When twin heirs are born in Tourin, their fates are decided at a young age. While Izaveta remained at court to learn the skills she’d need as the future queen, Asya was taken away to train with her aunt, the mysterious Firebird, who ensured magic remained balanced in the realm. But before Asya’s training is completed, the ancient power blooms inside her, which can mean only one thing: the queen is dead, and a new ruler must be crowned. As the princesses come to understand everything their roles entail, they’ll discover who they can trust, who they can love—and who killed their mother.
This book sounded firey and that was basically enough for me to know that I wanted to read it. Honestly, I’m realizing it doesn’t take much to draw me into a book. I heard feathers and I heard flames. Firey birds. And that’s enough for me to become invested. But I found out there were sisters and a dead queen and magic that demands a price. All of which sounds amazing, and which had me incredibly eager to see what else this book would hold. Trigger warnings: abuse
I have weird feelings about this book. I felt like most of the time I was reading it was spent wishing for certain things to happen, and then them not happening, but also enjoying what I was reading. Yeah, it was weird. I feel like this book could have been stronger in some places, but I also think that could just be my personal preferences talking. Nevertheless, this was a very, very good book and I really, really liked reading it.
This book had all the politics and lies hidden behind smiles that Game Of Thrones had, but what made this book stand out is that everyone seemed so much more, human. Asya and Izaveta weren’t perfect. They made mistakes and had to make adjustments in their strategies. They felt things so fully and so clearly. They struggle with guilt and the pressure and the weight of their responsibilities on their shoulders. That doesn’t mean they aren’t darn good at what they do. Izaveta’s strategy and the way she can weave words was something that left me wanting to see more to what she can do. Asya’s firey power and her yearning to do the right thing was so starkly portrayed that it left me aching. These two girls are powerful, but they’re also human. The balance was incredibly well done and it made the book all the better.
The one thing I was hoping for more of this book was for a character to lean towards the villain side. I have to be vague because of spoilers, but I wish someone’s darker side was leaned into more. I was fully ready to hate them and to love hating them. I did end up not liking them that much, but in a different way. A softer, more “I don’t really like the way you go about things but I can see where you come from and I think you’re smart but hurting and extremely ambitious” and less “wow its fascinating to see this person cut out someones heart”. But, the ending did intrigue me and I feel like it’s leading into the more villainous side of this character and I am very, very eager to see where it goes.
There is also a f/f romance in this book and just, just. It was the bodyguard/princess trope and the grumpy/sunshine trope and some enemies-to-lovers and just all around incredibly sweet. I basically wanted to hug them the entire time, even when they were threatening each other with swords.
This whole world was so firey. I know that seems like a given, given the title and even the cover, but it truly is firey. Sometimes it’s the burning power of wings made of flame and sometimes it’s the sunlight sparking through the trees and cold air. Sometimes it’s the subtle smile between pretty words to hide the manipulation and sometimes it’s the price that has to be paid for the cost of magic.
There were also BEARS that you can PET. Gosh, am I jealous. Bears are so cute but too dangerous for petting and it makes me sad. But these bears are absolutely adorable.
This book was very character driven for me. I found myself liking characters I wasn’t too fond of. I found myself in love with characters without really realizing it. Even the side characters were ones that I love. Really, my feelings can be describes as wanting to give everybody a hug haha. Two sisters shouldering their own guilt, a guard, a mentor, a sweet scholar, and cabinet members trying to further their own agenda. All of them were fantastic.
There’s also a character who uses Sign Language. I can’t comment on if the rep was good, only that it was there.
All in all, this was a very solid book that I find myself surprised to have liked so much. Human emotion is so prevalent and fire is in every single nook and cranny. There’s also a cat and pettable bears!