11 August, 2017

{ARC Review} Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta


about the book }


Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta
Shimmer and Burn, book 1
Published August 8, 2017 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
e-ARC provided by Edelweiss
To save her sister’s life, Faris must smuggle magic into a plague-ridden neighboring kingdom in this exciting and dangerous start to a brand-new fantasy duology.

Faris grew up fighting to survive in the slums of Brindaigel while caring for her sister, Cadence. But when Cadence is caught trying to flee the kingdom and is sold into slavery, Faris reluctantly agrees to a lucrative scheme to buy her back, inadvertently binding herself to the power-hungry Princess Bryn, who wants to steal her father’s throne.

Now Faris must smuggle stolen magic into neighboring Avinea to incite its prince to alliance—magic that addicts in the war-torn country can sense in her blood and can steal with a touch. She and Bryn turn to a handsome traveling magician, North, who offers protection from Avinea’s many dangers, but he cannot save Faris from Bryn’s cruelty as she leverages Cadence’s freedom to force Faris to do anything—or kill anyone—she asks. Yet Faris is as fierce as Bryn, and even as she finds herself falling for North, she develops schemes of her own.

Now Faris must smuggle stolen magic into neighboring Avinea to incite its prince tWith the fate of kingdoms at stake, Faris, Bryn, and North maneuver through a dangerous game of magical and political machinations, where lives can be destroyed—or saved—with only a touch.o alliance—magic that addicts in the war-torn country can sense in her blood and can steal with a touch. She and Bryn turn to a handsome traveling magician, North, who offers protection from Avinea’s many dangers, but he cannot save Faris from Bryn’s cruelty as she leverages Cadence’s freedom to force Faris to do anything—or kill anyone—she asks. Yet Faris is as fierce as Bryn, and even as she finds herself falling for North, she develops schemes of her own.

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my review }

♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ 

"My mother tried to kill me the night the guards arrested her."
Y'all

I'm speechless. 

This is a book I picked up on a whim, at 3 AM, because my friend couldn't pick a book for me and I was desperate. So I randomly picked a book with my eyes closed and it was the best. Decision. Ever.

I was hooked from the first line of this book. And that doesn't happened often. I mean, how can you not be hooked by that? Better yet, it didn't just stop there.

The entire first chapter had me hooked. So much happened. I was swooning, grinning, then waiting, wondering where it would lead it. Then I was shocked. And I already knew that this book would be everything I wanted to be.

I adored Faris! God, she was such a fantastic main character. She fought for what she wanted and it was clear that she would continue to do so. She had something driving her and she never let herself forget that--everything she would risk would be for her sister. She was fierce and she was strong; smart and reasonable... I love Faris so, so much. She was written so well and being inside her head, reading her story, it was great. Time and time again, when it looked like nothing was going to go right, I kept rooting for her, constantly on edge to see what would happen, how she would get out of this new predicament.

There was another character who I didn't think would play a big part in the novel but did--Bryn. She's a princess who's hungry for her father's throne and I absolutely hated her. And yet, here was a princess who was cunning and vicious and pampered. Here was a princess who knew how to use people, who knew how she had to plan, one who would not hesitate by any means necessary. Who wouldn't give up on her plans, no matter how many people end up dead or used along the way. There were times I didn't understand her and Taranta did a spectacular job here--it made her complex, gave her so much more depth. Because you couldn't tell if she was the villain or not. You couldn't tell if she was good or bad, or just a mixture of both. Bryn, as much as I detested her, also begrudgingly earned my respect.

And then there was North... Oh my heart, how I adored North from the very start. See, the author did something from the first chapter that I wasn't expecting, so when North came in, I was a bit hesitant. I wasn't sure how she'd play this card (which you'll understand after reading the first chapter), but I didn't have to worry. It's clear that Mary Taranta is a gifted writer and knows exactly what she's doing.

Anyway: North. I LOVE HIM. So much. He's so sweet and adorable and gah, my heart. He was a steady presence in the book, knowing what to do and what to say, which was sort of difficult considering they had someone like Bryn along for their journey. He was charming, too, and MY HEART. I just love him so much! He and Faris just fit so well with each other--and not just in a romantic aspect (though the romantic in me just wants to see them together, happily), but as partners, as friends.

Also, small bit on the romance, because I am me and I cannot control myself: wow. It took a while, but the BUILDUP. So cute! And also agonising. I loved it, but I know nothing will come easy to these two, who definitely deserve a break. BUT I AM ROOTING FOR YOU TWO.

This is the sort of fantasy I adore. The one with complicated magic in the air. The one with a fierce main character front and centre. One that doesn't hold back on intrigue or bloodiness--and there is some of that here. This is the kind of fantasy I want to keep reading because it puts me at the edge of my seat and makes me want to read late into the night, not wanting to stop. Taranta created such a wonderful fantasy world and it didn't fail to keep my attention at any given moment.

Anyway. I am a bit sad that I'm done with this one. I've been in such a bored state of mind with my books and this one made me feel like I was back in the game.

Overall: 5 full stars. I desperately need the next book! I need to know what happens!


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buy the book }

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about the author }


Born the youngest save one in a family of ten, I grew up notoriously quiet but secretly wild, playacting my favorite stories and writing some of my own in the woods behind my family's farmhouse. Originally from a small (very small) town in Ohio, I moved to the larger (much larger) Orlando suburbs kicking and screaming at the age of fifteen. It turned out all right in the end and I'm still here, now with an adorable husband, two useless cats, and an unhealthy reliance on air conditioning. While I'm not old enough to be President, I am too old to sit on the floor without cracking joints when I stand. As a Midwestern Southerner, I've attained Level 9 Politeness and prefer my iced tea sweet.

Still notoriously quiet, though. Not nearly so wild.



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