Deception, Mystery and Rebellion
The sequel to A Study of Ash and Smoke was everything I hoped it would be. Following Carabelle’s journey outside of the mantle, we find our characters dealing with paranoid King, a mind blowing conspiracy to gain control of the crown, and Sera fighting for her and her loved one’s survival.
Thank you to Author Yolandie Horak for gifting me a review copy in exchange for my honest review.
Multiple POV’s that have come together to form the big picture in a magnificent way. I always become hesitant when there are more than three point of views in a novel, because it has a great impact on the flow of the story. So often it feels like it reads in a stop-start manner. However, Ms Horak has found the golden balance with her five POV’s in this series. From book one to book two, the flow has been phenomenal.
Horak has the ability to capture the world’s most horrible reactions towards race, sexual orientation and gender and turn it into an empowering lesson for the reader about accepting your own truth and embracing your own choices. You do not have to compromise yourself for the sake of others comfort. And that abuse at the hand of a ‘nice guy’ still remains abuse.
“Every woman in a position of power is a woman with a voice”–Chapter 1 page 9, A trial of Sparks and Kindling, Yolandie Horak
This is one of the few books that I feel has a great amount of realistic representation when it comes to gender, sexual orientation, race and socio economic classes. It addresses the different stigma’s in an eye opening way.
Lies, deceit and rebellious females. This book had me hooked
Complex storyline that will have you rooting for your favourite characters like never before. Horak weaves an intricate tapestry with her story thread, and with this book the picture becomes a little clearer with every chapter. I cannot wait for the next book to see how this all comes together.
The narrative highlights the complexities of working with people. Horak’s characters are multi-dimensional with so much depth, that you can’t really hate the bad guy. But you can definitely dislike him on a really deep level. Adding much needed colour with cultural practices and behaviourisms, you cannot help but get swept up in this story.
“In Dvara, coffee is a sacred thing, almost as sacred as the gods, the bears and ale.”– Chapter 5, page 46, A trial of Sparks and Kindling, Yolandie Horak
The world building was and still is expertly done. In the first book, we got glimpses of the world outside the mantel. In this book we get to see more of the outside world, while keeping our fingers on the pulse of Aelland.
What did I not love about this book? So this is just my honest opinion. I didn’t like that a specific character was killed off after so much of book one was spent on investing in this character and their development. I understand the need to bring in a plot twist amongst the characters.
The pace of the book is great. In comparison to the first book, this action packed one will have your adrenalin pumping most of the time. The rest of the time you will find yourself trying to solve some of the mystery.
Lovers of We hunt the Flame and the Deathless Girls will enjoy this series.
Who can be trusted in a kingdom built on lies?
Against all odds, Cara has been reunited with her brother, Frank. But at what cost to her companions? At what cost to herself? Collinefort is a place of intrigue and lies, where menace lurks in the shadows. In greater Mordoux, the Salamander’s forces attack the resistance without end. Under the Mantle is civil war. Noble against slummer against commoner, and the rot plague against all. Death stalks beyond the trenches. Who will rise to stop it?
About the Author:
Yolandie Horak can often be found typing away at the computer or nibbling at the end of a paintbrush. When not writing or making art, she spends her time cuddling her daughter and husband, reading, fangirling, or gaming.
She resides in Calgary, Canada, but misses the milk tart and koeksisters she frequently ate in her hometown of Johannesburg, South Africa. Her debut novel, A Study of Ash & Smoke, was a 2020 Nommo Award nominee. She’s currently working on A Curse of Venom and Scales, the third instalment of the Fall of the Mantle series.
She has been a passionate blogger since the dawn of time, and updates her blog twice per week with art tutorials, her thoughts on writing, book reviews and experiences as an immigrant.
*Fun fact: If you sign up for the Newsletter, you can get a free downloadable colouring book based on this book.
Yolandie also has a dedicated Society 6 shop to showcase some of her amazing artwork.