Shadow of Flame by Caitlyn McFarland

Posted in Advanced Reader Copy/ Fantasy/ Magic/Paranormal/ Netgalley/ New Adult/ Reviews/ Speculative Fiction/ Young Adult 26th August 2015
Shadow of Flame by Caitlyn McFarlandShadow of Flame by Caitlyn McFarland
Series: Dragonsworn #2
Published by Carina Press on September 14th 2015
Pages: 310
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four-stars

It's been two months since Kai Monahan's life changed forever. Retrieved from a suddenly unsafe Colorado by Rhys and taken to Eryri, the dragons' home in the South Pacific, she lives a secret existence. Rhys—for all his awe-inspiring power—is afraid to reveal to his people that he's heartsworn to a human. One he's quite possibly in love with.
Kai hasn't forgotten the terror or pain of the moment Rhys first took control of her mind and her magic, but neither has she forgotten the fire of his kiss. When she's discovered, dragon politics—not to mention spies and ex-lovers—threaten her growing feelings. Rhys has more enemies than he can guess, and someone close to him is playing right into their hands.
The war Rhys never wanted is coming. For either of them to survive, Kai must open her mind to him as never before. This time, there will be no turning back.

Kai Monahan’s and Juliet King’s lives have changed irrevocably in two months. The brief respite in Colorado vanishes quickly when instability in the dragon world starts to spill over into the human one with Kai and Juliet caught in the middle of it. And that’s probably as much as I can talk about the book without getting bogged down by the number of details in this one.

I dove straight Shadow of Flame, eager and impatient to continue the saga that began in Soul of Smoke, only to get quite a bit lost in the disparate sub-plots that haven’t yet sufficiently come together by the cliffhanging end. There are however, a ton of exciting moments and even some heartbreaking ones, despite the narrative awkwardness of shifting between the human and dragon worlds. What had drawn me to the Soul of Smoke in the first place was its exploration of hybrid identities – the fusion of dragon characteristics both physical and magical in a typical human body – that is so different from a typical animal shapeshifter or vampire read.

Shadow of Flame continues this impetus and after trundling past that strange world-building transition where human technology intersects with magic, unfurls the glittering depth and richness of dragon fantasy land and its politics. But it’s precisely therein where the book’s believability also falters; even though Kai and Juliet are far from the cliched teenagers that pepper fanfic, their sudden insertion into this rich world and their sudden, accelerated ability to absorb the old, old magic remain strangely unsettling.

That being said, it’s far from an unsatisfactory read; there’re traitors to deal with, spurned lovers to set right and sufficient twists and turns in the plot that come straight out of the left field to counter that narrative disconnect…enough to make me want the last book now.

four-stars

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