Cast in Firelight by Dana Swift (Wickery, #1)

Author: Dana Swift

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Pages: 432

Source: E-ARC – Penguin Random House Canada

Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble| Indigo Canada | Book Depository

Rating: 4/5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The first book in an epic, heart-pounding fantasy duology about two royal heirs betrothed to be married, but whose loyalties are torn, and a ruthless enemy who threatens their world, perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Hafsah Faizal, and Renée Ahdieh.

Adraa is the royal heir of Belwar, a talented witch on the cusp of taking her royal ceremony test, and a girl who just wants to prove her worth to her people.

Jatin is the royal heir to Naupure, a competitive wizard who’s mastered all nine colors of magic, and a boy anxious to return home for the first time since he was a child.

Together, their arranged marriage will unite two of Wickery’s most powerful kingdoms. But after years of rivalry from afar, Adraa and Jatin only agree on one thing: their reunion will be anything but sweet.

Only, destiny has other plans and with the criminal underbelly of Belwar suddenly making a move for control, their paths cross…and neither realizes who the other is, adopting separate secret identities instead.

Between dodging deathly spells and keeping their true selves hidden, the pair must learn to put their trust in the other if either is to uncover the real threat. Now Wickery’s fate is in the hands of rivals..? Fiancées..? Partners..? Whatever they are, it’s complicated and bound for greatness or destruction.

Thanks to Penguin Random House Canada and NetGalley for giving me the chance to read and review this E-ARC.

My favourite aspect of Cast in Firelight is the main characters. This story alternates between Jatin’s and Adraa’s point of view. Their voices come alive through their perspectives.

I instantly fell in love with Jatin’s and Adraa’s personality. Adraa is a strong female lead in this novel. I enjoyed her interactions with her younger sister. The romance is also well done in this book. I felt the romance developed at a reasonable pace. It wasn’t too fast, and it wasn’t too slow. Throughout the book, I was rooting for their relationship. Jatin was so kind and I enjoyed the banter he and Adraa shared throughout the story.

Swift took this novel in a direction I wasn’t expecting. I enjoyed how Cast in Firelight unfolded. The magic system is well explained and easy to follow. I liked how the magic system is connected to the Gods and various colours. I like how you know which magic a person is using by the colour that appears. I could easily visualize the fights, in this novel, with all these different colours swirling about the scene. I seriously want this book to be adapted to film or television, so I can see it come alive on the screen. It kind of reminded me of Avatar The Last Airbender. In ATLA, the fights are very visual with water flowing about or rocks or fire being thrown at targets. Whereas in this book you imagine all these colours being thrown about the scene.

I thought the world-building and plot was well done. Swift’s fantasy world easily came alive through her words. I thought the plot went at a reasonable pace. It wasn’t difficult to figure out who the antagonist was in this story. I have a feeling that was a bit intentional. However, the ending was not something I had originally predicted, so I was pleasantly surprised. I’m excited to see where book two will take the plot and these characters.

My only critique of this novel is that I felt some of the side characters could have been better fleshed out. I think they weren’t given enough page time. I wanted to get to know characters like Zara, Riya, Kalyan and even Hiren better.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Cast in Firelight. I’m excited about the second novel in The Wickery Series. I thought the magic system was unique, and the romance was cute. I loved the main characters and their banter. This is a book I would certainly recommend.

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