Let’s talk about queer retellings. Well actually, it’s a quick talk. I LOVE THEM! So when I saw this sapphic fantasy debut featuring magical sisters?! I was hooked. A retelling of “The Firebird” These Feathered Flames is a fantastic series starter about power and sacrifice. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
When twin heirs are born in Tourin, their fates are decided at a young age. While Izaveta remained at court to learn the skills she’d need as the future queen, Asya was taken away to train with her aunt, the mysterious Firebird, who ensured magic remained balanced in the realm.
But before Asya’s training is completed, the ancient power blooms inside her, which can mean only one thing: the queen is dead, and a new ruler must be crowned.
As the princesses come to understand everything their roles entail, they’ll discover who they can trust, who they can love—and who killed their mother.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
These Feathered Flames is a fantastic series opener that had me gasping. A story with amost continual action, I couldn’t decide if I liked the sister relationship, the action, or the world the best! A good sister relationship will always get me, but a complex one is my favorite. And talk about complex! Asya and Izaveta haven’t seen, or talked to each other, for years. Honed into weapons, one a Firebird and the other a Queen, in the midst of this political maelstrom, they have to figure out how to talk to each other.
How to be sisters in a court of lies, betrayal, and power. The dual POV allows readers to thoroughly see their miscommunications and misunderstandings. The ways Izaveta has had to harden her heart to survive. At the same time, we can see Asya’s wavering doubts about the nature of the sacrifices and Firebird. How Asya questions whether it must always be like this and how concerned Izaveta is with just surviving to the next day.
With series starters, I’m always worried about the pacing and leaving all the reveals to the end. But These Feathered Flames had such a well established balance between action and pacing. Allowing events to unfold and unravel beneath their very feet. Will the sisters realize that not all people, all connections, are a source of weakness? If the court demands this price to be paid, are they willing to do so? Can there really be no other way? It can be easy to lose compassion, to see people as chess pieces, when to care is so much harder.
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About the Author
ALEXANDRA OVERY was born in London, England. Ever since she was little she has loved being able to escape into another world through books. She currently lives in Los Angeles, and is completing her MFA in Screenwriting at UCLA. When she’s not working on a new manuscript or procrastinating on doing homework, she can be found obsessing over Netflix shows, or eating all the ice cream she can.
Author website: https://www.alexandraovery.com/