Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta

Hardcover352 pages
Expected publication: August 8th 2017
 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
ISBN: 1481471996

To save her sister’s life, Faris must smuggle magic into a plague-ridden neighboring kingdom in this exciting and dangerous start to a brand-new fantasy duology.

Faris grew up fighting to survive in the slums of Brindaigel while caring for her sister, Cadence. But when Cadence is caught trying to flee the kingdom and is sold into slavery, Faris reluctantly agrees to a lucrative scheme to buy her back, inadvertently binding herself to the power-hungry Princess Bryn, who wants to steal her father’s throne.

Now Faris must smuggle stolen magic into neighboring Avinea to incite its prince to alliance—magic that addicts in the war-torn country can sense in her blood and can steal with a touch. She and Bryn turn to a handsome traveling magician, North, who offers protection from Avinea’s many dangers, but he cannot save Faris from Bryn’s cruelty as she leverages Cadence’s freedom to force Faris to do anything—or kill anyone—she asks. Yet Faris is as fierce as Bryn, and even as she finds herself falling for North, she develops schemes of her own.

With the fate of kingdoms at stake, Faris, Bryn, and North maneuver through a dangerous game of magical and political machinations, where lives can be destroyed—or saved—with only a touch.

Shimmer and Burn was such a delightful surprise. I went into this book not knowing what to expect, and I was surprised with how much I enjoyed this book. I actually ended up reading this book in one sitting because it became very addictive very quickly. I thought the plot of Shimmer and Burn was creative and captivating. This was a story I never wanted to end!

I loved the fantasy elements of this book. The author created such an enchanting and mesmerizing world that I became lost in. There were a few times where I had to re-read passages to fully understand the magic system, but I thought the author did a great job at building this whimsical world. I was also surprised with how gruesome this book got. The author wasn't afraid to get bloody and kill off characters, which I actually really enjoyed. The dark moments added an alluring and terrifying element to this story. 

The main character, Faris, was a wonderful main character. She felt so normal and relatable. She went through so much through this book, but she was always trying to do what she felt was right for her and her loved ones. Faris wasn't perfect or a "special snowflake". Faris made mistakes and felt guilt for some of the things she did. I found her character extremely compelling and well written. 

One of the side characters, Bryn, was a scary, manipulative, and cruel woman. She wasn't afraid to hurt people to get what she wanted. I HATED her and loved her at the same time. I want her to die, but at the same time, I loved seeing a female take charge. I am extremely intrigued to see how she develops in the next book. I also really liked two of the other side characters, North and Alistair. North was swoon-worthy, smart, and caring. I fell in love with him so quickly AND I NEED MORE OF HIS CHARACTER. PLEASE? I also love Alistair. He was a bit of a mystery in this book and I am not sure if he is completely trustworthy. He seems to have good intentions, but he has a dark past and has made mistakes. I WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HIM, GIVE HIM A HUG, AND LOVE HIM.

The romance in this book was slow burning and wonderfully done. The romance was present in the story but in small doses. The small moments were heart stopping and swoon-worthy. I actually sort of ship Faris with two characters, and there is potential for a love triangle, however, it is not the focus of the story at all. Faris is only interested in one man in this book, but I think she also has some chemistry with another male, so I am intrigued to see what direction the author takes the romance in the next book. I would be happy with either male that Faris ends up with because I think either male is a great match for Faris. BRING ON THE ROMANCE!

Overall, I thought this was an imaginative and unique fantasy novel. If you are in the mood to start a new YA fantasy, I would recommend checking out this book!

4 / 5 Fangs

*This ebook was given to me in exchange for an honest review. * 

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