I would like to thank the publisher very much for sending me a copy of SHIMMER AND BURN in exchange for an honest review! I really loved this one!
To save her sister’s life, Faris must smuggle magic into a plague-ridden neighboring kingdom in this exciting and dangerous start to a brand-new fantasy duology.
Faris grew up fighting to survive in the slums of Brindaigel while caring for her sister, Cadence. But when Cadence is caught trying to flee the kingdom and is sold into slavery, Faris reluctantly agrees to a lucrative scheme to buy her back, inadvertently binding herself to the power-hungry Princess Bryn, who wants to steal her father’s throne.
Now Faris must smuggle stolen magic into neighboring Avinea to incite its prince to alliance—magic that addicts in the war-torn country can sense in her blood and can steal with a touch. She and Bryn turn to a handsome traveling magician, North, who offers protection from Avinea’s many dangers, but he cannot save Faris from Bryn’s cruelty as she leverages Cadence’s freedom to force Faris to do anything—or kill anyone—she asks. Yet Faris is as fierce as Bryn, and even as she finds herself falling for North, she develops schemes of her own.
With the fate of kingdoms at stake, Faris, Bryn, and North maneuver through a dangerous game of magical and political machinations, where lives can be destroyed—or saved—with only a touch.
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I went into Mary Taranta's debut, SHIMMER AND BURN, pretty confident that I was going to enjoy it. And I did. I really enjoyed it.
One thing that surprised me about this book was how dark it got. It has some borderline gruesome moments, unforgivable characters, and a real edge to the world that made me think, "Yea, it's cool that this world has magic, but I don't think I'd want to have to live there because I'm definitely not BA enough." If I'd been thrown into Faris' situation, I might have survived a couple hours... but probably not. And I loved it. I have plenty of fantasy books that have beautiful, magically, amazing worlds that would be a blast to experience. Give me more like this one for my bookshelf. Shimmer and Burn throws it's characters into hard, unforgiving world, and it was almost refreshing to read.
The love story in this one really didn't grab me. I do like the main love interest as a character, he's really great on his own. I didn't totally buy the romance though. That being said, I do think I have a different ship I'm ready to set sail on and I can't wait to see if it actually happens in the sequel.
SPEAKING OF A SEQUEL. The ending of Shimmer and Burn was a major cliffhanger. Like WOAH. I truly hope this one gets a sequel, because I have a might need.
The characters of Shimmer and Burn were pretty fantastic. Faris is an excellent leading lady who has to make tough decisions quickly and in pretty crappy situations. Her character revelations were really fun to see play out. The princess Bryn is a character I hate- and I say that in the best way possible. She grew into a fantastic antagonist, and I can happily say that I utterly despise her. By the end of the book I think I was actually grrr-ing every time she showed up on the page. I need baddies like that. Ones that make me react, ones that are unpredictable and ruthless and everything the protagonist isn't.
The magic system of Shimmer and Burn wasn't as structured as I personally like to see, but I really wouldn't complain about it. It in no way detracted from the storytelling and was definitely unique enough to set this fantasy apart from others.
Overall, I think Shimmer and Burn is going to end up being a favorite of mine for 2017. I'm definitely excited for future installments if there are any planned. I do think the author has left room to grow, both in her own writing and for the development of her story and characters. That makes me think that any sequels are just going to get better, and I can't wait to read them.
SHIMMER AND BURN releases this week- 8/8! Preorder your copy now:
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