From Dust, A Flame by Rebecca Podos

*Spoiler free*

Thank you so much to Balzer + Bray and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

Hannah’s whole life has been spent in motion. Her mother has kept her and her brother, Gabe, on the road for as long as she can remember, leaving a trail of rental homes and faded relationships behind them. No roots, no family but one another, and no explanations. All of that changes on Hannah’s seventeenth birthday when she wakes up transformed, a pair of golden eyes with knife-slit pupils blinking back at her from the mirror—the first of many such impossible mutations. Promising that she knows someone who can help, her mother leaves Hannah and Gabe behind to find a cure. But as the days turn to weeks and their mother doesn’t return, they realize it’s up to them to find the truth. What they discover is a family they never knew, and a history more tragic and fantastical than Hannah could have dreamed—one that stretches back to her grandmother’s childhood in Prague under the Nazi occupation, and beyond, into the realm of Jewish mysticism and legend. As the past comes crashing into the present, Hannah must hurry to unearth their family’s secrets—and confront her own hidden legacy in order to break the curse and save the people she loves most, as well as herself.

I’m not sure what drew me to this book. It might have been the title, it might have been the cover, both of which are amazing. And it sounded really, really good. A girl who has spent her entire life moving wakes up one day to find herself with eyes with knife slit pupils, and through this, discovers a history she didn’t even know she had. It sounded really, really good, and I was very intrigued.

This book is so, so good. There are so many wows about it.

The writing is one of the things I loved most about it. It’s hard to describe, but it’s just GOOD. It feels comforting in way, and I know that’s weird, but it’s true. It took hurt and pain and so much emotion and wrapped it up in love.

This is a book about stories, stories within stories within stories. It’s a tale that travels through generations, three stories unfolding at once, and the pain that ripples across them, but also the love that is cemented into every action. The way that this book three generations, three people, and wove their stories together into one, highlighted their connection, was truly wonderful. The parallels and how it was crafted was truly top notch. Hannah is the main character, but the others still felt like fully fleshed out, real people. I felt like they got their own stories, even as they were being told within the overarching plot. And for me, that’s a big thing! I’m usually not a fan of these types of interwoven plots. And this one was one of my favorite things about the book!

The familial love was another thing I loved. It’s not an easy familial love. There is so much deep rooted pain, and it’s a lot to grapple with. The relationships aren’t always steady, but that’s part of the beauty of it. The messy, complicated relationships, and the messy, complicated feelings. And the love that runs underneath everything, because they truly do love each other. It’s a book with that kind of love at it’s heart, and the hard decisions that sometimes comes with it, but how they love is still there regardless.

And the sibling relationship, oh my gosh. I love Gabe so much. He is amazing, and I want a Gabe book.

This book is also super queer! There is a f/f relationship and I love it a whole lot! It discussed sexuality subtly, which I thought was amazing. It’s not the biggest thing going on, but it’s still there.

This book is also extremely Jewish. It discusses faith, belief, and Jewish myths. Hannah grapples with her faith and the identity that she didn’t even know she had. I can’t comment on it other than it was there, but I did want to mention it because it’s what this book is all about.

Overall, I adored this book. I fell in love with all the characters, I loved the interwoven stories, I loved the discovery of faith and belief and identity, I loved the sibling relationship. Really, it’s very good.

From Dust, A Flame comes out February 8, 2022! You can add it on Goodreads and pre-order a copy in the meantime!

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