Review of These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy
This was a good read. It had a few bumps but it was well written, especially for a debut. While I know a few Russian folktales, I knew nothing about this one besides The Firebird name. I can’t say how close this was to the original tale, but I liked this book in comparison to other YA fantasy. There was a lot of stuff in here that was well done and it didn’t feel like something I had read twenty times already. I’m not sure if this is planned to be just a duology or a series, but I will absolutely read the second book when it comes out.
The writing was easy to read and easy to get you hooked into the book. However, there were a few pace issues for me. The book is in two main character’s POV’s (two sisters), and just when I would really get into the story for one character, we would switch to the next. The problem was that the pace would pick up, and then we would switch and the book would slow down. It was a little bit more of a ride then I wanted to be on and I always felt like I was reading about the opposite sister than I wanted too. This was a stylistic choice the author chose and I get why, I just wish the transitions had kept the pace a bit smoother.
The other writing bump had to do with world building. What is there is wonderful but I really wanted more. I’m one of those fantasy geeks that love a slow beginning filled with great world building. The beginning here was slow, but Overy didn’t quite put the time in for the history that I wish she did. The magic system ended up being the same way. The system in place was great, I loved the main components, but again I wanted more. And in the end, not quite having the rich history I wanted, I found myself confused at certain points. I don’t want to go into what exactly I mean since it is a bit spoilerish, but I will say that it seemed like we are told one thing but it really is another. This left me scratching my head wondering if I missed something or did I just not understand. On the good side, there were a few twists and turns I did not see coming so Overy impressed me with that.
The romance that is there is a WLW, enemies to lovers romance. There also seemed to be a potential for an M/F romance, but I’m not yet sure. I was surprised how much chemistry was in the WLW romance. The characters don’t have a ton of time in this book to have romantic moments, with so much going on, but what was there was well done and I hope there is a chance for more.
I have to be honest that I don’t know if this story really needed a book 2. I think with a few changes this could have been a one and done. But since I did enjoy the characters, magic, and can see a ton more potential in Overy, I will happily read more. This book did end on a cliffhanger so it will be interesting to see what adventures Overy takes us on next. If you are a YA fantasy fan, especially of retellings, then I think chances are high that you would enjoy this one too. 3.75 Stars.
A copy was given to me for a review.