Excuse me, but you tell me asexual MC and I’m in! I talked already this year about wanting to diversify the queer books I read. I feel like I read a lot of queer mostly gay and sapphic literature, but this year I want to read all over the spectrum. So when I saw This Golden Flame I knew I had to read it! Keep reading this book review to find out what I enjoyed about it!
An Ember in the Ashes meets Mask of Shadows in Emily Victoria’s #ownvoices debut YA fantasy, This Golden Flame, in which asexual Karis, a servant to the mysterious Scriptorium, accidentally awakens long-dormant automaton Alix, initiating an epic adventure full of magic, rebellion, and finding where you truly belong.
Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army.
In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible?she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father?their nation’s greatest traitor?once tried to destroy the automatons.
Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn’t just trying to control Karis; it’s hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother…and the secret that’s held her country in its power for centuries.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
This Golden Flame is a fabulous story about agency and fate. I adored reading the asexual rep in this book, about how we can let the thoughts and allosexual normativity into our thoughts. But at the same time, This Golden Flame is about being in a situation where we are not free. When we are forced, commanded, driven to go against what we want. Situations not of our own making. It’s also about unraveling what we thought was possible, of seeing beyond what we are taught. History serves only those who control it.
In This Golden Flame I enjoyed the characters, their details, and their struggles with these themes of agency. Victoria questions them through both Karis and Alix’s POV. We are asked about how much control we have over our own life. I loved reading about Alix’s, the automaton, POV and struggle to figure out what he was made for and what he is capable of in the end. He has to wonder not only what makes himself different, but also whether or not he is a weapon. If he will become one.
This Golden Flame also explores the conflict between the individual and the cause. Whether one person is worth losing the battle. If we should sacrifice our lives for our beliefs. Do we let rebellion change who we are and the weight of our choices? I loved so many little things about This Golden Flame even if I wanted it to be a smidge longer! It’s a very solid book that I enjoyed and I love the idea of stand alone fantasy novels!
Where to Buy!
About the Author
Emily Victoria lives on the Canadian prairies with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, works at her public library, and has just finished her Masters of Library and Information Studies.
Author website: https://www.avictoriantale.com/