REVIEW: Heart of Flames
Crown of Feathers made my top of 2019 list so understandably, I was extremely excited and nervous for this release! I actually had an e-ARC for quite a while, but I didn’t get a chance to finish that before the book was actually released. Then I got a physical copy (the GORGEOUS exclusive OwlCrate edition) and I also listened to this on audio, and I can say that no matter how you read this, it’s amazing!
Heart of Flames
by Nicki Pau Preto
Series: Crown of Feathers #2
Release date: February 11th 2020
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, LGBT+
You are a daughter of queens.
The world is balanced on the edge of a knife, and war is almost certain between the empire and the Phoenix Riders.
Like Nefyra before you, your life will be a trial by fire.
Veronyka finally got her wish to join the Riders, but while she’s supposed to be in training, all she really wants to do is fly out to defend the villages of Pyra from the advancing empire. Tristan has been promoted to Master Rider, but he has very different ideas about the best way to protect their people than his father, the commander. Sev has been sent to spy on the empire, but maintaining his cover may force him to fight on the wrong side of the war. And Veronyka’s sister, Val, is determined to regain the empire she lost—even if it means inciting the war herself.
Such is your inheritance. A name. A legacy. An empire in ruin.
As tensions reach a boiling point, the characters all find themselves drawn together into a fight that will shape the course of the empire—and determine the future of the Phoenix Riders. Each must decide how far they’re willing to go—and what they’re willing to lose in the process.
I pray you are able to pass through the flames.
I loved everything about this book! The characters, the world building, the twists and turns – everything was excellent! I loved the way that each of the characters developed throughout this book, especially Veronyka and Sev! Veronyka has been slowly coming to terms with who she is and what she is capable of, and with how this book ended, I’m both excited and scared to see what happens next with her storyline. Then with Sev, he’s gone from this self-serving soldier just wanting to slide under the radar, to someone who is strong and wants to do the right thing for the people that he cares about. Tristan also goes through some nice development throughout this book, especially when it comes to his father and their relationship. I even love Avalkyra’s character, even though she maybe isn’t a character to root for.
We learned so much more about not only these characters and how they all connect to one another, but we also learned a ton about the history of this world and how that impacts current events. I also love the way that some of those past events are shown to us, with letters or excerpts from books written in the past. This is such an incredibly detailed and well thought out world and I quite honestly wish that this book was longer so that I could see even more of it! For a book that’s already 600 pages, that’s saying something. Not once did I feel like this book was weighed down by descriptions or pages that you needed to slog through, it was so fast paced even when there wasn’t any action happening because you just had to know what was going to happen next!
The magic in this world is also really interesting, with both animages and shadowmages. We got to learn a lot more about Veronyka and Val’s shadow magic in this book, and boy is it a game changer! There wasn’t as much of a focus on the animal magic in this book, but with all the action going on, it didn’t hinder the storyline at all.
The amount of detail that Nicki added to this series is astounding, especially with this being her debut series! I’m so excited to see what she comes up with next, because if this is just her getting started, I think we are all in for a wild ride.
There are quite a few series out there where the second book suffers from “second book syndrome”, but that is definitely NOT the case with this book. With the way this book ended, I’m very scared for these characters that I’ve grown to care for. This is such an incredible series and if you haven’t started it yet, you really need to get on it! This is not your average YA fantasy, it’s so much more than that. It’s only February, but if this book doesn’t make my top 10 of 2020 list I’ll be shocked.