Hey all, Dani here.
Good morning everyone. I have a bonus post for you today. Honestly it’s the only way that I can keep up with reviewing all of the books that I’m currently reading and that I have read before. It’s still going to take me a little while to catch up with my backlist. But right now I am still trying to hold myself to talking about newer or upcoming releases. There are so many authors out there who had their book tours and book events canceled because of the global pandemic, and I want to give them and their books just a little more attention.
All right, so today’s first review is a book that I was definitely excited to read, so let’s go ahead and jump into the review.
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: March 3, 2020
ISBN: 1492672661 (ISBN13: 9781492672661)
Many years ago, the magical Kingdom of Avalon was left desolate and encased in ice when the evil Snow Queen waged war on the powerful country. Its former citizens are now refugees in a world mostly devoid of magic. Which is why the crown prince and his protectors are stuck in…Arizona.
Prince Alexei, the sole survivor of the Avalon royal family, is in hiding in a town so boring, magic doesn’t even work there. Few know his secret identity, but his friend Tala is one of them. Tala doesn’t mind—she has secrets of her own. Namely, that she’s a spellbreaker, someone who negates magic.
Then hope for their abandoned homeland reignites when a famous creature of legend, and Avalon’s most powerful weapon, the Firebird, appears for the first time in decades. Alex and Tala unite with a ragtag group of new friends to journey back to Avalon for a showdown that will change the world as they know it.
Rating: 5 stars
Okay, first off, this is a contemporary fantasy, and it blends so many cultural and historical magical mythologies and magical lore. It can be disorienting for some. In fact I have seen some reviews from people who found it all to be too much and they were confused a lot of the time. I love different mythologies and lore, so this was definitely a book that was up my alley, so to speak.
Can I just say that I am loving that we are getting more YA books (contemporary, fantasy, etc) that have the parents/aunts and uncles/grandparents/etc present? It’s pretty darn great. I love Tala’s extended family, even though some are a cultural family and not a blood-related one. Oh, plus, the nice focus on food. I am a sucker for any book that wants to describe delicious meals for me. Though they do definitely make me hungry. Worth it though.
Tala’s magic or anti-magic as it were, is pretty interesting, and I’m actually glad that she was still in training on how to use it. I like when we get to see a character struggle and learn and grow. Her mom might be an expert with their magic ability which is actually a magic cancelling curse, but Tala is still young and hasn’t spent as much time mastering the talent.
Also, I’m a big fan of books that have an adventuring party. There was a nice group cast of characters, and it was fun to go on a quest with them. Oh, is this where I should mention the diversity of the cast? Because aside from them being from different nationalities and cultures, one of the group is also non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. Rin Chupeco does a great job of having characters of all walks of life and a great breadth of diversity without it seeming at all forced or trying to prove anything. The characters are just existing there, much as the diversity of the non-book world is just there and existing.
I read this book really quickly, and was very swept away in it. I’m very much looking forward to reading the sequel. There were some fascinating revelations in this book, and I’m curious how all the decisions and the consequences of those choices reverberates through the rest of the series.
Where to Get a Copy
You can also check with your local library.