Review of ‘From Fire and Shadows’

From Fire and Shadows has much potential. Unfortunately, the two perspectives that are supposed to drive the story lack cohesion while the story lacks world-building.

Poorly Executed

From Fire and Shadows

From Fire and Shadows
J.F. Baptista

From Fire and Shadows landed on the ever-terrible DNF pile. I tried readers; I did because it had a strong opening. However, what was most distracting was the lack of world-building.

While I was reading, I had absolutely nothing to ground me to the narrative. There is no sense of the world, no sense of the magic that supposedly exists here to give me something to follow. And then, the story splits into two directions, first following Theodora and then following Kai. It felt all over the place as it tries to build up this fantastical world. However, again, the culture, the community, the magic, they lack substance; they lack a compelling narrative that would otherwise give the story a strong foundation.

From the lacking world-building, the author also employs their own language. Creating your own language is acceptable; Tolkien and many more do it. However, what is missing here is context. I was left in the dark, not knowing what the characters were saying. Honestly, as a reader, I should not have to go to the back of the book to look up a word to understand a phrase the character is saying. Context clues are everything and can be executed exceptionally well.

That was not the case here.

Poor Characterization

What was also bothersome about the story was the tone and narrative of the story. Theodora is supposed to be six, but she does not sound six. Throughout the story, there are many times where this girl sounds at least sixteen, which made connecting to her challenging. As for Kai, he was just bland, and his story felt so different from Theodora’s that it felt like there were two stories and two different worlds going.

Final Thoughts

From Fire and Shadows had potential, but it lacked strong world-building. It also lacked good characterization because these narratives almost seemed to be building two different worlds rather than one.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

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Product Details:

Pub Date: August 15, 2020Page Count: unknownAge Range: 12 & Over
ISBN: 978-9-8954-8160-6Publisher: BooksGoSocialList Price: $1.99

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