ARCs · Book Reviews

ARC Review: These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy

Three Dark Crowns meets Wicked Saints in this queer #ownvoices retelling of “The Firebird,” a Russian folktale, by debut author Alexandra Overy.

When twin heirs are born in Tourin, their fates are decided at a young age. While Izaveta remained at court to learn the skills she’d need as the future queen, Asya was taken away to train with her aunt, the mysterious Firebird, who ensured magic remained balanced in the realm.

But before Asya’s training is completed, the ancient power blooms inside her, which can mean only one thing: the queen is dead, and a new ruler must be crowned.

As the princesses come to understand everything their roles entail, they’ll discover who they can trust, who they can love—and who killed their mother.

Release Date: April 20th, 2021

*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review! Thanks to Inkyard Press for the opportunity*

I was excited about this book. The cover is gorgeous, the concept is really cool, and I had been seeing some good reviews for it. Unfortunately, it fell flat for me. The twin main characters, Izaveta and Asya, were separated in childhood to train for their destined roles as the Queen and the Firebird. The story begins when they each have to step into their roles suddenly and earlier than expected. The twins had contrasting personalities which made for an interesting dichotomy in the storytelling and their character development, but I had trouble connecting with them. The story centers around the complicated relationship between the sisters, and other than being told that they used to be inseparable, I didn’t feel their bond. All of the relationships lacked chemistry and depth that would have made me really care about them. The Russian-inspired world seemed cool, especially the system of magic and balance, but I felt like we only scratched the surface with all the aspects in the world-building, and having a deeper understanding would have enriched the story a lot. Because of these things, even though I thought the plot was interesting, I wasn’t as invested in it as I wanted to be. It felt a little dry in parts and there were moments when it felt like I was just reading the same thing again with no forward movement. The ending, plot-wise, was stellar and I did not see the twists coming, but since I wasn’t entirely invested in the relationships, it didn’t pack as much of a punch as it should have. It leaves on a cliffhanger and sets us up nicely for the second part of the duology, but I don’t know if I will go on to read the next book. I can definitely see people enjoying this book, but it just wasn’t enough for me.

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