Friday, April 8, 2016

Title: Flamecaster
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Narrator(s): Kim Mai Guest
Series: Shattered Realm, book #1
Length: 13 hrs 31 mins
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Source: ARC received from publisher, purchased audiobook
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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The first in a thrilling new four-book fantasy series from New York Times bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima, set in the same world as her beloved Seven Realms series, a generation later

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 book was phenomenal...everything I was hoping for and then some. I had an advance copy, but I listened to the Seven Realms series on audio, and it just felt right to wait for the audio for this book, too. That being said, I don't know that it actually made much difference since this is a new narrator -- one I'm familiar with but new to this author's work, at any rate. The Seven Realms books are some of my absolute favorite fantasy novels, even if I only did just discover them last year. But now I know what I was missing all that time and I can't be persuaded otherwise.

But if this series continues in this vein, it might even surpass the Seven Realms series as far as favorites go. I loved every second of it...even the heartbreaking ones. Something happens at the beginning of this book that devastated me nearly to the point that I stopped reading, but if you haven't read the Seven Realms series, it probably won't affect you nearly as much. If you have read that series, then you'll know what that generation's characters have already survived and that you'll just need to soldier through like I did. I can't say the pain is worth it, per se, but this situation is in keeping with the devastation of past events and it felt...fitting, at least.

Raisa's thoughtless words and actions as a young woman in an emotionally charged situation have now come back to haunt her and her family 25 years later. But this is not Raisa's story any longer. Flamecaster features a new cast of characters from the next generation of the Seven Realms and I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I MIGHT ACTUALLY LOVE THEM EVEN MORE!!! I didn't think it was possible to love another set of characters as much as I do Han, Raisa, Fire Dancer, Cat, Amon, and all the rest, but I was wrong. In fact, it was hard to separate the two series because these are the progeny of those beloved characters, and at times, I could see hints of their parents in them.

Once again -- or maybe I should say, as usual -- the kingdoms and queendoms of the Seven Realms are on the brink of war. The last 25 years haven't been peaceful but tensions have escalated in recent years and an old foe would like nothing more than to make the Fells his own. I love how Chima deftly weaves the narratives of her characters to show different aspects of the coming showdown without ever revealing too much or risking her story becoming predictable. Sure, I managed some theories while reading, but a lot of times that was after rewinding the audio and playing it back several times to make sure I'd heard a detail correctly. I can almost guarantee that the casual reader will find this complex story anything but predictable.

Flamecaster includes all of the elements I enjoyed from the Seven Realms books: wizardry, conspiracy, rebellion, fighting, and of course, romance. But there's one component that made this story even more awesome, and it's one that all stories need: MOAR DRAGONS. The introduction of this glorious specimen is what prompted some of my prognostication, and if those theories pan out as I expect they might, I can absolutely promise you this series will become my new favorite from Cinda Williams Chima.

I was legitimately blown away by this new addition to the Seven Realms world. I kind of wish I had waited until all books were released in this spinoff series, like I did with the original series, because it's going to be torture waiting for the next book, but at the same time, I know I'll be re-reading this book again and again, just as I've made a habit of re-reading the origin series. I don't think you can call yourself a true fan of YA fantasy novels without a Cinda Williams Chima novel under your reading belt, so if you find yourself lacking in that particular area, I can think of no better place to start than with Flamecaster. (I'm sort of kidding...about the first part. You should absolutely pick up this book if you have even one tiny, fantasy-loving bone in your body.)

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

New York Times bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima comes from a long line of fortune-tellers, musicians and spinners of tales. She began writing romance novels in middle school, which were often confiscated by her teachers.

Her Heir Chronicles series (magic comes to contemporary Ohio) comprises The Warrior Heir, The Wizard Heir, The Dragon Heir, The Enchanter Heir, and the Sorcerer Heir.

Chima's Seven Realms series launched with The Demon King in 2009; The Exiled Queen in 2010. The Gray Wolf Throne in 2011, and The Crimson Crown (2012.).

Her Shattered Realms quartet launches with Flamecaster in April 2016.

Chima is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the University of Akron. Chima is an active member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. She has been a workshop leader, panelist, and speaker at writing conferences, including the Northern Ohio SCBWI Conference, the Western Reserve Writers’ Conference, and the World Fantasy Convention. She frequently speaks to young writers and readers at schools and libraries nationwide.

Chima lives in Ohio with her family, and is always working on her next novel.

Find Cinda:

WebsiteTwitter | Goodreads


  1. I need to read this it sounds amazing! Although I still want to read the Seven Realms series first! Lovely review :)

    1. Personally, I would recommend reading it in that order, too, but you could technically read this without having read it first. will mean more to you if you read the Seven Realms series first. I hope you love them both, though!

  2. I have no words -- thank you! And, trust me--there will be much moar DRAGON in Shadowcaster. More and more and more...

    1. BEST. NEWS. EVER!!! :) I am seriously in awe of you! *bows down*

  3. I've always wanted to try this series, so thanks for giving me a reason to finally try the books!

    1. MY PLEASURE!!! :D :D :D I hope you love them!!!


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