FLAMEFALL

From the Aurelian Cycle series , Vol. 2

Exciting aerial battles, political machinations, and a bit of romance make this hard for readers to put down.

With war on the horizon and civil unrest brewing at home, what options are left for the dragonriders of Callipolis?

Picking up where Fireborne (2019) left off, the dragonlords are eager to start their siege of Callipolis while the Guardians struggle with famine and unrest on their own shores. As Firstrider, Antigone sur Aela is responsible for leading the charge, but with her best rider, Lee sur Pallor, suffering from flameshock, she must change her strategy. As things unfold, Lee and other riders begin to ask questions: Hunger, rationing, and withheld information make them wonder if maybe the rebels are right. In New Pythos, the old regime’s dragons have sparked and are ready for war. But will the cruelty of the dragonlords push the humble-riders to rebel? Can the Guardians and the humble-riders work together to build something new? Class rather than race is significant in Callipolis; those who test into Gold or Silver have resources that Bronze and Iron classes can never dream of. While framed as equity, this doesn’t sit well with those who remember what came before and is the catalyst for unrest. Point-of-view chapters show complexities, provoking readers to think. In addition to the central will-they, won’t-they love story, there is a lovely subplot with a same-sex, cross-class romance.

Exciting aerial battles, political machinations, and a bit of romance make this hard for readers to put down. (author’s note) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-51824-2

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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DIVINE RIVALS

Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy.

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A war between gods plays havoc with mortals and their everyday lives.

In a time of typewriters and steam engines, Iris Winnow awaits word from her older brother, who has enlisted on the side of Enva the Skyward goddess. Alcohol abuse led to her mother’s losing her job, and Iris has dropped out of school and found work utilizing her writing skills at the Oath Gazette. Hiding the stress of her home issues behind a brave face, Iris competes for valuable assignments that may one day earn her the coveted columnist position. Her rival for the job is handsome and wealthy Roman Kitt, whose prose entrances her so much she avoids reading his articles. At home, she writes cathartic letters to her brother, never posting them but instead placing them in her wardrobe, where they vanish overnight. One day Iris receives a reply, which, along with other events, pushes her to make dramatic life decisions. Magic plays a quiet role in this story, and readers may for a time forget there is anything supernatural going on. This is more of a wartime tale of broken families, inspired youths, and higher powers using people as pawns. It flirts with clichéd tropes but also takes some startling turns. Main characters are assumed White; same-sex marriages and gender equality at the warfront appear to be the norm in this world.

Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-85743-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

RUTHLESS VOWS

From the Letters of Enchantment series , Vol. 2

The well-paced romantic tension is a highlight of this enjoyable duology closer.

Even a war driven by gods can’t sever communication between journalist lovers Iris and Roman in this steampunk-adjacent romantic adventure.

A prologue sets the scene: Dacre, a god strummed to sleep by magic in Divine Rivals (2023), will not slumber forever. His willingness to wage war to acquire more powerful magic leads him to lay waste to entire towns, and Inkridden Tribune journalist Iris Winnow and war correspondent Roman Kitt can no longer be assured the other is safe—or even still alive. In Iris’ world of cigarette smoke, copper pipes, and driving goggles, colleagues affectionately call each other by their last names, watch each other’s backs, and face danger on the front lines. Though Underling Correspondent Roman is traveling with Dacre’s army, he questions why he was healed of his grievous wounds, while at the same time, he gradually recovers memories of Iris and recalls that she was special to him. Their magically connected typewriters allow for the rediscovery of their love and for communicating potentially deadly information about the invasion of Hawk Shire. The story primarily unfolds from Iris’ and Roman’s viewpoints, and while the prose occasionally uses well-worn phrases, Anglophiles will particularly enjoy the worldbuilding, and returning readers will welcome appearances from Capt. Keegan Torres; her wife, Marisol; and Dacre’s archnemesis—and wife—the goddess Enva. Main characters present white.

The well-paced romantic tension is a highlight of this enjoyable duology closer. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9781250857453

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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