Genre: Fantasy, YA
Source: a copy in exchange for an honest review
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Adrian sul’Han, known as Ash, is a trained healer with a powerful gift of magic—and a thirst for revenge. Ash is forced into hiding after a series of murders throws the queendom into chaos. Now Ash is closer than he’s ever been to killing the man responsible, the cruel king of Arden. As a healer, can Ash use his powers not to save a life but to take it?
Abandoned at birth, Jenna Bandelow was told that the mysterious magemark on the back of her neck would make her a target. But when the King’s Guard launches a relentless search for a girl with a mark like hers, Jenna assumes that it has more to do with her role as a saboteur than any birth-based curse. Though Jenna doesn’t know why she’s being hunted, she knows that she can’t get caught.
Eventually, Ash’s and Jenna’s paths will collide in Arden. Thrown together by chance and joined by their hatred of the king, they will come to rescue each other in ways they cannot yet imagine. Set in the world of the acclaimed Seven Realms series a generation later, this is a thrilling story of dark magic, chilling threats, and two unforgettable characters walking a knife-sharp line between life and death.
Flamecaster is about a Prince hellbent on getting revenge for his father’s death and an orphan girl with a secret so hidden not even she really knows what it is, and how during their separate adventures, their stories intertwine.
Flamecaster is full of magic, Ash himself is a mage and healer and one of the best at that. His main goal is to kill the King of Arden – a King who is trying his hardest to destroy Ash’s family because Ash’s mother, the Queen of the Fells, refused to marry him. After his father is murdered, Ash runs away because he feels guilty and enrols in Oden’s Ford, a healing academy. But when the school is attacked in what seems to be an attempt to find him, he decides to find a way into the King’s circle and soon his only goal is to kill the King, even if it means losing his own life.
I liked the writing in Flamecaster, and though the story focuses more on Ash, I instantly loved Jenna’s introduction to the story and when there were a couple of sudden, horrific deaths at the beginning, I thought it was setting the pace for the rest of the story. Except…. it wasn’t. After the first few major deaths, the story began to drag out until about 250 pages in when Ash and Jenna finally meet. There were long stretches of time during the story when nothing much was really happening and I feel like it could’ve been a lot shorter than the 535 pages it was and still made the same impact.
Another thing I didn’t really enjoy much of was the romance. I feel like it was too soon, Ash and Jenna had only met maybe three times? before he was already admitting to himself that he loved her and was willing to stay alive because of her. Not because of his mother, or his little sister who he hadn’t seen in years. But because of a girl he’d just met.
I think the main thing that kept me going throughout the story was to see whether Ash actually did end up defeating the King, and I have to say that I did enjoy how that played out in the end, and also the mystery behind Jenna’s magemark. But I feel like the story ended with more questions than answers. From the very beginning, Jenna was hiding her magemark and after 500 pages you’d think we’d finally be told what it actually means but nope. Instead, we do find out some of the qualities she possesses but I feel like this confused me even more. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT SHE IS.
I liked the plot but I didn’t feel that emotionally attached to the characters. I mean, I liked them… but I felt sort of detached from their pain and I feel like there were so many other characters we could’ve learnt a lot more about, like the Queen herself but that being said, this is only the first book – though I believe that are other books set in this world – in this series and I guess we’ll learn more as we go along.
I feel like because of all of the hype surrounding this book, my expectations were a little high which may have dampened my experience. The story overall was a great adventure, but I think it could’ve done without the romance element and been a *bit* shorter. I’m not sure yet whether I’ll be reading the rest of the series, because I do want to know what happens to Ash and Jenna and who this mysterious Queen Celestine, who literally came out of nowhere, is… I guess we’ll have to see closer to the sequel!
Favourite quote: “Hope is the thing that can’t be reined in by rules or pinned down by bitter experience. It’s a blessing and curse.”