thebiasedbibliophile’s Review of Chaos & Flame by Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland
Justina Ireland is one of my favorite authors, so when I saw that she was a co-author of Chaos & Flame, the first book in a YA Fantasy duology, set to come out on March 28th, I was so excited!
The novel follows Darling, the last person left from House Sphinx, and Talon, the War Prince of House Dragon, the house that slaughtered House Sphinx. The Prince Regent and Talon’s brother, Caspian, has been painting Darling since he was a child, but no one realized how important she truly was. After the head of House Kraken adopted Darling as his own, she became a fierce soldier, willing to do whatever it takes for her house to survive. However, when she’s kidnapped by Talon, she realizes that the war is not as simple as it seems, and when she sees a chance at peace, she feels compelled to take it.
This book has all the promising features of a YA fantasy novel: a slow burn romance, intense fight scenes, and political intrigue. While I absolutely loved most of the book, the ending left a lot to be desired. Basically, the ending felt very unfinished to me. The plot of this book felt like it’s sole purpose was to set up the second novel, which I’m looking forward to reading, but the book should be able to stand on it’s own.
That being said, there were so many elements that I adored! The different houses were fun, and the prophetic element added a unique sense of mystery. The romance that develops is cute, and I enjoyed reading it from both characters’ points of view.
Similarly, Darling was an interesting character. Her physical disability was incorporated nicely, granted there were a couple instances in which a slight plot hole occurred because of her disability. For instance, it is mention that other characters cannot see Darling’s eyes due to the dark goggles she wears, but at one point Talon sees her wink at him, which wouldn’t be possible. It was not a major issue, but it did momentarily distract my attention away from the story.
Likewise, the magic of the characters’ boons was a cool feature.
Overall, I enjoyed reading Chaos & Flame, but it felt a little unfinished. I will be curious to see what the next book in the series is like.
Expected Publication: 28 March 2023
Authors: Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland
Representation: LGBTQIA+, Disability, POC
Rating: 3.5 Stars