book blogger · book review · Books · fantasy · historical fiction · Y/A

Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova

I am Renata Convida.
I have lived a hundred stolen lives.
Now I live my own.

Renata Convida was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King’s Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a Robari, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata’s ability to steal memories from royal enemies enabled the King’s Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.

Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown and helping the remaining Moria escape the kingdom bent on their destruction. The Whispers may have rescued Renata from the palace years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred–or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she turned “hollow” during her time in the palace.

When Dez, the commander of her unit, is taken captive by the notorious Sangrado Prince, Renata will do anything to save the boy whose love makes her place among the Whispers bearable. But a disastrous rescue attempt means Renata must return to the palace under cover and complete Dez’s top secret mission. Can Renata convince her former captors that she remains loyal, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.

But returning to the palace stirs childhood memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the entire fate of the kingdom–and end the war that has cost her everything.

Expected publication date: 28th April 2020

My thoughts:

*I was sent a kindle edition of this novel via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

From the moment I read that this book was inspired by Inquisition Era Spain and had all the intrigue and politics of a royal court, I was hooked and immediately requested a copy via NetGalley. I honestly couldn’t bring myself to stop reading this book, it reinforced my love for Y/A fantasy in so many ways. It’s reminiscent of other Y/A fantasy that is around right now but is still unique and has a flair and skill that is hard to find.

Incendiary is a captivating and intense story of magic, power, love and loss. Following Ren Convida, a Robari – someone who has the power to view and take memories from anyone she touches, leading her to be shunned by her own people as well as those who want to eradicate the Moria all together. We read as Ren is part of the resistance, The Whispers who try and smuggle people to safety and then as she is forced to return to the confines of the palace, and to the very people who took her from her own family once before. Ren is then forced to play politics and palace intrigue, all the while intending to get revenge on the brutal Prince Castian and his cruel father.

One of the novels biggest strengths is the world building and magic system. I loved how intricate and well written this novel was and how it didn’t take me long to get to grips with it all either. I think this is partly due to Zoraida Córdova’s skill as a writer and how her prose has so much clarity and ease. There are so many quiet, beautiful quotes in this novel which I kept highlighting because they just kept coming.

I loved Ren as the protagonist and thought she was so interesting and complex. I was rooting for her right from the beginning and wanted her to find the peace she deserves so badly. Her entire life she’s been on the outskirts looking in due to her rare form of magic, she is seen as a threat to be controlled or feared, rather than an actual person. It was so satisfying then to see her find power in herself and accept what she can’t change and find real friendship and connection after such a long time of feeling on the outside. I thought her relationship with Dez, who is her best friend as well as her love interest, so sweet and genuine. Usually I root for the ‘bad boy’ character but Dez won me over right from the start which is so unusual for me!

As well as Ren being such a great main character, I loved the secondary characters we got to know as well. I liked Dez, Sayida, Esteban and Margo individually and their dynamic as a group, despite the latter two’s more frosty treatment of Ren at times. Prince Castian while seemingly violent and irredeemable, also had much more to him and I enjoyed seeing how his part of the story played out. This is a novel where the characters are morally gray at times and make messed up decisions, and this isn’t just restricted to the ‘bad guys’ either. Don’t get me wrong, there are some villains I loved to hate despite this.

Overall, I can’t recommend Incendiary enough, it’s well written, has characters that readers will root for and has some twists and turns which I loved. I can see this book being huge on its release and rightfully so because it’s such an enjoyable tale. I’m already anticipating the sequel, can it be here like now??

Until next time,

Rumaanah x

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