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#NewRelease Heart of Fire by Raina Nightingale


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Today on the blog, I have a review of Heart of Fire by Raina Nightingale. The author, who I occasionally interact with on Twitter, messaged me via my site's contact form requesting a review. I'm always in for a surprise when reading an ARC…


This time I was left pleasantly surprised, so without further ado, on to the review.


 

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This fantasy novel straddles the line between upper middle grade and younger YA. Readers interested in a familiar yet unique fantasy story that doesn't rely on nonstop action will find plenty to enjoy in Heart of Fire.

Camilla is the immediately sympathetic protagonist in Heart of Fire. Born into slavery, she finds the yoke of servitude unbearable. She yearns to escape from her captors, the Wood Elves, and bond with a dragon, an act that might not be possible and certainly will not make the elves happy with her.

From the get-go, Nightingale gives the reader a familiar fantasy world populated with humans, elves, and dragons. However, the author does a wonderful job throwing these fantasy topes askew just a little. This makes for a readily recognizable setting and tale that nevertheless feel fresh.

Here's what I mean. I'm reasonably well-read in fantasy, but I haven't run into a novel I can remember where humans are enslaved by elves. This paints the elves, who are usually but not always portrayed in fantasy literature as magical and beneficial to the land and all its creations, in a more malevolent light. That's not to say the elves are inherently evil. Indeed, there are many different elf tribes, each with its own culture.


The story's core rests on Camilla's relationship with her dragon Radiance. Usually, the relationship between dragon and rider is portrayed as similar to what a beast of burden has with a human master or as a contentious battle of wills. Neither is the case in Heart of Fire. Once again, Nightingale plays with a fantasy trope to create something that feels simultaneously commonplace and distinctive. Camilla and Radiance are, in fact, equals and have a deep friendship. Exploring their bond and the magic surrounding it is the heart of this tale.


This fantasy novel straddles the line between upper middle grade and younger YA. Readers interested in a familiar yet unique fantasy story that doesn't rely on nonstop action will find plenty to enjoy in Heart of Fire.

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