instructed by Gerard to heal her and will succeed with his powerful healing skills but not before they share a sort of mind melding that will forever link the two of them and leave no doubt to each other who they really are.
The book will quickly escalate as delegates of Queen Celestine, the powerful ruler of the Northern Islands, come to Arden to trade powerful items for Jenna, who appears to be very important to the queen; these powerful items include a dragon. Ash will also be collared by king Gerard and it will turn out that Destin and Lila are more allies than they once appeared and the delegate of Celestine are not her for peaceful negotiations and may not really be as they appear. In a stunning and confusing end to the book Jenna will discover she is more powerful than she realizes and is linked to the dragon that the delegates have brought and Ash has freed and the dragon will save Jenna and take her away, naming her Flamecaster. Ash on the other hand will finally kill Gerard with the help of his wife, Queen Marina but Ash feels no victory because he believes that the dragon he released killed Jenna not saved her. He will return to the Fells thinking his love is dead…