Bursts of Fire by Susan Forest
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Bursts of Fire is the first book in a new trilogy, Addicted to Heaven and it would seem to have many elements I love in fantasy, in particular a strong bond between three sisters facing steep odds. However it also suffered from poor pacing, and what felt like an oddly developed plot. The Falkyn sisters, Meg, Janat, and Rennika are daughters of the imperial mage, or magiel, of Orumon, Talanda, and yet though their mother is a seer who sees a dark future or lack thereof ahead, she seems to do nothing to prepare her daughters with skillsets to deal more easily with what lies ahead, which seems to involve the worldings committing genocide. Seventeen-year-old Meg faces the daunting task of keeping her sisters safe, in a world where they cannot easily hide due to the "wavering" luster of their skin, revealing their magiel heritage. I found the world-building in the story to be frustrating due to a magic system that seemed overly elaborate. There are prayer stones of different precious and semiprecious stones, spells, and magiel abilities, which also appear to include traveling on different time lines. While I enjoyed relationship between the three sisters at times, I often felt the writing, particularly in the first half of the book, was somewhat choppy even though the pacing of the story itself seemed quite slow.
Bursts of Fire might interest older middle graders or high school students patient enough to get through the first half of the book. The politics and faith elements of the story will eventually engage the reader and could be thought-provoking. But it will take some effort to get there.
I received a Digital Review Copy from Laksa Media in exchange for an honest review.
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