(Rated: 13+)Product Type: Book
Reviewer: Shrieking Shaye
Review Rated: 13+
Amazon's Price: $ 23.99
Gods and space ships. Cobbled streets and tech screens. It’s quite the mishmash of science fiction and fantasy.
It continues to be an intriguing mix of mythology, classic fantasy and science fiction. It’s got Gods and Goddesses that are undeniably real, kings, queens and court drama, but it’s all set on spaceships the size of kingdoms with a seemingly sentient, albeit smaller spaceship at the centre of it all along with our main character.
A Spark of White Fire (named brilliantly because it’s one of those books where the name is actually said in the book and you get the “ah, that’s awesome” moment) is a sci-fi retelling of The Mahabharata, a long (1.8 million words long) epic poem from Indian myth. I admit to knowing little about it before reading this book, but having done some research since, I love the elements of it that the author brought across in her retelling and how it was spun as a science fantasy. From the 100 stepbrothers becoming the orphaned military force The Hundred and One to the way the characters have been recreated whilst still holding true to the original story.
Our main character is Esmae, seemingly an orphaned peasant girl from one of the aforementioned spaceship kingdoms, but it’s not long before the reader and eventually, the world realises she is so much more. Esmae’s transition from peasant to royalty was fun to read, and as she settled into what life meant as a royal, it enabled the author to also learn more of the world that Sangu Mandanna had built and the intricacies of politics across nations split apart by space and divided by much more.
This book has plenty of tropes everyone will love. From enemies to lovers (admittedly, you don’t see the enemy side for too long), to meddling Gods, long lost families, chosen ones and strong female characters. There’s plenty here to love, and love it I did! And it quelled my obsession with myth retellings for a little while, which is always a good thing.
On top of that, it’s a well-written YA, that’s marketed perfectly at YA not only because of the story but because of the easy-going reading style. I flew through this book in a few hours and whilst it has its fair share of plot twists, none of them was terribly surprising or shocking. If you’ve read enough YA Fantasy, I imagine you’ll be able to predict where this book ends up, but it was wonderful to read and I don’t resent it for that in the slightest.
The one thing that really gave me pause is the relationship. It gets a little complicated with how they’re related, and I think ultimately it’s pretty distant, but because he was adopted by her Uncle, it makes them adoptive cousins. They didn’t grow up together or even ever see each other prior to the book, but it still left me with a little bit of a question, which was a shame because their relationship was otherwise an enjoyable read.
Despite a few things I mentioned, that’s just me being nitpicky, it’s still a quick and fun read and I 100% plan to pick up the next book. It’s the first book I’ve read inspired by Indian myth and I need to seek out more as there are such fascinating stories to be told, especially if I can hunt down some more retellings.
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Created Aug 06, 2021 at 4:15pm • Submit your own review...