Hello, friends! I’m back with another The Fantastic Flying Book Club blog tour today for the amazing Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova! Every time I get picked to be part of any FFBC blog tour I die a little bit inside out of pure happiness because it’s always such a privilege 🥰 Huge thanks to FFBC for organising these amazing tours and to the authors as well for making the eARCs available to us.
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Incendiary (Hollow Crown #1)
Release date: 28 April 2020
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
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.
Zoraida Córdova is the author of many fantasy novels including Star Wars: A Crash of Fate, the Brooklyn Brujas series, and The Vicious Deep trilogy. Her novel Labyrinth Lost won the International Book Award for Best Young Adult Novel in 2017. Her short fiction has appeared in the New York Times bestselling anthology Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, and Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft. Her upcoming books include Incendiary, book one in the Hollow Crown duology (Hyperion 2020) and she’s the co-editor of Vampires Never Get Old (Imprint 2020). Zoraida was born in Ecuador and raised in Queens, New York. When she isn’t working on her next novel, she’s planning her next adventure
I can’t believe there was a point earlier this year when I thought I didn’t want to read this but I’m glad that feeling flew away with the wind because I absolutely loved it–the world, the magic, the characters! Cordova does a fantastic job pulling readers into this Spanish inspired world with her whimsical prose and easy writing style. There’s so much I enjoyed about this book that I don’t even know where to start talking about it!
I started reading this having forgotten what it was about so I was initially confused but it really didn’t take long for me to become immersed in this world and to grow attached to the characters. I enjoyed the world building and how seamlessly the history of Puerto Leones and Memoria were woven into the unfolding of the story. I also loved the magic and the Moria’s different powers (I can’t decide which I’d want more) but of course Ren’s ability to steal memories was the most interesting to me! That said, I feel like we only got to see small pieces of a much much bigger world and there were times I wish we got more details; especially about the history of magic and Memoria and how the King became so powerful.
The plot was driven by revenge and although there were parts where the pacing slowed down, the majority of the story was fast and full of action. There were secrets, mystery, betrayals, and a healthy dose of political intrigue. Cordova threw in a few plot twists that had me shook and even though I predicted one or two towards the end, I loved the build up to the actual reveal (is it just me who gets all excited about them even though you already know what’s going to happen?)–the anticipation was delicious!
As for the characters, the story is told through Ren’s eyes and I really enjoyed being in her mind. I found her complex and intriguing because of everything that she has been through and all that she feels towards herself. She’s riddled with guilt and self-loathing due to her past and it came through so strongly in the writing that it made my heart hurt! Despite being constantly beat down by others, she never bites back or breaks and I see a great strength in that. I can see how some people could say she’s one dimensional because the growth in her character really only comes through in the end, but I appreciate that we watch her unravel a bit as she faces her past and her memories start to resurface. I can definitely feel that she will experience a lot more growth in the coming back. Other than Ren, most of the other character don’t get much attention. I’m most curious about Prince Castian and Sayida and I hope we get much more of them in the coming book.
Overall, this was such a fun and fast read and I didn’t want to put it down for a second! While maybe not wholly unique with its magic system, and it’s certainly not without its share of tropes, I thought all the elements came together nicely and made for a very entertaining read. I’m already eagerly anticipating the next book! Definitely recommended.
Note: These quotes are taken from an advanced copy and are subject to change in the final copy.
If you’re curious about the book, you can check out this excerpt!
Have you read Incendiary or is it on your TBR?