The Boy With Fire by Aparna Verma – ARC Review!

Yassen Knight was the Arohassin’s most notorious assassin until a horrible accident. Now, he’s on the run from the authorities and his former employer. But when Yassen seeks refuge with an old friend, he’s offered an irresistible deal: defend the heir of Ravence from the Arohassin, and earn his freedom.

Elena Ravence prepares to ascend the throne. Trained since birth in statecraft, warfare, and the desert ways, Elena knows she is ready. She only lacks one thing: the ability to hold Fire. With the coronation only weeks away, she must learn quickly or lose her kingdom.

Leo Ravence is not ready to give up the crown. There’s still too much work to be done, too many battles to be won. But when an ancient prophecy threatens to undo his lifetime of work, Leo wages war on the heavens themselves to protect his legacy.

Thank you to New Degree Press for the review copy. I can confirm all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I hadn’t heard anything about this book and then a tweet from the author popped onto my twitter describing the premise & I instantly went searching for an ARC. The Boy With Fire is an excellent start to what looks to be an epic series, and I cannot wait to see what the author has in store for book two.

In the Kingdom of Ravence, fire is revered for fire brought the kingdom to life, and fire will end it. Elena Ravence is the heir to the throne, trained in all the ways of statecraft and war, her one failing is that she cannot hold fire, Something that will determine her right to rule. When her father hears news of a Prophet rising, one that will call the Phoenix and destroy Ravence as we know it, he knows what he must do to ensure his legacy survives. With war looming from multiple sides, he seeks to strengthen his kingdom by marrying Elena to Samson Kytuu someone with control over a vast army, but Samson brings with him the deserter Yassen Knight. A past assassin, he now swears an oath to free Ravence of the Arohassin. But things are never quite what they seem. Alliances will be forged, deceptions will be brought to light and before long sides must be chosen. For the Phoenix rises and all who stand against him will burn.

The Boy With Fire is told from three main POV’s: Elena Ravence, Leo Ravence and Yassen Knight. Elena is heir to the throne. She has been trained to take over since birth, and now just one thing stands in her way, her inability to control fire. She both revers and fears the flames that took her mother from her, but she knows she must learn to control them if she is to rule. Elena goes though some big life events in this book, and it’s hard not to feel for her situation. She is incredibly strong willed and defiant, but has always had someone looking out for her, someone she could rely on to get her out of stick situations, and when that changes, she struggles to come to terms with having no one watching her back. Her character growth is pretty epic, as we progress through the book she comes to certain realisations, about herself, her family and her kingdom, all things that made her ending that much more explosive.

Leo Ravence, the King of Ravence. His was a fantastic POV to read, and one we so rarely see brought to life in stories. As Elena’s father, he only wants what is best for his daughter. So when he hears rumours of a Prophet being awoken, he does some pretty dark and unforgiving things to ensure Elena’s rule. Though I definitely didn’t agree with his actions, because we get his POV we get to see the reasoning behind it. He is equally afraid of the fire and what it could do to Elena, he knows he will burn eternally for what he has done, but believes it to be in the Kingdoms and his daughters best interest.

Yassen Knight is an ex assassin and such a huge cinnamon roll. He never wanted a life of killing, but being an orphan left him few options and the Arohassin ensured he was fed and had a roof over his head. He’s someone who keeps his truth close to his chest, and it’s only towards the end of the book that he really starts to open up. He know’s Elena would see him burn, but he will protect her if that is what it takes to ensure his freedom. Verma also doesn’t hold back when it comes to bringing to life her side characters, there were plenty of none POV characters who had a pivotal part to play in the plot, and they were all brilliantly crafted.

The world building in this book was off the charts. Verma weaves together modern/future weapons and technology with the belief system of a more traditional world, and while at first it definitely threw me a little, once I got into the story I realised just how well the two blended together. Ravence is based on Indian culture, mythology and history and Verma certainly pulls no punches when it comes to show how cultures more ‘technologically advanced’ than those treat them as lesser for their beliefs. Definitely not for the faint of heart, there are plenty of epic battle scenes as well as some quite graphic descriptions of people being burnt to death, but for me all this added to the atmosphere of the story and made both the world and characters come to life.

My one slight issue? I felt the romance was a little forced. It’s enemies to lovers which I LOVE but it just seemed too quick a turnaround for me to really get invested. I knew where it would be going, who the author wanted to end up with who, but it felt like one sentence Elena wanted him dead, and then the next they were kissing. The romance doesn’t play a huge part in the plot, so it didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment. I just would have liked their relationship to be a little more developed before anything had happened.

There are multiple plot twists thrown in to ensure the story flows well, and it ends on one hell of a cliffhanger ensuring readers will be eager to see what she has in store for book two. The Boy With Fire was a brilliant start to a series I will definitely be continuing with.

7 replies »

  1. I had such a great time reading this one too! My favourite bits were the world-building! Just absolutely beautiful! I would just love to see more fanart of Ravence and its neighbouring kingdoms! I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees Yassen as a cinnamon roll too! I was just rooting for him from the very beginning for some reason!

    Liked by 1 person

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