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Aparna Verma

Autor/a de The Phoenix King

3 obres 155 Membres 3 Ressenyes


Obres de Aparna Verma

The Phoenix King (2023) 109 exemplars
The Boy With Fire 1 exemplars


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In a kingdom where flames hold magic and the desert hides secrets, an ancient prophecy comes for an assassin, a princess, and a king. But none are ready to face destiny—and the choices they make could burn the world.

“If we carry the burdens of our fathers, we’ll never know what it means to be free.”

For Elena Aadya Ravence, fire is yearning. She longs to feel worthy of her Phoenix god, of her ancestors who transformed the barren dunes of Sayon into a thriving kingdom. But though she knows the ways and wiles of the desert better than she knows her own skin, the secrets of the Eternal Flame elude her. And without them, she’ll never be accepted as queen.

For Leo Malhari Ravence, fire is control. He is not ready to give up his crown—there’s still too much work to be done to ensure his legacy remains untarnished, his family protected. But power comes with a price, and he’ll wage war with the heavens themselves to keep from paying it.

For Yassen Knight, fire is redemption. He dreams of shedding his past as one of Sayon’s most deadly assassins, of laying to rest the ghosts of those he has lost. If joining the court of flame and serving the royal Ravence family—the very people he once swore to eliminate—will earn him that, he’ll do it no matter what they ask of him.

But the Phoenix watches over all and the fire has a will of its own. It will come for all three, will come for Sayon itself….and they must either find a way to withstand the blaze or burn to ash.
… (més)
rachelprice14 | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | Nov 16, 2023 |
Well, wow! The Phoenix King is the Indian-inspired adult fantasy I didn't know I needed.

Set in a gorgeously intricate world rich in lore and tradition, the book is narrated through the POV of three very different characters: Leo, the current king of Ravence, who is preparing to cede his crown to his daughter while trying to fight a terrible and hidden enemy; Elena, the soon-to-be queen, struggling to feel worthy of her title and desperate to ensure the safety of her beloved kingdom; and Yassen, an assassin desperately trying to free himself of his bonds through one last job. These characters couldn't differ more from one another, and I really enjoyed how their individual voices came through in their respective chapters. They're complex, flawed, and make some really bad, but really tough, choices and it was very satisfying to watch events unfold while getting to know them better.

The characterisation was a little shallow at times, which was a shame, and there were a few turns in certain characters' behaviours that didn't really make sense as nothing in their POV chapters had previously indicated such thoughts or intentions. This isn't a huge issue but rather more of a pet peeve of mine, since to me it just doesn't make sense for a character to withhold information from or lie to the audience when we're in their mind. Still, it worked to get a few surprises in and didn't have a massive impact on my overall enjoyment. This is only the first book in a trilogy, so I hope there will be space for further development in the next instalments. There are some pretty memorable secondary characters too (I love Ferma!) and each of them had a few unique characteristics that made them interesting and added value to the scenes they appeared in.

The worldbuilding is intricate, seamlessly blending classic fantasy elements with sci-fi ones. Elements coming from South Asian culture (Indian in particular) are used effectively and I love the fact that the author chose not to translate certain words, as that would have massively diminished the reading experience. The world is complex and heavy in politics, with both potential war with other states looming on the horizon and internal unrest brewing within, as well as a sort of transnational anarchist terrorist group creating chaos. At times, it felt as though there was almost too much going on and a lot of exposition was needed to bring the reader up to speed, which made me feel as though the plot was suffering from being slowed down so much. I did appreciate the themes explored here, especially those around identity, belonging, power and choice, and in the midst of all the action and drama, there were a few well-landed humorous moments and a very delicate romantic subplot that worked very well.

The pacing is another element that mostly worked, although at times it felt a bit uneven, as things seemed to move very slowly and then suddenly action erupted and everything happened at once. Still, when it did I was glad I'd stuck with it through the slowest parts, as there were some pretty epic action scenes. The writing certainly helped, as it flowed very smoothly and kept me turning the pages even when nothing was apparently happening. The book does get pretty dark at times, so you might want to check the CWs first, especially if you're particularly sensitive to fire/burning as that is a central element of the MCs' religion.

Overall, this was a great start to the trilogy and an absolutely banging debut! I'm confident a lot of the minor issues with pacing and characterisation will be fixed in the next instalments. Definitely recommended if you're looking for an epic fantasy mixing in sci-fi elements, explorations of identity and belonging, or a badass female MC!

CWs: This book contains mentions of death, grief, religious bigotry, fire/fire injury, violence, murder, xenophobia.

I received an e-arc of this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley as part of the blog tour organised by Compulsive Readers. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.

For more reviews, visit Book for Thought.
… (més)
bookforthought | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | Nov 7, 2023 |
More of a 3.5 but I’m rounding up.

CW: burning of people, reference to past suicide(sacrifice)

I’ve been eagerly awaiting this book since the first time it showed up on my Twitter tl, because I’m always excited for a desi author debut and the cover with my favorite color was very enticing. And it turned out to be quite fun.

The writing of this book was quite easy to get into, though finding myself grounded in the world took a bit of time. The author is pretty good at descriptions, and I particularly gasped at the feeling of the desert heat and sand dunes, as well as the painful nature of fire. It took me a while to see where the story was going but I never guessed the most important twists and betrayals, so that was quite fun. But the one surprise which took me a while to get over was realizing that this is a technologically advanced fantasy world - with both hoverpods and tanks and pulse guns, as well as staunch belief in gods and prophecies and Fire magic - I don’t always encounter such worlds and I’m still not sure if I’m completely in love with it, but the author made the blend of the two feel seamless which was pretty cool.

Wow is this a book where I don’t know what to feel about the characters, but not exactly in a bad way. All three of the main POVs really skirt the line between black and white and it’s upto us as readers to decide what we feel about them. One is a king who probably wants his daughter to have a better kingdom to rule, but he is also consumed by his need for power and control and can’t accept that his actions maybe wrong. The Princess and Queen to be loves her people and wants everlasting peace, but worries more about mastering the fire until she realizes this power is all she has left if she wants to fight for her people’s survival. And finally we have a traitor, an assassin, a broken man torn between two homes both of which never accepted him, who yearns to be free but truly doesn’t know what it means. There were a couple of very memorable side characters whom I really enjoyed getting to know, but don’t want to spoil anything by talking more about them. The romance element is barely there but I was glad for it because the circumstances of the story didn’t make for ideal conditions for love to bloom, but I’m sure we’ll get more of it in the sequel.

On the whole, this was an entertaining story with compelling characters and an underlying theme of the greedy nature of power and what it can lead to. I will be very honest, I’m not sure this is something I will wanna reread, but I definitely wanna know what happens next and will look forward to the next installment.
… (més)
ksahitya1987 | Aug 20, 2021 |


½ 4.3

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