Reviews

NetGalley Review: The Boy with Fire

"The Boy with Fire" book cover

Yassen Knight was the Arohassin’s most notorious assassin until a horrible accident. Now, he’s on the run from the authorities and his former employer. But when Yassen seeks refuge with an old friend, he’s offered an irresistible deal: defend the heir of Ravence from the Arohassin, and earn his freedom. 

Elena Ravence prepares to ascend the throne. Trained since birth in statecraft, warfare, and the desert ways, Elena knows she is ready. She only lacks one thing: the ability to hold Fire. With the coronation only weeks away, she must learn quickly or lose her kingdom.

Leo Ravence is not ready to give up the crown. There’s still too much work to be done, too many battles to be won. But when an ancient prophecy threatens to undo his lifetime of work, Leo wages war on the heavens themselves to protect his legacy.

The first of The Ravence Trilogy, The Boy with Fire is the tale of a world teetering on the edge of war and prophecy, of fate and betrayal, of man’s irrevocable greed for power — and the sacrifices that must come with it.

Title: The Boy with Fire
Author: Aparna Verma
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Rating: 5 out of 5.

Rating: ⭐ 5/5

If you like scrolling through BookTok, you might have noticed the hype building around Aparna Verma’s debut novel. Well, it’s been almost two weeks since I finished this book, and I still cannot stop thinking about it!

The Boy with Fire is an Indian-inspired adult fantasy/sci-fi that is perfect for readers who love enemies-to-lovers, prophecies, corruption arcs, and betrayals.

Going into this book as a person of Indian descent, I was extremely excited, but I was also worried of setting my expectations too high. My worries were quickly set aside, however, as I sank into the world of Sayon and the desert kingdom, Ravence.

The worldbuilding is beautifully detailed. From the desert to the city to the mountains, it felt like I was transported right into the story. The descriptions of the sights, sounds, and smells made it easy for me to sink in and forget I was in my bedroom. And the intertwining of sci-fi elements? Amazing! I loved the blending of high tech gadgets with ancient powers at play. It also made me so happy whenever I came across details like chhatri, diya, and dhols, which reminded me that this world truly was made for someone like me.

Although the worldbuilding was well done, the story would not be the same without its cast of complex characters. The chapters alternate between the perspectives of Yassen Knight, an ex-assassin turned royal guard; Elena Ravence, heir to the throne; and Leo Ravence, Ravence’s current king. In full transparency, I’m completely biased towards Yassen and Elena, who both stole my heart from the very beginning. Yassen Knight can be best described as a deadly cinnamon roll, while Elena Ravence is determined and sometimes impulsive, especially when it comes to protecting her kingdom. Leo’s perspective was an interesting one to read as he struggled between morals and protecting his daughter and Ravence.

Two other notable characters that I loved were Ferma and Samson. Ferma is very much a mother figure to Elena, but she is also a strong Yumi woman whose hair can harden and cut through diamonds. In the book, the Yumi are a race of skilled fighters inspired by the female warriors (chandikas) created by the Hindu goddess Kali. Kali is a form of the goddess Durga, who is known to be both a fierce warrior and compassionate mother. I love how this perfectly matches Ferma, the ferocious and loyal warrior who cares for Elena like her own daughter. Samson, nicknamed “the Landless King,” was also an intriguing character to read about. I was quickly invested in his friendship with Yassen and I’m eager to learn more about his past.

Now that I have calmed my internal screams after reading that epilogue, I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of The Boy with Fire. As an accessible adult fantasy/sci-fi with beautiful South Asian rep, you won’t want to miss out on this first book in the Ravence trilogy!

Until next time, happy reading! ♡

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