Moving right along into the one existing audiobook in my half of the pile. ^_^
Welcome to Pendark, a city of murky canals, brutal gladiator fights, and sorcerers who feud over access to the silvery magical substance known as Watermight.
Tamri is a scrappy magic thief who’s trying to get her grandmother out of this festering swamp of a city. But when a quick score involving a dragon goes wrong, she’s shipped off to a distant mountaintop kingdom where the legendary Fire Queen is starting a school for magic wielders.
The King of Pendark suspects the Fire Queen is up to something more dangerous than training young wielders, and he orders Tamri to find out the truth. If she fails, neither she nor her grandmother will survive the school year.
Return to the world of Steel and Fire in this all new adventure set five years after Night of Flame.
This is the story of two women, Tamri and Selivia. Tamri is a gutter urchin in the city of Pendark, who uses her ability to wield Watermight to steal it and sell it to the highest bidder. She does this primarily to make money to take care of her ailing grandmother. But one day, she gets roped into being a spy for the King of Pendark, and sent to gather information in the mountain kingdom where the Fire Queen runs a school for students to learn to use the magical substances, Watermight, Fire, and Air.
Selivia is the sister-in-law to the Fire Queen, and is on her way to a neighboring kingdom as she is betrothed to a nobleman there. Their betrothal is hopefully going to strengthen the alliance between those countries. But when she gets there, she finds out that her betrothed has gone missing. Selivia investigates his disappearance, which is likely due to his latest research on magical substances. Seems he may have gotten himself into some shenanigans.
This book apparently takes place after the events of a different series by this author, and it should be said that I have not read that series at all end yet had no trouble getting enjoyment from this book. This was a dragon-filled YA romp through several different lands. I started out not completely convinced that I was going to like it. Mainly because I didn’t start out really liking Tamri as a character, but it also took me a while to get really into the story. I did get there, though. This one got markedly more interesting as it went along, and as Tamri grew as a character, I was more and more on board. I listened to the last half of this one in one sitting, to put that in a bit of perspective.
The magic system is somewhat similar to Avatar’s idea of bending, though people are able to wield more than one element and require a specific magical substance to do anything. Each region in this world has a source of at least one of the magical substances, and so it is more likely that people from that region will learn what is the most available. Tamri starts out being quite talented with Watermight, as that is what there is abundant in Pendark, and yet learns to somewhat control Fire while at the Queen’s school where Fire is more abundant. There is consequence to not learning both at once from the beginning though. Because she is already so proficient with Watermight, it hurts Tamri to wield Fire, and she struggles to find ways to overcome this weakness. I enjoyed that the magic system had this complexity, consequences for its use and so on.
There is a bit of romance in store for each of the main characters, and I will admit that I was absolutely on board for both of them. The relationships were quite cute at times, and fleshed out really well, and as the book went on and I started to like the characters more and more, I cheered for them to end up happy in the end. The romance between Tamri and her beau felt a little rushed at times, considering his circumstances with other characters, but ultimately I cheered for the two of them.
As this was an audiobook, I have to say that the narrator, Caitlin Kelly did a pretty great job. She has a great tone of voice for narrating teenage/early twenties female characters, and I found that she made Tamri and Selivia seem more real to me. There are a few accents sprinkled here and there as well, which gave it a bit of depth that I probably wouldn’t have experienced in the print version.
So, all told, I thought this was a well-written and enjoyable YA romp, with a slower start, but plenty of action, intrigue, magic, romance, and dragons overall. After that ending, I’m interested to see where this series goes! 7.5/10 stars.