Book Reviews

Review: Cold-Forged Flame and Lightning in the Blood by Marie Brennan

Cold-Forged Flame

While Cold-Forged Flame is a novella, it refuses to have any of the problems I normally encounter with them: such as a hurried ending, flavorless side characters, or main character quirks. It provides us with a fantastic plot, an empathetic and brilliant main character, and a tease for the future.


When she is summoned, she has no memory of who she is or what her purpose is. Finding out her quest, which she is unable to refuse, has never been successfully completed before, she will have to rely on all of her skills. These skills, of which she has no memory of, must navigate ever changing obstacles and an enemy that will tempt her with something she desperately craves.

The Character of Ree

Ree is an interesting character and one that is catnip to me: clever, dangerous, talented, and lost. She is my type of heroine. Her own history is not only a mystery to herself, but is incredibly rich. From the very beginning I knew I would absolutely love her. But the side characters are also pretty amazing. They are given histories and they never feel rushed or in the way. Even though it is a novella, it still takes its time to paint a vivid picture of the world, something a lot of novellas rush. Already I can tell this is a great beginning to my friendship with this series.

Lightning in the Blood

I actually cannot pick which one of these novellas I like more. In the first, there was this mysterious quest, but in this we are treated to more agency on Ree’s part and more clues to her own past.


Ree has been journeying for months and still pieces of her memory elude her. As she returns to visit her friend Aadet, she runs into a band of wanderers who enlist her help in their quest for a future. This chance encounter sets into motion a chain of events that will result in another quest with Aadet, an encounter with a fellow being like herself, and a few clues to her own past.


There are some characters from before, but also a good dose of new characters and alliances. The added knowledge about Ree and her nature is absolutely fascinating. Ree’s character becomes even more interesting, as her quirks, skills, and personality are revealed. Additionally, the adventure provides the same action, sprinkled with magical appearances that are equally confusing and wonderful. This sequel is amazing, taking everything I loved from the first, and amplifying them, illustrating the importance of friends even on our quest for our own identity.

This series is absolutely fantastic and I hope that Brennan continues writing them! You can pick up Cold-Forged Flame on Amazon(US) and add it to Goodreads. You should also then pick up Lightning in the Blood on Amazon(US), add it to Goodreads, and visit Brennan’s website.

Disclaimer: I received Lightning in the Blood from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


What is the best book you’ve read with a MC suffering from amnesia?

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