Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima
|Author:||Cinda Williams Chima|
|Formatt:||Hardcover / Paperback / Audiobook / Ebook|
|Release Date:||April 5, 2016 (US) March 31, 2016 (UK)|
Flamecaster, by Cinda Williams Chima, is the first of a brand new series set in the same world of the acclaimed Seven Realms quartet, where we leave behind Han and Raisa in lieu of the next generation of Seven Realms heroes: their children and those they meet along the way on their new adventure.
Things were not resolved in the Seven Realms by the end of The Crimson Crown, instead leaving a realm headed squarely towards war and unrest that would last into the years following the conclusion of the story which began in The Demon King. Though not all was lost to the uncertainty that would inevitably follow: Raisa and Han won personal battles, with the prize being their lives together, against all odds and great opposition.
Now their children take the stage, first with Ash in Flamecaster and followed by the parallel story of his sister Lyss, in the forthcoming Shadowcaster. The events of these books run alongside one another, each following the developing story of one of the siblings.
Once again we are treated to Chima’s absorbing voice and a diverse, richly-populated world where life may be hard, but determination is strong and characters are willing to fight for what they want. Above all else, they will fight for one another.
In a wonderful echo of The Demon King, the first book of the Seven Realms quartet, we begin with Ash leaving behind the Fells, bound for the academies of Oden’s Ford and Mystwerk House. Only that’s not where Ash is headed. He has aspirations of becoming a healer and will do anything he can to train at the new school of healing at Oden’s Ford. Except that Ash shouldn’t be here at Oden’s Ford. He should be back in the Fells, safe and away from the growing threat of Arden. He should be with his family. He should be mourning.
But Ash, is mourning—in the only way he knows how. After the tragic events that led to his fleeing the Fells, Ash is bent on revenge at whatever cost. Healers might be trained for the purpose of saving lives, but Ash has found that they are also adept at knowing how to take them. Soon gifted with poisons and the subtleties of espionage and infiltration, Ash’s revenge grows in his heart until it is his sole purpose. However, the prince of the Fells will soon realise that there is more at stake here than simply his own revenge. Tensions are rising in Arden and although his plan has always been to disrupt things from within, it becomes clearer by the day that Ash might just have got himself in too deep.
Luckily, he’s not alone. With fellow Oden’s Ford student Lila at his side, there will be someone there to help him stay out of trouble. Or, perhaps, drive him deeper into it. She has secrets of her own, as do many who seem to end up at Oden’s Ford when they leave the Fells behind. Little does Ash know that the connections his friend has reach far higher and wider than he suspects, leading him to wonder where her loyalties truly lie.
And as if things weren’t steadily growing complicated enough, Ash meets Jenna, a girl with a secret that she’s been hiding and running from for as long as she can remember. But Jenna’s not the kind of girl to sit around and wait for the world to fall apart around her and her methods are largely less subtle than Ash’s. Before long Jenna involves herself with rebels and has made something of a name for herself with explosives. The name Flamecaster has always seemed fitting, but that’s just another secret she’s held to her chest for as long as she’s been alive.
But when their worlds collide and they are thrown together in the hostile territory of a kingdom bent on destroying both their lives, Ash and Jenna find themselves drawn together in unexpected ways. Jenna’s secret has kept her away from people, kept her alone. Now she’s no longer alone and the answers she’s been seeking might be on the horizon. Only, she might have to give up the thing she values most in order to understand what her secret means: her freedom.
Flamecaster is a story of intrigue and infiltration, where everyone has a secret they’re not telling and everyone is deep in trouble, where even the smallest wrong move could bring everything they’ve built tumbling down around them. In Arden, a kingdom where wizards are collared and deeply mistrusted, where a cult seeks to cleanse their power and deliver them to god by spilling their blood, the newest generation of the Seven Realms have never been in such tense waters. With all the action and excitement we’ve come to expect from Chima, fans of the series can proceed into Flamecaster with the knowledge that there will be heartbreak, adventure and triumph. Fans can lose themselves once again within the bounds of the vast and richly-populated world that Chima build within the first few pages of The Demon King.
New readers will find Flamecaster an exciting and compelling introduction to the world of the Seven Realms and will find just as much enjoyment even without a completed reading of The Seven Realms quartet at their backs. If anything, reading Flamecaster as the first novel of Chima’s Seven Realms series is like hitting the ground running: the pace is enjoyable and the worldbuilding is so expertly rendered as to form around new readers as they proceed with the unfolding story around them. I’d be very surprised, however, if after reading Flamecaster, newcomers to Chima don’t then end up pedalling right back to the beginning in order to read The Demon King and the following books, all before Shadowcaster releases and continues on with the story of the Raisa and Han’s daughter, Lyss.
Overall, Flamecaster offers a winning combination of adventure, secrets and stakes as high as the roof in what looks to be a far darker, far more tense continuation of the Seven Realms story.