The Biased Bibliophile‘s Spoiler-Free Review of Enchanted Flames
Expected Publication: 18 June 2023
Series: 3rd book in the Enchanted Anthologies Series
Genre: YA Fantasy, Anthology
Rating: 5 Stars
If you play with fire, you might get burned…
Dig into this magical collection of short stories and discover among the embers ten fiery fantasy tales to set your heart ablaze.
Sneak past the ancient dragon as you steal from his hoard of gold and escape with the crown jewels. Journey deep into the Salamander Kingdom and follow the wyverns as they help the woodwitch to find the cure. Walk over earth scorched by a post-apocalyptic sun on a quest for survival, and find out why the firebird only eats golden apples. Watch the phoenix rise from the ashes and root for the golden dragon to woo his demigoddess in the Magic Kingdom.
Get this anthology hot off the press, and enjoy ten short fantasy stories by USA Today bestselling, award-winning and up-and-coming authors.
After all, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Enchanted Flames is fully illustrated by the talented Elena Shelest, and all profits will go to support a charity working to help communities prone to wildfires.
Review of Enchanted Flames
*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the authors in exchange for a fair and honest review.
If I loved Enchanted Forests, then I’m absolutely enamored by Enchanted Flames! The authors really raised the bar with this anthology, and I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised (not to mention that all the proceeds go to the World Land Trust’s Wildfire Appeal). Here are my mini-reviews for each story:
“In the Ashes” by Jo Holloway: I really enjoyed this twist on a Cinderella retelling! I love that Juliet’s story does not follow the original fairytale. I would’ve liked to see one of her relationships develop a little more (perhaps with Paris or her younger stepbrother). I also would’ve liked to see more of her growing closer to her people, but ultimately I appreciated the open-endedness to the story.
“Hero of the Wyverns” by Alice Ivinya (TOP 3): I loved everything about this story from Theresa’s character to the premise behind it. I would’ve been happy to read endless books with these characters. I know this story is one that is going to stick with me for a long time to come!
“A Candle Burns in Herboshi” by Ben Lang”: This story was so unique and incorporated the theme of fire subtly but effectively. The characters and plot really drew me in. I did not see the plot twist coming at all, and Lang is certainly a very talented author to be able to craft such an unexpected twist in a short story!
“To Steal a Kiss” by Sky Sommers: This was a really cute story, and I love that it was related to Sommers’ story in Enchanted Forests. I did feel like the romance was a bit rushed toward the end, but otherwise I enjoyed the dynamic between Eddie and Greta. I was also curious about the backstory and magic system. I look forward to reading more by Sommers soon!
“Gold Apples” by Astrid V.J.: I was lucky enough to have the chance to beta read this story, and I had a lot of fun reading it again! The story is inspiring, and I was blown away by Astrid’s ability to create such a wonderful character arc in a short story. She also has an uncanny knack for writing beautiful descriptions, truly bringing the story to life.
“Ping and the Phoenix” by Xander Cross: This story was a great continuation of Cross’s story from Enchanted Forests! Ping’s character growth is so compelling and I love the lines of wisdom scattered throughout. The way that Daoism was woven into the story was phenomenal!
“Cajun Cold Flames” by Donna White: This was a fast-paced, unique, and fun story! The setting of New Orleans was wonderful, and I enjoyed the various mystical creatures that were included. I particularly appreciated the humor woven throughout the story!
“Palace of Embers” by NDT Casale: Another story I was honored to beta read! I really enjoyed the sensory details in this story, along with some of the magical creatures. I would’ve liked to see more character agency in the protagonist. Likewise, the magic system is not always clear throughout the story. That being said, it was a cute tale!
“The Wyvern and the Woodwitch” by Lyndsey Hall (TOP 3): This was another story I had the pleasure of beta reading, and again, I was so excited to have the chance to revisit it at different stages! The plot is so intriguing, the characters lovable, and the writing exquisite. I adored the fact that the protagonist is a little older than many protagonists within the fantasy genre, and I loved the way the story took me to another world!
“The Scorch Tournament” by Elena Shelest (TOP 3): This apocalyptic story certainly strays from Shelest’s previous story in Enchanted Forests, and I won’t lie, I was nervous at first. However, Shelest demonstrated an impressive ability to write wonderfully across genres! This was another story in which I became completely immersed while reading. The depth of the characters was fantastic, the setting was vivid, and the plot was robust. There was just enough romance to add a fun element to the story. Overall, a truly wonderful take on what our future could look like on this planet!