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Fallen Flame (Fallen Flame #1) Kindle Edition
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4 / 5
Nineteen years ago, many years after a veil of fog went up across the ocean and magic vanished from the human lands, a girl with charred skin was born. A girl who looked like she'd been rolled in the dying embers of a fire. Vala is the Captain of the Prince's Guard and when assassin's and courtiers land on Garlin Island the action and intrigue in Fallen Flame really shine.
"I stepped out of the tank, newly shed and exposed. The air kissed my red-orange skin with spiked lips as I watched the old charred flakes settle to the bottom of the tank"
What I loved most about this book is Vala. She such a rarely wonderfully mature character; she wears a hooded cloak to cover her scarred, charcoal face but she is not bitter. She wonders what she is and why she was born, she thinks wistfully about who she might have been, but there are no long self-pitying monologues that I have come to expect from YA characters. The height of Vala's arc is not her putting on a dress and realising that, after all, she's beautiful (a trope I really despise). Neither is she sassy, pushing authority and flouting rules willy-nilly.
"A distant ache panged somewhere inside, the longing to stay with Caulden twisting into something different, something new. A raw need to know more about myself, to see more than this island, to learn more about everything"
Vala is thoughtful and she is, in one word, dutiful. She protects the Prince, she does what she genuinely thinks is best after careful thought. I love my rebellious girls, my Katniss Everdeen's, my girls on fire, but I also love the ones that think, that swallow their pride, that do what is best rather than what they want. Vala is such a refreshing YA character and I loved her. Also she's literally on fire in that when she bathes she goes all ember-y, and she's definitely on fire on the battlefield.
She's even got a romance I like. And. It involves two guys. And I liked it! Let's set the scene: Vala has served Caulden since she was a child. He stands up for her and does not flinch at her skin and Vala is pretty sure that he loves her. She definitely loves him. As I started reading this I admit I rolled my eyes; here we go, I thought, the midnight trysts, the "oh I can't love you but Vala you're so special you're not like other girls I'll give up my crown for you lets run away together. That's not what we get. Instead we get a young woman realising that there are some things you just can't have and a transition is affections that is not so much a love triangle but a realistic progression.
"My world was crumbling, all my years falling around me like heaps of inconsequential rubble. I had been nothing but loyal, honest. Dutiful."
What I didn't like quite so much was the world building, mostly because I didn't really get it. There is a foreign, otherworldly assassin. There's a fog wall across the ocean which humans can't pass through. There's myths and legends and faeries that are all woven throughout the book but never really explained. I could have done with a little more clarity. To offset this, the plot is simple enough: a neighbouring island's Queen and Princess visit hoping to arrange a marriage but there's suspicious goings-on. It's a good, classic plot and Miller's first person writing style is just lovely.
Overall, Fallen Flame is a great fantasy read with a fantastic main character. The secondary characters are a bit lacking, but there's lots of political intrigue, assassins, magic, and sword fights to spice things up!
“My thoughts, my dreams, they had been nothing in comparison. They were a single drop of water, and this, the whole sea.”
I enjoyed the characters and there progression. Some things seemed a little rushed in the beginning but I feel like the pace of the rest of the book was perfect. There was always something happening and the action in this was expertly written. Some of the more shocking moments towards the end really had me gasping and sitting on the edge of my seat. I also feel like the relationships were very well developed in a way that didn't seem to slow or too fast. Even though I do prefer slow-burning romances, and the more character development the better in my opinion, I think that the author was able to convey this while also having a very fast paced plot.
"The feelings that had once lifted me, that I'd once ached for, were like embers in the night fog, drifting into nothing, extinguished."
I liked the simplicity of the writing and how the writing really flowed quickly. I zoomed through it and just wanted to keep reading and reading. I read it so quickly. I believe this is the first book in a trilogy so I will definitely be watching out for the other books because I really want to find out where J.M. Miller will take this. I have a few predictions but with the shocking things that happened at the end of this one, there is not much chance in the series going in the way in which I expect. I just didn't see any of it coming.
"After so many years, your life above ended. Your new life began here, in a beautiful fire unlike any I'd ever seen."
The main problems I had with this is the background information we did get of the world and the things that have happened in the past. I felt like it was similar to a lot of other YA fantasies. However I found the plot to be very original and exciting to read. There are several shocking moments that were very heart-breaking to read throughout the story and as I said before the writing really grips you and pulls you in. I adored how J.M Miller was able to really make me feel for the characters. Overall I really enjoyed this book and I have high expectations for the sequels. I definitely recommend if your looking for a quick fantasy read that has a world that is easy to get immersed in.
A special thank you to J.M. Miller and Netgalley for providing me with an early digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
Book One in the Fallen Flame series, and it is a great start. J. M. Miller has a wonderful imagination to create the wonderful world of Garlin. The setting is very historical with Royalty, Kings, Queens, Princes, and Princess', and of course the King's guard to keep all safe.
On the Eve of the Queen and Princess of Islain's arrival to decide if Prince Caulden is good enough to marry, Vala, the Prince's main guard finds herself coming face to face with an assassin with skin just like hers. From this point on Vala's life takes a drastic turn and she really starts to question her place in Garlin. Looking different from everyone else, with charred skin, Vala has always encountered a certain level of fear. What she never expects to happen is for her best friend, Prince Caulden to turn on her, listening to others and not hearing Vala out. This is Vala's boiling point, and she has finally had enough. Vala now believe there is more to her than meets the eyes and she is bound and determined to uncover these secrets. This story draws on feeling of inadequacy, fear of the unknown, and the different. It also is about just because someone looks different on the outside, doesn't mean you should treat them any differently.
Really good start to a romantic fantasy series, cannot wait to see where Vala and Xavyn story progresses from here.
ARC provided for honest review by Enticing Journey Promotions
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OMG, this book is amazing!
Vala was born scorched with magic in a world where magic was long gone. She was special.Read more
Fallen Flame is about Vala, a girl who when born was touched by magic that shouldn't exist.Read more