Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher, Harper 360!
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.
This is the first book I've read by the author, and I have a feeling it's going to be the first of many! After reading this I'm thinking I definitely need to read the Seven Realms books! Although if you haven't read them you can easily read this...I did after all! I got completely lost in this book and managed to read it in a few hours, like it managed to tear me away from Harry Potter!
I love fantasy books, and this is one of the best YA ones that I've read in a while. It was complex but still easy to read, it wasn't too complicated to understand, there weren't too many characters to keep track of. While I love Game of Thrones, I feel like I need a chart or something to remember who everyone is, the amount of times a character appears and I'm like...who are you!? Is insane. But I knew who everyone was in this book, I could keep track, I understood everything going on in this book and it was still delightfully complex. There where no overblown descriptions or drawn out dialogue. I completely loved the authors writing style!
The magic system was intriguing and original, and I found myself wanting to know more about it and all the ins and outs of it! It was what intrigued me first when I started reading, swiftly followed by some of the events in the opening chapters. The opening chapters really hooked me in and I found myself completely lost in the book. The author has written the world of the book in such a way that you can get completely lost in it. It's vivid and it comes alive as you read about it, the mental map of the world is getting filled in and you can picture each setting, picture the characters and the buildings and the ship and the creatures.
The world, the story, the characters....all completely sucked me in to the book. I was too busy reading to eat lunch, nor did I realise that it was actually lunch time. I loved reading about the magic, the history of the world, the politics of it, it was all so rich and cleverly written. The different Kingdoms intrigue you and leave you wishing for a glimpse of them! I'm really hoping to get a better look at Ash's kingdom next book because I'm so intrigued from what was said by other characters! Trying to work out who was up to what was not only fun, but also kind of impossible. I found myself being constantly surprised by plot twists and characters not being what I thought they where or not being up to what I thought they where. It was completely fantastic!
Like I said, the plot was complex. There where many threads to it and lots going on. Action, romance, adventure, intrigues and more. The pace was completely perfect, the plot twists ramped up the surprise as we built up towards the end of the book. There's plenty still to be explored in the next book, plenty still to find out, and the set up for the next book has been expertly done without taking away from the story in this book, there's a few threads left tantalisingly dangling ready for the next book.
Character-wise there's a brilliant cast of characters. The King of Arden is suitably evil and villainous. He really has something coming to him. I actually cheered when Jenna punched him! I was so intrigued by Ash's dad from the little we saw of him, it has to be said! Ash/Adrian was so determined to get revenge, he blames himself for things, and he's clever and sneaky and kind of badass with his poison know how. But he does use his healing powers for good! I'm intrigued to see him when he gets back home, to see if he changes or anything. I really liked his character, he was brilliantly written and you can't help but cheer for him and understand his point of view, even if you don't agree with the killing.
Jenna was so brave and courageous, she too is determined to get revenge. She's intelligent and quick thinking, and I completely loved her. She reacted so realistically to the situations she found herself in, and I have my suspicions about what she is because she's definitely something and it'll be interesting to watch it play out over the next books. Lila I wasn't too sure of in the beginning, because she came across as a bit dodgy, but then you get completely surprised by what she's really up to and you suddenly understand her motivations in the beginning. She's completely hilarious, her first scene with Ash cracked me up. She's intelligent, she's badass and she's definitely more than meets the eye. The author certainly knows how to write brilliant female characters who are just as badass as the boys!
Destin is our fourth main character as it were, or at least our fourth POV. He was a surprise, he was a lot nicer than I was expecting and he is definitely up to something I just haven't quite worked out what yet. I'm intrigued to find out more about him in the next book, because he's more than he seems. He doesn't get on with his Dad, he's in some interesting company and he's intriguing. As I've said, we get four POV's and I loved each and every one. Destin's was an opportunity to try to work out what his motivations where and what he was up to, for instance. These different POV's add in threads, give you various characters motivations as well as their own and really rounds out the story. Each had an entertaining narrative and as soon as one person's narrative was done, you kind of wished for it back as you started the next persons and then the process repeated!
There's plenty of other characters as well, Marina in particular became a favourite of mine, although only towards the end because she was by far the most surprising character of the book, I mean I really didn't see it coming with her. More cheering ensued shall we say! I also liked Evan as well, I wasn't too sure of him and his motivations but I did like his character and I was intrigued because he is more than he seems, and the end certainly proved that. But then again everyone is more than they appear by the looks of it!
I loved the developing friendship between Ash and Lila and I'm looking forward to more of it in the next book, they make me chuckle! No romance though please because I'm fully on board the Ash/Jenna ship! I loved the romance, it was so adorable and then it broke my heart and I'm gutted by how things where left and hoping it sorts itself out in the next book! I'm so ridiculously excited for the next book already because I'm hoping to meet more of Ash's family and see more of his home, I'm hoping to find out more about Jenna and what Destin is up to and Evan and there's SO MUCH that I still need to know!
Flamecaster is the start of what's sure to be a brilliant series, it's an incredibly original and imaginative fantasy. The cast of characters are well written and each has their own personality that leaves an impression. There's so much intrigue and action and magic, there's romance threaded through that's secondary and doesn't take over the book, it's hard to stop reading it because you become so engrossed in it!