Today I’ve got an intriguing fantasy read from Anela Deen that I’m excited to share with you. If you’ve been looking for a book with diverse cultures, a prickly but strong heroine, and a love triangle that doesn’t necessarily make you want to tear your hair out, this is the book for you! And don’t forget to scroll down to find out about the Kindle Fire + e-Book Giveaway that Anela is running. 😉
A mysterious blight devastates the world of Aeden. The Vehlek–dark, immortal guardians of Aeden–have used their power to combat it through a blood sacrifice, one given every season from each of the four peoples. For generations this has diminished the Blight’s destructive force. Now their power wanes and the sickness worsens. Their scripture speaks of Providence, of mortals whose blood, combined with their power, can end it. But as yet, there has been no sign of them.
On the secluded islands of Malua, the Blight rots the land and destroys the harvests. The change of the tide marks the new season, and with it, the need for a blood sacrifice. For Maleia, daughter of a murdered king, wife to a usurper’s son, her hopes to reclaim her father’s throne are dashed when her child is stillborn. To her horror, the usurper king intends to use her daughter’s remains as the blood offering, condemning her small spirit to wander lost and alone. As the Vehlek emerge from their fiery underground caverns to claim the sacrifice, she commits a desperate act to take her daughter’s place, an act that unintentionally binds her to one of these strange, immortal men, and later reveals her to be an integral part of Providence as foretold by their scriptures.
While seeking out others like her, the Vehlek will guide her on her journey to the mainland to fulfill her destiny.The road is perilous, not least because her father’s murderer travels with her, and the Blight haunts their steps at every turn. With the lives of all hanging in the balance, and time running out, they will either cure their failing world through blood and flame, or see it fall to ruin.
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A Ransom of Flames is an epic journey–a quest to right what’s wrong in the world–and there sure is a lot wrong. From the terrifying Blight that seems to be chasing our main characters, to the instant death of every child that is born, to the cold, calculating approach of the fiery Vehlek who seem to be the only ones who know how to stop the Blight, this world is rife with danger. But this is also a story of transformation and growth–Maleia is hard and broken and bitter at the beginning of her journey, and as she sets off to find a way to end the Blight, and comes to know her traveling companions, she begins to find warmth again, begins to soften and learn to live and love again. I also loved that this was a diverse world. Maleia’s culture feels like it’s based on something from the Pacific Islands, perhaps Hawaii, and it’s awesome to sink into that. Each land they travel to has a different culture and way of doing things, which adds to the realism of this world.
As for cons, there weren’t too many. There is a love triangle in this story, and it’s a curious one. I didn’t altogether like it, but I didn’t despise it the way I often do, so you might want to give it a chance regardless. The pacing in the second half of the book slowed down a bit. I didn’t quite understand why the Vehlek required everyone to meet in the mountain city, only to make them cross the plains, when the Plains people had just journeyed to the mountains. Given the danger of the Blight, I would have expected them to push straight for the plains instead of picking a non-essential meeting spot. But, honestly, this feels more like a debut novel misstep that I could have easily made myself than a make-it or break-it kind of problem.
Overall, an intriguing and thought-provoking story, with twists and turns, epic dangers and everyday heroes, and a complex and well-built world. I am looking forward to reading more by Deen in the future.
Kindle Fire Giveaway!
This giveaway is being run by Anela on her website, so hop on over to get in on it!