These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy is such an imaginative novel. As a retelling of the Russian folktale “The Firebird,” the novel has much fire to it, pun intended. The reader does not have to be familiar with the original folktale in order to appreciate this story.
Magic and the Firebird
What makes These Feathered Flames shine is the storytelling. Overy invested in her world-building to make this a strong opening to her duology. Admittedly, it does have a little bit of a slow start as Overy focuses on establishing her strong foundation. Despite having a slow start, Overy gives her story a firm footing, giving the reader a glimpse at the magic and history of the Firebird. This grounds the reader, submerging them in the mythology, the history, and folklore of the land.
The core of the novel and the world is magic. In the land of Tourin, magic flows almost freely. Anyone can cast a spell; it does not have to exist in the blood as with most fiction. However, what makes that interesting is the Firebird and the price of magic. Yes, anyone can cast magic, but it comes with a price. Overy does something different with the fantasy genre, exploring this use of magic and the connection it has to the Firebird. It creates much tension and is compelling because it is something different and unique.
The evolution of the Firebird and its powerful connection to the magic gives the reader something to think about. The Firebird guides the land; it ensures that magic does not run rampant. Nevertheless, people view this mythical being as a monster because they do not understand that magic does need to be kept in check. Exploring this gives the story the bulk of its tension, evolving before the readers’ eyes as the story explores this connection.
An Enticing Story
These Feathered Flames is an addicting novel. Admittedly as mentioned above, the beginning is a little slow because Overy is establishing the world, folklore, but also these characters. Twin sisters who could not be more different, they also grew up in different circumstances. The tension between them grows, as does the various assassinations and political upheaval.
These dynamics pull the reader in, luring them in with strong characterization and political tension. There is so much happening behind the scenes, and it ties the sisters together. However, it also ties the whole story together. All the little elements are essential aspects of the overall plot. All the small moments, they increase the momentum of the story, giving it depth and layers evolving the story, making it so captivating.
These layers make the storytelling engaging. Overy did an excellent job weaving the story together. She weaves the tension into the political upheaval and intrigue of magic so expertly. That is what makes it such a captivating story.
There are also the sisters who are essential in making this story entrancing. They both represent different sides of a coin, highlighted so strongly by their upbringing. Asya is the Firebird and Izaveta is the future queen. There should be strong connection between them, but their time apart had created this wall between them. The story is about their positions as much as it is about who they are. They develop slowly, influencing each other as they seek to break down the wall between them and reconnect. Furthermore, their journey, the way they challenge their inner turmoil, is captivating. The tension surrounding them, this evolution of their personalities, is thoughtful, imaginative, and compelling.
These Feathered Flames is such a captivating novel. It is engrossing, thought-provoking, and multidimensional. There are so many layers to the storytelling that give the story entrancing momentum that hooks the reader making this a novel and series worth reading.
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|Pub Date: April 20, 2021||Page Count: 448pp||Age Range: 13 & Over|
|ISBN: 978-1-3351-4796-7||Publisher: Inkyard Press||List Price: $18.99|