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ARC These Feathered Flames (4/20/21)



[A quick note: A huge thank you to Inkyard Press for sending me a physical ARC. I was so thrilled to receive a copy. I had to exercise lots of self control not to read this months and months in advance, since I know many publishers prefer the review to be posted closer to the release of the book. Well, I couldnโ€™t wait any longer! So here it is, yโ€™all! Oh, and an we take a moment to appreciate how gorgeous the cover is?!]

โ€œ๐—”๐—น๐—น ๐˜€๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—น๐—ฑ ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฒ ๐˜„๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—น๐—ถ๐˜๐˜๐—น๐—ฒ ๐—ด๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—นโ€™๐˜€ ๐—ฒ๐˜†๐—ฒ๐˜€. ๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ด๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜๐—น๐˜† ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ณ๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฏ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฑ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—บ, ๐—น๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—บ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜€. ๐—” ๐—ฐ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ด๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฑ. ๐—” ๐—ฐ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜, ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฒ ๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐˜†, ๐—”๐˜€๐˜†๐—ฎ ๐˜„๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—น๐—ฑ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฒ.โ€โ€”Alexandra Overy

Magic requires payment. When twin heirs are borne in Tourin, their fates are decided from a young age. Izaveta will remain in the palace learning how to rule, while Asya must become the mysterious firebird to ensure magic remains balanced throughout the world. When the queen suddenly dies, the two sisters are thrust into their roles before they are ready. They must discover who to trust, but more importantly, who killed their mother.


The firebirdโ€™s flames burned brightly in this gorgeous fantasy. Princesses preparing to rule a queendom. Court intrigue. The weight of duty. Twin sister bond. Magic that comes at a price. Betrayal. F/F romance. Beautiful world building....I could go on! This has everything that makes todayโ€™s YA fantasy books so diverse. Asya is skilled with a blade. She understands what it means to exact a price. While Izaveta wields her mind like a weapon. Both sisters are so different but fundamentally similar. This story was beautiful, full of twists and turns, and so many parallels between two sisters with very different upbringings. It illustrates the lengths they will go to protect each other.


The romance was not what I hoped, but thatโ€™s okay. I just like a lot more romance in my books. It was pretty muted in the grand scheme of things. While it is f/f enemies-to-lovers, and enemies-to-lovers is my favorite trope, it just didnโ€™t get much page time. So if youโ€™re looking for a heavier f/f romance....


Can we just take a moment to worship the fact that this is a firebird retelling?! How often do you see this kind of a retelling done so elaborately? The plot was detailed and richly layered. It worked great with the world building. Each sister handled different aspects of the story. Izaveta death with all the politics while Asya dealt with the challenges of being the firebird.


โ€œ๐—๐˜‚๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ฎ๐˜€ ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—บ๐—ผ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ฑ ๐˜๐—ฎ๐˜‚๐—ด๐—ต๐˜ ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ, ๐—œ๐˜‡๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐˜๐—ฎ ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ฑ ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜†๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฒ ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜†๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ผ๐˜„๐—ป๐—ด๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ฒ. ๐—™๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐˜๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐˜„๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ฒ, ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜€ ๐—ป๐—ผ ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฏ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ธ ๐—ป๐—ผ๐˜„. ๐—˜๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐—ถ๐—ณ ๐˜€๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜€ ๐—ป๐—ผ ๐—น๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ด๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜€๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ธ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜„ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐˜๐˜„๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ต๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ต๐˜ ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ต๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐˜„๐—ฒ๐—ฟ.โ€

I loved the level of political intrigue, so elegantly woven into the pages. The moves in Izaveta political game were often turned into analogies of her playing a form of chess, original to this world. It added so much to the world building. And in parallel with that was the magic and how it always required a price to maintain balance.


โ€œ๐—›๐—ผ๐˜„ ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜€ ๐—ถ๐˜ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ฑ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—น๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐˜„๐—ถ๐˜๐—ต ๐—ฎ ๐—บ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ, ๐—ฏ๐˜‚๐˜ ๐˜€๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜„ ๐—œ๐˜‡๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐˜๐—ฎ ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ฑ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฒ ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฒ? ๐—” ๐—ฐ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—บ๐—ผ๐—น๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ฏ๐˜† ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—บ๐—ผ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟโ€™๐˜€ ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ฝ๐˜‚๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€, ๐—ฏ๐˜† ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜†๐—ฎ๐—น๐˜€ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐˜. ๐—”๐˜€๐˜†๐—ฎ ๐—บ๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ต๐˜ ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—ฎ ๐—บ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ต ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐˜€๐—ธ๐—ถ๐—ป, ๐—ฏ๐˜‚๐˜ ๐—œ๐˜‡๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐˜๐—ฎ ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ฑ ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฒ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜โ€”๐—ถ๐—ป ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜†๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ฒ. ๐—ฆ๐—ผ ๐—บ๐˜‚๐—ฐ๐—ต ๐—ฎ ๐—ฝ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—น๐—ณ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐˜€๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ป๐—ผ ๐—น๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ด๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ธ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜„ ๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜„ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฝ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฒ ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฒ ๐—ณ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—บ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ผ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ.โ€

And the sister bond! They were taken from each other at a young age and hadnโ€™t seen each other for seven years. In that time, they both changed. They became so different and unique. Each with her own duty. I enjoyed seeing them navigate the challenges of their sister bond. It was clear that they struggled between duty and their love for each other. This added a lot of internal conflict.

โ€œ๐—œ๐˜‡๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐˜๐—ฎ ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฒ ๐˜„๐—ต๐—ผ ๐˜„๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—น๐—ฑ ๐—ฑ๐—ผ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜†๐˜๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ฝ ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐˜€๐—ฎ๐—ณ๐—ฒ, ๐—ป๐—ผ ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐˜๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐˜€๐˜. ๐—ก๐—ผ๐˜๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ฒ ๐˜€๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜€ ๐—ฏ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ด๐—ฒ๐—ฟโ€”๐—ฐ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—น๐˜† ๐—ป๐—ผ๐˜ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ฒ ๐˜€๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜€ ๐—ธ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ฟโ€”๐—ฏ๐˜‚๐˜ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ฒ ๐˜€๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—น๐—ณ๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ต. ๐—•๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ฒ ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—”๐˜€๐˜†๐—ฎ ๐˜€๐˜‚๐—ณ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ต๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐˜ ๐—บ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ป ๐˜€๐˜‚๐—ณ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—น๐—ณ.โ€

The writing was beautiful, evidenced by so many quotes I piled into this review. I love when prose fits elegantly with the plot and story. I had so much fun reading this one. The chapters were short and often switched between each sister, keeping things fresh. The story captured me and I will definitely be reading the next installment. ๐— ๐—ฌ ๐—ฅ๐—”๐—ง๐—œ๐—ก๐—š: ๐Ÿฐ/๐Ÿฑโญ๏ธ

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