Flare is power. With only a drop of flare, one can light the night sky with fireworks . . . or burn a building to the ground — and seventeen-year-old Ingrid Ellis wants her fair share. Ingrid doesn’t have a family fortune, monetary or magical, but at least she has a plan: Rise to the top on the arm of Linden Holt, heir to a hefty political legacy and the largest fortune of flare in all of Candesce. Her only obstacle is Linden’s father who refuses to acknowledge her. So when Senator Holt announces his run for president, Ingrid uses the situation to her advantage. She strikes a deal to spy on the senator’s opposition in exchange for his approval and the status she so desperately craves. But the longer Ingrid wears two masks, the more she questions where her true allegiances lie. Will she stand with the Holts, or will she forge her own path?
I’ve wanted to read this book since I learned it was about a terrible girl, hungry for the things she does not have. The cover also absolutely enchanted me, because seriously, it is gorgeous. Throw in some cooking the rich, and I was completely ready to read it as soon as possible.
This book is hungry, about wanting and aching for things that seem to be just out of your reach. It doesn’t hide from that want, the kind that feels like a need, and how it pushes and pushes, and sometimes it leads bad decisions and actions that hurt. It doesn’t mean that that want is consuming, or that it is the only thing there is, because there is so much more outside of it, and wanting isn’t even a bad thing. Wanting is human, but it is what you want that tips the scales.
Oh, I adore Ingrid. She’s angry and determined and hungry for the power she has not had for most of her life. She’s scrappy and headstrong and so, so wonderful. She’s trying to grapple with her place in the world, and where she wants her place to be. She’s trying to grapple with a world that has hurt her, and continues to hurt her. She feels, and the way she feels, and the way she is allowed to feel, it was just amazing.
Really, I fell in love with all the characters. Alex, oh I adore Alex and his drive and his humor and his inability to sit correctly. He’s also trans and oh my gosh, I wanted to cry over that I loved it so much. I adored all the side characters, the weird little group that Ingrid stumbles her way into. They’re all weird, and extremely dedicated, and they’re all so, so great.
The magic system was also really cool! It was incredibly intricate, and I loved the way it seemed to be a type of currency in what it can do and what it signifies.
Overall, this book is firey. It’s about want and the drive the evokes, and the structures in which the powerful operate and how that affects everybody they deem beneath them. It’s about a girl trying to find her place in the world, and craves the power she knows she can climb too. It’s brilliantly written, and so, so good.