Title: Cast in Firelight
Author: Dana Swift
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Synopsis: Adraa is the royal heir of Belwar, a talented witch on the cusp of taking her royal ceremony test, and a girl who just wants to prove her worth to her people. Jatin is the royal heir to Naupure, a competitive wizard who's mastered all nine colors of magic, and a boy anxious to return home for the first time since he was a child. Together, their arranged marriage will unite two of Wickery's most powerful kingdoms. But after years of rivalry from afar, Adraa and Jatin only agree on one thing: their reunion will be anything but sweet. Only, destiny has other plans and with the criminal underbelly of Belwar suddenly making a move for control, their paths cross...and neither realizes who the other is, adopting separate secret identities instead. Between dodging deathly spells and keeping their true selves hidden, the pair must learn to put their trust in the other if either is to uncover the real threat. Now Wickery's fate is in the hands of rivals..? Fiancées..? Partners..? Whatever they are, it's complicated and bound for greatness or destruction.
Review: Author Dana Swift’s debut novel, Cast in Firelight, is a fun and easy read for fans of young adult fantasy. The rival to lovers troupe is engaging and sweet. Both characters kept me laughing with their witty banter. The author’s decision to switch between Adraa and Jatin’s POVs added a pleasant twist. I really enjoyed the magic system, especially the color-coded fortes. It helped me visualize the combat scenes without confusion.
The pacing flowed nicely as well as the dialogue. I never found myself bored or uninterested in the plot, nor did I find the conversations unrealistic. Readers who prefer “slow burn” romances will love Adraa’s and Jatin’s relationship, but if you’re looking for steam, this isn’t the book for you. It’s a safe read for middle schoolers.
The only thing that irked me while reading was the author’s overuse of the word “blood”. I believe she substituted it for a common curse word. My adult mind kept replacing it with f*ck or sh*t. LOL
Overall, I enjoyed the plot and characters. The cliffhanger was well-rounded but left me wanting more.
Escapism Factor: 4/5
Emotional Connection: 4/5
Character Development: 4/5
Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Completed Read: March 2021