Thursday, 21 June 2018

REVIEW Bride of Fire Trilogy Books 1 and 2

Title: Hidden Embers (Book 1 Bride of Fire)

Author: Jane Burrelli

Release Date: 12/04/2018

Taglines: Can blazing passion melt a frosty heart?

An exiled princess, a forbidding lord and a bond that ties them together


I have to admit that fantasy has not been my favourite genre for some time, although it used to be my passion when I was younger. The likes of David Eddings, Terry Brooks and Storm Constantine took me to new worlds, giving me a welcome break from this one. Since then I have swung the other way, preferring gritty realism and confronting the harsher elements of the world in which I live.

For me, although I can’t honestly say this work matches the complexities and skill of my favourites, most certainly reignites my passion for immersing myself in another world. The author has great skill in world building and her writing is smooth and well rounded, rather like Mira.

My biggest bugbear with all books, not only fantasy, is the development of character and dialogue. I can’t get into any book that doesn’t create vivid and well-developed characters, or that has immature dialogue. This book delivered in both categories. Even the minor characters are well rounded, and a rich supporting cast sets a background against which the main character grow and mature whilst keeping perfect consistency.

Whilst we didn’t get to see much of the fire world, there were enough hints to make it real in my mind to the extent I could understand how Mira reacted to the very different ice world, which was drawn very sharply and in keeping with its nature. Unlike many fantasy novels no attempt was made to explain every little detail. We still don’t know the intricacies of the politics and society of either nation, although there have been plenty of hints and snippets. That is not, in any way a flaw as I love the fact that I have not been presented with a slew of information. There are no major info dumps in this story and what information is imparted flows naturally.

My problem lies in the relationship between Zorren and Mira. I accept it is being presented as a D/s relationship and I have no problem with that per se. However, the heart of any true D/s relationship is mutual respect and consent. I did not feel that Zorren had any respect for Mira and wasn't interested in getting to know her or making her feel comfortable in an alien environment. Neither did I feel Mira was giving any meaningful consent to the abuse. I want to be clear that this is my issue and not necessarily a flaw in the writing. This is a barbarian world and a strictly patriarchal society, and that is something I will always kick back about.

All this being said, I very much enjoyed the story, the dynamics of the relationship and the advancement of character and situation. I would heartily recommend it to any lovers of fantasy or those who are undecided. It is definitely a good first dip of the toe into fantasy and is a very well crafted work.

Title: Playing With Fire (Book 2 Bride of Fire)

Author: Jane Burrelli

Release Date: 02/06/2018

Taglines: This princess isn't afraid to play with fire, are you?

An exiled princess, a forbidding lord and a bond that ties them together

Can Mira thaw Zorren's icy heart or will he lose her forever


This series keeps getting better. I talked, in my review of the first book, about the author’s skill in world building and characterization, and she certainly came through in this one. The world building really is sublime. She showers us with delicious detail, with no noticeable info dumping at all. Everything from the place Mira lives, the people she meets, to the touching stories she stumbles across, are consistent and real. The heat of the forge, the icy chill of the city, the echoing silence of the practice grounds are all conveyed with realistic detail.

I felt very much as if I was following Mira through the maze of new experiences and meeting the people she met – some good and some bad. Even her fire-bending (yes, I went there), so alien and fantastical was dealt with in such a realistic fashion – it didn’t come easy, she had to practice, she wasn’t the greatest fire-bender ever.  The characterization was so good, I felt something about everyone, from the servant, to the poor family, the smith, the cook, everyone up to the Ice Lord himself.

Therein lies my problem with both books. I’m sure it won’t be a problem for very many people, but I just can’t slide by without commenting on the way Zorren treats Mira. I struggled to find anything to like in Zorren, and the mysterious incident in his past doesn’t, in my opinion, justify the way he acts in the present. I appreciate this is a barbarian society and Zorren is true to his archetype. In fact, I’m sure it’s something that will endear him to some people, just not to me.

With any other author, I might stop reading here because Zorren would be irredeemable, but if anyone can persuade me to forgive the unforgiveable it’s this author, so I will buckle in and hope for the best. Even if she can’t redeem Zorren, I know there will be rich detail, wonderful stories and Mira will have her happy ending.

All in all, the first two books of this series were, quite simply breathtaking. I haven’t read fantasy in a long time, and this book has reminded me what I’ve missed. It was so easy to read, so enthralling and even that fact I hate Zorren so much is testament to the skill of the writer and the power of the story.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the books to anyone who likes a great story with a good pinch of realism and a touch of magic.

Amazon Author Page UK
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“Then by your own logic what shall your forfeit be for insulting my line and position?” My mouth gaped, realizing that I had been herded into a well laid trap with no reasonable defense. This time when I tugged my hands, Zorren let me go free. The blanket fell from my shoulders and the hairbrush I had been using clattered upon the floor.

You lay so much as a hand on me and I will scream until it wakes the deities themselves,” I snarled.

Zorren raised both brows. “You cannot have it both ways, your Highness, or are you a hypocrite?”

His words rankled and I did not care for them, or the truth they held. He sat back and folded his arms, watching as I paced back and forth like an agitated cat. I shook my head in vehement denial.

“You will not touch me.” Though my voice was not so strong and sure. “I am a princess.”

“Don’t be sure of that, Hellcat, actions have consequences.” Zorren reached for me and I neatly sidestepped him.

“I’ll scratch,” I warned, my eyes flashing while stepping back. Unfazed, Zorren rose to his feet. “I’ll bite.” Another step back, space rapidly shrinking. “I’ll fry you!”

White unsettling eyes never left me, not even for a second. “Duly noted,” Zorren drawled, stalking closer. “While you may scratch and bite the result will be the same. Your bottom over my knee growing steadily redder and redder.”

“You can’t do this.” I dashed around the other side of the bed. “I won't let you.”

Author Bio

When I realised that the world was not hiring for a ‘sarcastic but benign Supreme Ruler of the Universe’ I’ve decided to focus on my passion. By day I work in a UK company’s finance department and by night I become my alter ego Scribble Girl or as my good friends have affectionately dubbed me the 'sex author'. Always armed with a notepad and pen in the black hole I call a handbag, I have been writing never ending stories since the age of 11 and this all stemmed from my love of reading.

I love reading. Period!

I’m part of the Harry Potter generation and while waiting between books would literally devour any book I could get my hands on. Let’s put it this way J.K Rowling has a lot to answer for. I adore that there is no end in sight to where your own imagination can take you and that between the pages of a book you are transported to another world.

Happy Reading!

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