Whispers of Shadow & Flame
Author: L. Penelope
Pub. Date: October 30,2015
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Earthsinger Chronicles Book 2
Born with a deadly magic she cannot control, Kyara is forced to become an assassin. Known as the Poison Flame, she is notorious and lethal, but secretly seeks freedom from both her untamed power and the blood spell that commands her. She is tasked with capturing the notorious rebel known as the Shadowfox, but everything changes when she learns her target’s true identity.
Darvyn ol-Tahlyro may be the most powerful Earthsinger in generations, but guilt over those he couldn’t save tortures him daily. He isn’t sure he can trust the mysterious young woman who claims to need his help, but when he discovers Kyara can unlock the secrets of his past, he can’t stay away.
As forbidden desire ignites their hearts, Kyara and Darvyn grapple with betrayal, old promises, and older prophecies — all while trying to stop a war. And when a new threat emerges, the cost of their love might just be too high.
This is Book number 2 in a series, but you do not have to have read the first book, Song of Blood & Stone, in the series to read Book 2 because they have different characters and a parallel timeline. Although, you should totally read Book 1 because it's awesome.
First can we talk about the cover? I love covers that are "Unapologetically black" there is no hiding the character's race through shadow or outline, we see that this is a "black book" and I love it. L. Penelope has a knack for putting the perfect cover with her books, look at the cover for Book 1 in this series, it is gorgeous.
Well, they say you can't judge a book by it's cover, but I am a sucker for a pretty cover. Luckily, Whispers of Shadow & Flame is way more than a pretty cover, it is a book with heart and a female character that manages to not only save herself, but her love interest as well. If you like strong female characters, then you'll love both books in the Earthsinger Chronicles. Okay on to the synopsis!
This book takes place in Lagrimar, a land compromised of an all black population who are Earthsingers. Earthsingers are those who have magical powers to manipulate the natural elements to their will although they cannot use the natural elements to kill anyone when used in combat it is only used in defensive measures.
However our main character Kyara is not an Earthsinger she has a rare and deadly magical power she is a Nethersinger and her power is derived from the mortality in others, so infants for example have less Nether for her to draw from than someone who is elderly or ill.
Kyara has been drafted into the ranks of the True Father's army and she is known as the Poisoned Flame for her ability to kill without touching someone. She is sent on a mission to find the Shadowfox,, who is currently the strongest Earthsinger alive and a member of a resistance party against the True Father. Kyara ends up meeting and falling for the Shadowfox, Darvyn, and I don't want to post any spoilers so that's where I'll leave my synopsis.
So to say I liked this book is an understatement. It gave me everything I needed, action, adventure, magic, romance, sex and it hit me straight in the FEELS!
I love the way L. Penelope writes her female characters. First none of them are virgins, you might be saying to yourself, "Why does that matter?". It matters because it doesn't shame her characters for not waiting for "the one". I didn't wait for "the one" and most people don't and I think it's a way to indoctrinate young women through literature to a purity standard that says you can only have sex with "the one" and if you don't you're dirty or unworthy of being the heroine . Okay, that's my little soapbox and now I'm off it. In both Earthsinger books the female characters are strong women who don't need men to accomplish their goals and in fact are the saviors. Can I repeat that??? THEY ARE THE SAVIORS!
And if awesomely written female characters aren't enough for you, can we talk about the world building. L. Penelope does a wonderful job of building up the Earthsinger world, she even has a map in the beginning matter of the book, but even without looking at that, I could clearly picture the landscape she's painted for us with her words.
More gushing...The magic. First the powers that the different characters have is well thought out and the rules used in the novel are consistent. I hate inconsistent magic in novels or characters that can "do all the things". If the magic rules don't make sense or the characters are all powerful it instantly pulls me out of the book into picking at the flaws of the way the magic is portrayed.
So, in closing, Whispers of Shadow & Flame is awesome, you should BUY IT and I can't wait until Book 3. However, I don't think I will be satisfied with only 3 books in this series so I'm going to need L.Penelope to make this a decalogy (yes I'm asking for 10 books!).