Monday, August 27, 2018

#Review - A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna #YALit #SyFy

Series: The Celestial Trilogy# 1
Format: E-Galley, 320 pages
Release Date: September 11, 2018
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Young Adult / Science Fiction / Space Opera

The first book in a scifi retelling of the Mahabharata. When Esmae wins a contest of skill, she sets off events that trigger an inevitable and unwinnable war that pits her against the family she would give anything to return to.

The first book in a scifi retelling of the Mahabharata. When Esmae wins a contest of skill, she sets off events that trigger an inevitable and unwinnable war that pits her against the family she would give anything to return to.

In a universe of capricious gods, dark moons, and kingdoms built on the backs of spaceships, a cursed queen sends her infant daughter away, a jealous uncle steals the throne of Kali from his nephew, and an exiled prince vows to take his crown back.

Raised alone and far away from her home on Kali, Esmae longs to return to her family. When the King of Wychstar offers to gift the unbeatable, sentient warship Titania to a warrior that can win his competition, she sees her way home: she’ll enter the competition, reveal her true identity to the world, and help her famous brother win back the crown of Kali.

It’s a great plan. Until it falls apart.

Inspired by the Mahabharata and other ancient Indian stories, A Spark of White Fire is a lush, sweeping space opera about family, curses, and the endless battle between jealousy and love. 

"A spark of fire so hot and white that no one will be able to put it out."

A Spark of White Fire, by author Sangu Mandanna, is the first chapter of a major new trilogy with everything you want: complicated family dynamics that could rip the universe asunder, exhilarating action aboard an epic warship, swoony romance that will have readers begging for more. The story itself was pitched as Red Rising meets An Ember in the Ashes. It is a multicultural YA space opera inspired by the Mahabharata. 

The novel follows Esmae, a cursed and forgotten child of an Empire's dethroned Queen, who wants to return to her real family, and finds herself on the wrong side of the war that could destroy kingdoms across the galaxy. Esmae has lived her entire life onboard Wychstar, a spaceship kingdom. Nobody knows her true identity. She's watched over by Amba, the Goddess of War, and is best friends with Prince Rama who she grew up with. She plans on helping her brother Alexei win Titania, the sentient, unbeatable spaceship blessed by the gods.

Esmae, who is much beloved by the Gods & Goddesses, believes that winning Titania will help her win back Kali's throne for her brother Alexi that was stolen by their uncle Elvar and his adopted son Max. To do so, she will have to come out of the shadows, make a once in a lifetime shot at an impossible game where she is the pawn in a warlords game, and reveal her true identity. There's no black and white when it comes to who the villains are. This is a story about two sides of the same family battling for the Kingdom of Kali.

There's a whole lot of gray areas that are slowly revealed and unraveled the further you get into the story itself. Esmae discovers that the uncle who stole her brother's throne isn't entirely evil, nor is his son Max, nor are the people of Kali like Sybilla. Kali is a realm of warriors, myths, & usurpers. Of course, this puts a wrench in her plans as she starts liking her life with them and as she gets to know her brothers Alex and Bear. The one missing piece is the mother who threw away her only daughter.

Esmae is the spark that will tip the scales, but her actions will lead to consequences she can't imagine. The story is filled with plot twists and shocking surprises. This is a universe filled with Gods who may provide weapons, play tricks, grant boons, and level curses but they can't hurt humans or physically interfere or lose their immortality. This is the kind of impeccably put together, sweeping world building and character development that breaks out in the market and changes the conversation.    

Fans of Sabaa Tahir's An Ember in the Ashes, Amie Kaufman's These Broken Stars, Beth Revis' Across the Universe, & Rhoda Belleza's Empress of a Thousand Skies will enjoy and ask for more. Drawing on the Mahabharata and Indian mythology, Mandanna's trilogy takes the tropes of fate, love, and bargaining with the gods and shoots them to the stars. Fans of mythology and retellings will eat this up.  Book 2 will release in Fall 2019, and Book 3 is slated for Fall 2020.

No comments:

Post a Comment