17 January 2021

ARC Review // Five Reasons You Should Read Cast in Firelight

Title: Cast in Firelight [book depository | amazon]
Author: Dana Swift
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Published: 19th January 2021
Pages: 448 pages
The first book in an epic, heart-pounding fantasy duology about two royal heirs betrothed to be married, but whose loyalties are torn, and a ruthless enemy who threatens their world, perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Hafsah Faizal, and Renée Ahdieh.

Adraa is the royal heir of Belwar, a talented witch on the cusp of taking her royal ceremony test, and a girl who just wants to prove her worth to her people.

Jatin is the royal heir to Naupure, a competitive wizard who's mastered all nine colors of magic, and a boy anxious to return home for the first time since he was a child.

Together, their arranged marriage will unite two of Wickery's most powerful kingdoms. But after years of rivalry from afar, Adraa and Jatin only agree on one thing: their reunion will be anything but sweet.

Only, destiny has other plans and with the criminal underbelly of Belwar suddenly making a move for control, their paths cross...and neither realizes who the other is, adopting separate secret identities instead.

Between dodging deathly spells and keeping their true selves hidden, the pair must learn to put their trust in the other if either is to uncover the real threat. Now Wickery's fate is in the hands of rivals..? Fiancées..? Partners..? Whatever they are, it's complicated and bound for greatness or destruction.

Cast in Firelight comes out next this week, and I could not be more excited. If you haven't yet pre-ordered your copy of Cast in Firelight, here are five reasons why you should cherish this book and add it to your bookshelf.

Cover lust. ❤️ I'm pretty sure this is a very good reason to admire this book and want to have a copy  of your own, right? RIGHT?!
A perfect built romance. Cast in Firelight brings together two of my favourite romance tropes: hate-to-love and arranged marriage. Adraa's and Jatin's first meeting does not go well -- there might have been a punch or a slap. It depends on whom tells the story. Since then, the two developed a very competitive relationship -- "whatever you can do, I can do it better." All in all, they pretty much push each other to be better -- as well as they push each other buttons. It was great to follow their rivalry and then see it blossoming into love.

Secret identities. Who does not like a good deceiving game? After almost a decade without seeing each other, Adraa and Jatin have no clue of how each other looks. When their paths finally cross, they do not recognize each other. With no knowledge of their true identity, Adraa and Jatin start working together (and they start trusting each other) under a different identity to save Belwar from drug lords and thieves.

Wickery. Before I ramble about what I enjoyed about the world-building, there are some pertinent issues, which have been raised, that must be addressed. Although Cast in Firelight is strongly inspired by Indian culture, Dana Swift isn't POC -- her husband is. As she wrote in a note, she wrote this story for their future children. Nevertheless, I'm not sure if there are inadequacies regarding the world-building resulting from Orientalism (even though her husband and his family did seem to have had a saying on the story). Please, read own-voices reviews to be sure that there is nothing wrong regarding representation -- these reviewers will be able to point out if their culture is correctly depicted.
All of this said, while I cannot discuss if the representation is done correctly, I want to say that I did enjoy this colour-based magic system. Every kind of magic and God/Goddess has a colour. Those who can do magic are marked -- they are marked with the "touch" by the Gods and Goddesses. Of course, in Adraa's situation, she is only marked by Erif, Goddess of Fire (and more I cannot say). Moreover, I was caught up by the criminal underworld of Belwater, the political intrigue and the royal trials.
The ending. Do not worry that I will not be spoiling the end of Cast in Firelight. 😋 I absolutely loved how it didn't break my heart. Also, I loved that there was not a major cliffhanger (there was still a cliffhanger), and yet I can't wait to read the next book in this duology. I must know what comes next in Adraa's and Jatin's journey!

Thanks for the free book [aka my first ever physical ARC] @PRHGlobal/@prhinternational in exchange for an honest review.

Are you excited about Cast in Firelight?

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