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/
About the Book!
This Golden Flame
On Sale Date: February 2, 2021
$18.99 USD, $23.99 CAD
Young Adult Fiction / Fantasy / Epic
Ages 13 And Up
ABOUT THE BOOK:
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.
Thank you to Inkyard Press for having me on this blog tour & for the review copy.
This Golden Flame is a brilliantly written standalone YA Fantasy, with vivid world building and a fast paced story that has you flying through the pages. Karis is a servant to the Scriptorium, though if you asked her it would be more like a slave. She has no friends except for Dane, a fellow street rat who now serves as a Scriptorium soldier. Karis has never wanted to leave roots knowing that one day she would leave and find her brother who was taken from her years ago. After a near fatal accident Karis finds herself in a strange cave with what looks to be a human like Automaton. She wakes him to find he is more human than she could imagine, and sets off a chain of events there is no coming back from. Karis and Alix will be chased from Island to Island by the Scriptorium, picking up friends and enemies along the way, but both with clear purposes in mind: Karis to find her brother and Alix to finally finish his fathers work from all those years ago.
There is so much to love about this book, the first of which being the characters. Karis is determined and relentless in her pursuit to find her brother. She has isolated herself on the Island, knowing that if the opportunity arises she would drop everything and leave to find him. She finds it incredibly hard to trust and is almost unwilling to let people into her bubble, but her journey with Alix will show her there is a strength in people having your back, and Karis would never have found her brother without other people’s help. Alix was by far my favourite character, he is unbelievably naive and constantly reminded me of a young child with constant wonder and fear in his eyes. He fears someone getting their hands on his Tome and being able to control him. But when he meets Karis, he realises that not all people are bad, there are those who are willing to fight for him, help him get his memories back and to complete the task his father set him centuries ago.
We are also gifted with a full cast of well built side characters the main two being Dane, Karis’ one friend on the Island. He inadvertently gets roped into Karis and Alix’s adventure. Dane is almost a stand in big brother to Karis, constantly looking after her and it’s his inability to watch her get hurt that sets him on a path away from the one he has been working so hard for. Zara is a pirate who finds our unlikely trio hiding out on an Island and offers them a chance, let her study Alix’s runes and she will take them to the Capitol and Karis’ brother. But she has a few secrets of her own, ones that could potentially put Alix’s destiny in peril, or Kara and her crew could be just the thing he needs to make it happen.
You can easily see where this story gets it’s Ancient Greek like setting, and the Author uses it to her advantage having the characters travel from island to island giving us a wide breadth of world building. The Rune like magic is something quite unique, especially in how she uses it. Rune’s were used to control the Automatons but a since they lost the power to do that only have the ability to lock doors etc. If I had one teeny tiny issue with the book it was that the magic system just wasn’t developed enough. There was plenty of story, more than enough for a duology, and I would have loved to be able to dive a little deeper into the Rune magic and why the Automatons stopped working. However, the fact that it was a standalone meant the story proceeds at a breakneck pace, without any lulls, so this would be perfect for lovers of a quick and easy read.
Filled with Queer rep from a non-binary character, to a m/m relationship, all of which is openly accepted without problem. But we also get an asexual main character in Karis. It was so brilliant having a main character with no romantic interest, there were no angst filled scenes, no awkward love triangles. Instead we get to focus more on familial relationship; how Karis was unwilling to give up on her brother, the almost brother/sister relationship between her and Dane and the budding friendship and almost found family between her and Alix. Don’t get me wrong, there are hints at romance in this book, but they are minor parts of the plot and only between the side characters.
If you’re looking for a fun and fast paced story filled with deception, found families, brilliant world building and a fresh magic system then look no further. I would love to return to this world in some way, be it a sequel or companion story, and will certainly be keeping my eye out for the authors next works. An easy 4/5 stars!