A CIRCLE OF FIRELIGHT by Curtis Edmonds

A CIRCLE OF FIRELIGHT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An adventure in a strange land could prove deadly for two sisters in this thriller.

The life of Ashlyn Revere has stalled. Two months after graduating from college, Ashlyn is still searching for her break in publishing while living at home with her parents and three siblings. One of those is her sarcastic, fragile teen sister, Penny, who has battled cystic fibrosis her entire life. Their world changes forever when Penny stows away in Ashlyn’s car during a trip to a job interview and they are involved in a multicar accident. The sisters are left comatose and hospitalized. Ashlyn awakens in a fantasy realm called Summervale, which is ruled by the Dark Lord. She is befriended by a large black rabbit and later a Scarlet Knight. After being trained by the knight, Ashlyn sets off to rescue Penny. But Penny, who is healthy in Summervale, is content to play house with Mr. Darcy rather than return to the real world. Penny eventually wakes up in the real world but Ashlyn’s condition worsens. After one of the Dark Lord’s underlings reveals to Ashlyn her tenuous state, she opts to raise an army and attack the Dark Lord’s headquarters to gain her freedom. Edmonds (Snowflake’s Chance, 2018, etc.) performs a nifty trick, embedding a family drama in a dream tableau, allowing both Ashlyn and Penny to become heroes in their own stories. The two sisters love and resent each other. Ashlyn always felt responsible for her sickly sister while Penny envied her healthy, athletic sibling. Will love win out? The author effectively alternates between the medical drama in the real world and the fantastical happenings in the sisters’ dreamscapes, heightening the tension. What Edmonds does especially well is to sprinkle fantasy and pop-culture references throughout, making the volume accessible even to readers who aren’t genre fans. What results is a charming tale that allows every reader to smile knowingly.

A sturdy, well-crafted, and vibrant fantasy.

Pub Date: Feb. 20th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-73404-640-3
Page count: 318pp
Publisher: Scary Hippopotamus Books
Program: Kirkus Indie
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