This week’s Biblioshelf Musing is Shadow and Flame which is the sequel to Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett. If you follow my other posts you’ll know that I’m not that great at keeping up with sequels. That being said, in my new little world of trying to maintain good ‘atomic habits’, the motivational need to clear some series space on my shelves prompted me to add Shadow and Flame to my birthday book haul.
🚨 There may be some spoilers ahead for the first book in the series but if you want to read one of my very early reviews then you can find my thoughts on Onyx and Ivory here.
Book: Shadow and Flame by Mindee Arnett
Genre: Fantasy / YA
Publication Date: 4th June 2019
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
From acclaimed author Mindee Arnett comes the thrilling conclusion of the stunningly epic, action-packed, and romantic fantasy adventure about a powerful girl possessed of strange magic, the outcast prince she loves, and the kingdom that has torn them apart.
Kate and Corwin are on the run, desperate for allies in a new world of war among the kingdoms of Rime. As the book opens, Kate suffers a massive loss, one that will shape the struggle for freedom of all wilders and magic folk—that is, if Kate can learn to control her own power.
The World of Rime
Wow, it felt so good to be back in Rime. I have to say that in a bookish world swamped with lots of medieval-style fantasy settings, the Kingdom of Rime felt really homely and not overdone. To be honest I think the setting may be one of my favourite parts of the whole novel. In Shadow and Flame we get to do a little more exploration of Seva and the Mistfold which is where the story kicks off. I can’t quite describe why I like it so much but the references to everweeps and the mysterious statues all just add to it being a nice place to spend some reading time in my head. Finding out the source of the Wilders’ magic and it’s link to the kingdom was one of those niche little things that I enjoyed whilst reading. I’m really hoping that we can come back to this world someday just to explore the places on the map that we didn’t really see.
Signe and the Esh Islands
One of those places is the Esh Islands where Signe is from. Signe is such a mysterious character and she has a really unusual appearance with ruby-like gems surrounding her mouth. As part of the Furen Mag, we find out much more about Signe’s identity throughout the book, however the ending left me feeling like there was a little more to this character and her heritage that I wanted to know an awful lot more about. We finally discover the secret of the mystical Black Powder, but it all just leaves me wanting a spin-off series about Signe and the Furen Mag.
Paragon and Uror
The Paragon and the Uror are central devices used to carry out the plot and battle between good and evil in the Rime Chronicles. It’s quite hard to talk about them without giving away major spoilers but as far as ‘roles for heroes’ go, these were pretty effective and I liked the symbolism of the black/white themes that accompanied their descriptions. They were both fairly predictable within the story but I really did enjoy the storytelling around the way they were represented – who doesn’t love a magical horse right?!
To Sway or not to Sway
Kate’s wilder ability is to control people’s minds with Sway. The book goes into great detail about how the ability to invade someone’s mind or force them to do things against their will comes with a heavy burden and a price to pay. This is part of a major conscience battle for Kate and I like the way the author explores the way her use of her wilder ability affects some of her closest friendships – it’s not often that we get to see the psychological ramifications of something like this taking a key focal part in a fantasy tale.
All in all, The Rime Chronicles were a nice, fun read. The characters were nice, the plot was nice, the magic system was nice – nice, nice, nice. I occasionally read parts of the story and had a deja-vu moment as if I had heard of that ‘blackened, poisoned hand’ somewhere before… but on the whole, it was an enjoyable story which I’m definitely glad to have picked up and completed. Predictable in places, slightly rushed at the end after the final battle and although I feel like I’m ready to say goodbye to the world of Corwin and Kate, I’m definitely not quite ready to part with the whole of the Kingdom of Rime and would look forward to more books from this quaint little fantasy-fictional world.
Have you read the Rime Chronicles? Would you rather be a Wilder and pull your magic from the Earth around you, or a Magist who creates magic through making magical orbs and portals? I think I’m definitely more on the Wilder side. As always, drop me a comment to chat!