Title: From Fire and Shadows
Author: J. F. Baptista
Pub. Date: August 15, 2020
Rating: ⭐️⭐️(DNF at 19%)
A girl with a dangerous power.
A warrior they call the shadow of death.
A world divided and slowly dying.
Six-year-old Theodora grew up at the House, a place for girls born without power. Abandoned as a baby, she has no memory of her past beyond the melody that invades her dreams. So when an ancient presence starts whispering in her ear, she answers.
The reward is fire; the price is the destruction of the only life she has ever known. Yet from the loss comes a chance at a better future… if she can learn to control a power that no one seems to understand.
Across the ocean, Death’s Arm warrior Kai struggles with the changes forcing him out of the shadows. With the neglect of those in power breeding dissent, he is called to do his job as their occasional assassin: cut it at the root.
But when a strange restlessness makes him question an order for the first time… he finds himself on the path he never wanted, but can no longer avoid. After all, he may be the only one capable of stopping what is coming—a war where death is just the beginning.
This will be a mini, spoiler free review. Thank you to NetGalley for providing a free copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.
When I requested and downloaded this book, I figured it was going to be an underrated, new fantasy that I would love. Based on the synopsis, I was excited. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get invested. I hate DNFing books before at least 25%, but sometimes you have to.
Ultimately, I was bored.
I can’t explain it. Especially since I thought the writing was pretty good, the world came to life and it seemed interesting in the beginning.
I will say that it’s hard to get behind a 6-year-old MC – Theodora. Now, I did read some reviews – I was trying to figure out if I should power through – and she does apparently age up. But this doesn’t happen until like, the halfway mark.
Now, if she’d been 6 y/o for a few chapters to set the stage, that’s fine. I’m good with that. But besides her being 6 y/o she didn’t feel 6y/o. She comes across really mature, and I started questioning myself if she was actually 6y/o or if I’d just imagined reading that.
I also was a bit confused with what the world was. Yes, the writing, the descriptions brought the world to life (in my opinion) but I didn’t understand the rules of the world. I didn’t get the politics. Granted, I didn’t finish the book, so many this is an unfair assessment, but if I’m still confused about your world at almost a quarter of my way through your book, then what can I say? I think it has so much promise, and I really did find it interesting, and was kind of looking forward to seeing what was going to happen.
Then there were the chapters with Kai, the other POV in this book. They were just confusing. Again, this deals with not understanding the world, its mechanics, the politics. Any other fantasy, and I would’ve pegged him as the love interest, or the antagonist, or antagonist love interest (enemies to lovers??) but Theodora is SIX YEARS OLD, and Kai is at least 19 (I think?) and the magical beings in this book can live for hundreds of years…
Basically, I wanted things explained and not hid behind relatively pretty words and descriptions.
Tying all my issues together, I just ended up bored with legit no desire to keep reading. It took me like, three hours to read 10% of this book, because I just wasn’t invested. I wish I had been. It sounded like something I would really like.
This book comes out August 15, so if you think it might be something you might like, feel free to check it out! Maybe one day in the future, I’ll give it another chance.
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