Tuesday, April 25, 2017

R&R Review and Release Tuesday: Among the Flames by Shelby K. Morrison


Legend of the Liberator #2

Goodreads Blurb:
"After fleeing her home in Tharien with the Emperor's forces hot on her heels, Aia Wynnald has only one goal: To end the two-thousand-year-old discrimination against Benders—a race of beings like her, with a misunderstood gift. But when the Emperor’s Church of Mighty retaliates with a new threat, her noble plans are put on hold.

With her companion Cole Balain, a former enemy, by her side, Aia must halt the devastation triggered by her well-meaning actions. The only way she can fight the Church is with the help of a disenchanted group of rebel Benders who'd sooner submit to their fate than follow Aia's lead.

Can she inspire them to fight and work together to resolve this new crisis, or will her ingrained submissive nature bring her, and the Benders of Dyel, to their knees?"



Review:
Thank you to the author, Shelby K. Morrison, for gifting me with a copy of Among the Flames in exchange for an honest review!

This series is truly a hidden gem.  I reviewed the first book, From the Ashes, a while ago and loved it and I had pretty much the same feelings for the second installment (read my review HERE).

1.  The characters.  The main characters we get to know more are Aia (obviously), Cole, and Fynris (a new character).  I loved exploring their personalities further.  I especially loved getting to know Aia more as she leads the rebellion and does so a bit unwillingly in the beginning.  Seeing her transformation and her ability to stick to her values is so wonderful.  Cole is such a great supporting character and Aia ensures his opinion is always heard.  Finally, Fynris.  He's not the sharpest tool in the shed which makes him quite unlikable (I found myself consistently yelling at him throughout the book), however, the author presents him in such a way that he is an understandable nitwit.  Generally speaking, the characters are all fleshed out wonderfully and each play important roles.

2.  The plot.  The novel is equally plot and character driven which I loved.  There's the perfect balance of character development and plot development.  It was fascinating to see how the rebelling (Aia specifically) would handle the challenges thrown at them and I loved how the author made their actions and their doubt in themselves palatable and real.  The plot goes through the typical ups and downs and I was able to read it all in one sitting!

3.  The settings/world.  One aspect we get more of in this book is world building.  During Aia's quest to help Benders, she travels to the different kingdoms, allowing the reader to get a closer look at them.  While it wasn't truly comprehensive, I loved how the author expanded the world.  I do wish there would have been a map of some sort but that's honestly my only complaint about this book.  A map would have pulled everything together marvelously, however, the author did quite adequately with only her words.

4.  The POV's.  Like the first book, the second installment also has multiple POV's.  This time, it's mainly Aia, Cole, and Fynis.  I enjoyed each chapter and each perspective as they were presented.  I really liked how this allowed for a more comprehensive view of the situation which is so important in books featuring large groups of people with differing opinions.  Each chapter, while not specifically marked with whose POV, is easily distinguishable within the first 2-3 sentences, if not the first.  Each has their own unique voice.

The Final Verdict:
A flawlessly executed fantasy novel with stunning prose, characters and plot lines.  While a map would have brought the novel to a whole new level, the settings and overall world are also well-developed.
5 stars


Meet the Author
Shelby K. Morrison believes fiction should be an escape and any great escape involves a world of wonder, characters you wish you knew, and good food. She can usually be found in three places; her office, the couch or....well just those two unless an overcast day calls her out of doors. She has a particular weakness for animals, Studio Ghibli movies, traveling, and Flamin' Hot Cheetos (resulting in a frequently stained keyboard). She is not opposed to tokens of appreciation, particularly edible ones. But if you really want to make her smile, drop her a line!

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2 comments:

  1. This sounds like a good series. I haven't heard of it.

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    Replies
    1. It's a great series! I hadn't heard of it either until the author approached me around a year and a half ago to read the first book in the series. It's one of the truly excellent self-published books I've read during my time reviewing.

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