The threads from the previous books are gathered together, and turned up to 11, in Flamebringer, the third installment in the Heartstone Series.
Aliza and Alastair Dairead have a rough journey home after the events at the end of Dragonshadow, but there is no rest for the fireborn Daireads as they journey to the capital, Edonarle, to warn the king about Wydrick and the rise of the ghasts. However, even the best laid plans fall apart, and with the Silent King landing on the shores of Arle, and war threatening, what can Nakla born Aliza hope to do to help the Dragonriders keep the peace?
Written in first person, past tense, from the point of view of Aliza, Flamebringer starts strong and builds to a shocking finale. Old friends from the first book return including Mari – yay! – and the adorable hobgoblin, Tobble. The history of the world and the fourfold gods make up a large portion of this book, and the increased mention of the mythology was something I welcomed. It is so rich and well thought out, I wish it had played a larger part in the earlier books.
With Flamebringer, I feel that the world of Arle has grownup. Much as I enjoyed the first two books, they are haunted by the shadow of Austen, and the true beauty of White’s world wasn’t free to spread its wings. There was something cosy about the first two books, which is thankfully gone in the third book. Not everyone is safe, not everything is as it seems, and the book is all the better for it.
Like Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom, Arle has turned into a three dimensional world, elevated beyond the mere words that describe it, into a real place that I would happily visit.
I award Flamebringer…
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