Title: Set Fire to the Gods
Author: Sara Raasch & Kristen Simmons
Pub. Date: August 4, 2020
Pub: Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA Fantasy
Ash is descended from a long line of gladiators, and she knows the brutal nature of war firsthand. But after her mother dies in an arena, she vows to avenge her by overthrowing her fire god, whose temper has stripped her country of its resources.
Madoc grew up fighting on the streets to pay his family’s taxes. But he hides a dangerous secret: he doesn’t have the earth god’s powers like his opponents. His elemental gift is something else—something that hasn’t been seen in centuries.
When an attempted revenge plot goes dangerously wrong, Ash inadvertently throws the fire and earth gods into a conflict that can only be settled by deadly, lavish gladiator games. The fights put Madoc in Ash’s path, and she realizes that his powers are the weapon her rebellion needs—but Madoc won’t jeopardize his family, regardless of how intrigued he is by the beautiful warrior.
But when the gods force Madoc’s hand, he and Ash uncover an ancient war that will threaten more than one immortal—it will unravel the world.
This will be a mini spoiler free review. I listened to the audiobook via Audible and I highly recommend it. This was like Avatar the Last Airbender & The Legend of Korra mashed together and then thrown into a Roman/Gladiator setting. Here. For. It. Honestly, I couldn’t get enough of it and I’m dying for the next one. You can’t end a book like that and expect me not to be dying for the second one.
I kind of figured that I’d immensely enjoy this book, so I’m really happy that I did. I loved the characters and loved their chemistry. Ash and Madoc were so fun to read – and really were great characters. The two of them at the end of this book…phew. So much happens and it’s so good.
I thought the pacing was perfect, I was utterly engaged and never wanted to stop listening. There were quite a few times I forgot that I was at work because I was so invested. The world just came to life so vividly in my mind. I could picture every moment and I was absorbed into the world. I love it when that happens when reading books – the complete separation from reality while reading, only to be rudely reminded that you aren’t, in fact, fighting a ruthless gladiator to the death.
I found the pantheon of gods and the history surrounding them so interesting and familiar but unique. Reminded me of the Greek/Roman gods, but still felt wholly original and new. Pretty sure I only get Greek/Roman God vibes since the world the authors created feels very inspired by Rome. I definitely didn’t see the twists at the end coming – I was surprised and then I was annoyed that book 2 wasn’t already out.
Just overall this book was fantastic, definitely lived up to the hype. I’ve been a fan of both Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons separately, but as a duo they are fantastic. This book is such a good read with some funny moments, so heartfelt and heartbreaking ones. It’s about finding your family and even when everything feels like there’s no point, that hope has been lost. Honestly, besides the whole premise, my favorite part about this book is easily the characters. The people Ash claims, and the people Madoc claims and how they become their family.
I definitely recommend this book – you’re missing out.