Alright after a couple of soft-ball, considerably “meh” books, I was on the hunt for something interesting.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I ran into with Incendiary. It is dark and it is brooding and is actually much more involved than you might think for the vague description of “girl steals memories and tries to overthrow a king.” It’s a true description, but there is much more than that going on.
Renata– call her Ren, but not Nati– is a memory thief. The rarest and most powerful form of the hunted, magical Moria, Ren has always been an outsider. As a child, she was used as a weapon to hunt people like her. As a teenager, she is a member of a rebel alliance headed up by her best friend/love interest. But, as a mission gone wrong resorts in the capture of her love interest, Ren takes it upon herself to ingratiate herself back into the fold of people who shamelessly used her as a child in hopes of finding a secret weapon that will put the war between magical and non-magical to rest forever. But, of course, not everything is as it seems.
Yeah, I get what you’re thinking– it’s not particularly original. And you’d be correct. The book’s plot has most certainly been done before. But this one is done well, and sometimes that’s all you can hope for.
The pacing is actually very interesting. It’s a brutal and violent book with alot of action, but the pace takes its time, focusing more on the intrigue and politics of the court, rather than the pure adrenaline-inspiring missions. But when there are action-packed missions, they are done with a blend of emotion and precision. It’s what you would imagine from a group of teenage magical warriors.
The tone is where the book loses me a little. It is… unceasingly dark. There is not much joy to find AT ALL to find within these pages. Which, there shouldn’t be, when you are being hunted and murdered unflinchingly. But truly, the only source of humor in this book is by a minor character who only appears a handful of times.
Renata is… broody, angst-filled, isolated. Everything you’d
trope hope for in a Chosen One love interest. Only she can bring about the end of this, only she is strong enough, only she understands what it means to blah blah blah, you get what I mean. It was increasingly frustrating to watch her completely sun any form of help.
Saying that, at the ends, one of the final plot twists, she seems to have been proven right. For a girl who is so desperate to belong somewhere and to have it thrown in her face that she never will, it was rough to watch. Damn. That ending was harsh and sufficiently twist-y enough to have my mouth drop open.
If you are in the mood to immerse yourself in a violent world reminiscent of Inquisition-era Spain, but with a brutal, magical twist, pick up Incendiary. It’s certainly nothing revolutionary, but it is a well-written and well-thought out book.
I can’t wait for the sequel.