Today is my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for Cast in Firelight by Dana Swift.
Special thanks to Delacorte Press for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Be sure to click on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!
Goodreads: Cast in Firelight (Wickery #1)
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: 19 January 2021
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
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
Dana Swift started making up fantasy worlds when she was eleven years old and hasn’t stopped since. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned degrees in English and Advertising. While in college, Dana competed as a saber fencer and learned a thing or two about fighting, parrying and how it feels to fall in love with your sparring partner. She currently lives with said husband in Miami, Florida.
I was a bit wary going into this when I realised that it’s an Indian inspired fantasy written by a white author but I read Dana Swift’s note where she says this isn’t Own Voices and she wrote this for her children so that they could one day see themselves in a story. I went into this with few expectations so I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the story! This was pure entertainment from the easy-to-love characters, a unique magic system, a fast-paced and action-packed plot, and a swoon-worthy enemies-to-lovers romance!
The world of Witchery is mildly influenced by Indian culture, most notably when it comes to the food, dress, religious rituals (such as morning temple prayers), and part of the caste system with references to members of society being Touched and Untouched. I appreciated how Swift presented aspects of Indian culture without trying to represent the culture by inserting herself in the struggles of POC, if that makes sense? As a POC, I didn’t find what she wrote offensive, but obviously I can’t speak from an Indian POV. The overall world building was interesting though I do wish that certain aspects were made more clear. It took a bit of time for me to “place” myself in the story in terms of the different areas of Wickery and understanding which rajas ruled. The whole lineage on Jatin’s side of the family actually confused me a bit but it also didn’t have a major impact on the story. I thought the magic system based on elements and bestowed by the gods was pretty simple but fun, and the simplicity of it made it easier to follow each time magic was used–and thankfully, we got to see a lot of it in the story!
The plot had a lot more elements than I initially expected. I can’t go into details without spoiling anything but there were plenty of high-stakes adventures, a bit of a mystery, and some political scheming on top of the magic and romance, and all of this kept the story moving at a rapid pace. There was truly never a dull moment! My favourite part were the characters though. Adraa and Jatin had such distinct voices and both were so easy to like and root for, which made following both their POVs really enjoyable. Swift also did a great job in weaving humour into her writing which upped the amusement factor and had me laughing out loud plenty of times (I’m also just really easily amused). It was definitely a cheesy kind of humour but I live for that stuff!
Adraa and Jatin hit it off on the wrong foot when they meet as kids and over the years, a fierce competition grows between them. There’s a lot of anxiety from both their sides in this arranged marriage, but their pride and the prejudice they have built against each other really doesn’t help their relationship get on good footing. And while things don’t go at all to plan when Jatin returns to Naupure, I couldn’t imagine their story unfolding any other way! Their banter was so good and I really felt their chemistry! This does sway a bit more heavily towards romance, although surprisingly (imo) not very angsty, but I do love a good romantasy and this definitely ticked all the boxes! Also, I have to say that while I don’t usually go for the whole lying and deception in relationships of any kind, something about it just worked for me in this book.
Overall, this wasn’t what I expected but I enjoyed every single moment of the ride. Thankfully, there isn’t really a cliffhanger ending although I’m curious to see how this duology concludes. I have a feeling the next book might be more angsty but I’m keen to get my hands on it already! 😂 This was a promising debut for Swift and I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes out with after this.
This was my first time ever trying to do a book look and I was cursing myself the whole time as my original plan to wear my shalwar kameez from high school but… Years have changed this body 🙃 And when I went to find my lehenga it was nowhere to be found… Sooo, I had to scramble for a non-existent back up! 😂 Goes without saying that this ended up being a lot harder than I expected! People make it look soo easy to not only look good but to match the books perfectly! I on the other hand… Well, I did my best so please let the awkwardness slide… 😂
JOIN the GIVEAWAY (US ONLY) to WIN a finished copy of CAST IN FIRELIGHT! Enter the giveaway ➡️ HERE!
GIVEAWAY ENDS 25 JANUARY 2021
Have you read Cast in Firelight or is it on your TBR?