Ｒａｔｉｎｇ：★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
＊Ｎｏｔｅ：I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Nineteen years ago, on the island kingdom of Garlin, a girl was born. With charred skin as rough as rock, Vala was instantly feared. For how could one be scorched by magic when it had perished ages before?Recognizing an asset, the royal family welcomed her on their Guard. Her detail: the prince.
Recognizing an asset, the royal family welcomed her on their Guard. Her detail: the prince.To watch. To protect. She has grown with him, lives her life for him.
To watch. To protect. She has grown with him, lives her life for him.
When the high kingdom’s princess comes to assess the prince, assassins of rival courtiers come to claim his life. One nearly succeeds in his mission. But with shadowy movements and charred skin like her own, Vala knows he is not like the rest.As threats to the prince continue and questions about Vala’s life begin to rise, she faces a fear worse than fire or water, worse even than losing him.
As threats to the prince continue and questions about Vala’s life begin to rise, she faces a fear worse than fire or water, worse even than losing him.
She fears finding out who she truly is.
✩ Vala was very dedicated and loyal. She had a tough skin (no pun intended) when it came to others point out how she was different. She never let anything stop her from doing her job.
✩ I kind of liked Caulden in the beginning. He was kind to Vala and willing to treat her better than others, although I didn’t like the turn his character took later on.
✩ Haidee had to be my favorite because she truly valued Vala’s opinion. She never let her own feelings get in the way of doing her job. She respected Vala, seeing her only for her skills and not for her
❝ They had come for blood, so I would show them their own.❞
First of all, I love the cover for this book. I’m a sucker for pretty covers so I had to mention that. I really like the flames and how the title stands out against it.
But, moving onto the actual story: I liked it.
I really liked the idea of this strange girl with charred skin being tasked with protecting the prince. I could tell that they were going to have a close relationship from the beginning since they grew up together, but I was glad that it wasn’t exactly the forefront of the book.
Vala was certainly dedicated to her job, and she was more than thankful for being taken in and trusted with protecting someone so important. But it meant that she was usually having to protect her job as well from other people that coveted her position. She also lived constantly being feared or judged for being different.
I think at times it was a little tiring to hear Vala speak about how her only focus was the prince. I wanted her to have her own aspirations, something besides her job to motivate her. That was why I was so kind of happy when she began to be driven by curiosity about herself and outside world later on in the book. I was happy that she started to think about herself rather than others.
I was also glad that Haidee and Vala were able to work together despite everything that happened. I was afraid that they would be resentful, hateful, but instead, they overcame it and supported one another.
❝ There was never a reason for him to hate or fear me before. Now there was reason for both.❞
The pacing in the book was something that definitely affected the book. For most of the book everything unfolded pretty slowly. I wasn’t really clear on what Vala was working towards overall: if she was just trying to keep her position or find love. It wasn’t until halfway that it really felt like it became clear what her goal was, although the story didn’t really pick up until the last few chapters.
Another thing that I didn’t like with the book was that there were large pieces of history just dropped throughout. A few times it was worked in well, but others it just felt random. It would have felt nice to get it throughout the book in smaller portions, but I could kind of understand why. Since most of the history was lost to the kingdom it made sense that only a few people (those with access to the royal library for example) would know about it and be able to share it in the story.
I liked the reveal at the end of the book, even if I saw it coming. I also liked the relationship that was built between Vala and another character because he really understood her and didn’t judge her (I won’t spoil who). I’m curious to see what Vala does next and where her journey takes her.