HEART OF FLAMES by Nicki Pau Preto


From the "Crown of Feathers" series, volume 2
Age Range: 12 - 18
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As war threatens on the horizon, Phoenix Rider Veronyka fights to control her magic and learn the truth about her identity in this second installment of Pau Preto’s (Crown of Feathers, 2019) fantasy series.

Power hungry Lord Rolan sends soldiers into Pyra to provoke the Phoenix Riders into battle and force the Golden Empire’s Grand Council into declaring war. Now reunited with her phoenix and no longer in disguise, Veronyka hopes to prove herself a Master Rider and join the action. In the midst of her training, Veronyka strains to control her shadow magic, a secret power that gives her a mental link to Val, the reincarnation of the ruthless Ashfire queen. Shutting down her magic is the only way Veronyka knows to protect herself, but opening her mind may be the path to learning about her past. Slow-burning romance simmers between two pairings, one of which is a same-gender relationship between two boys. Historical documents between chapters expand on the world and create suspenseful foreshadowing. However, the continued cisnormativity throughout the book detracts from the otherwise high quality of the prose, deeply developed world, page-turning plot, and thrilling, cliffhanger ending. Veronyka has golden-brown skin, and Rolan is white.

A fiery sequel that yearns for more. (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 11th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-5344-2465-4
Page count: 640pp
Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2019