Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Published: September 25th 2018
Where I Got It: Amazon
Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire's capital - her fate: to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village's tithe has been the same woman. Gilene's sacrifice protects all the other young women of her village, and her secret to staying alive lies with the magic only she possesses.
But this year is different.
Azarion, the Empire's most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her illusion, and is set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape his life of slavery. And unknown to Gilene, he also wants to reclaim the birthright of his clan.
To protect her family and village, she will risk everything to return to the Empire and burn once more.
This author really has the most beautiful covers! And her stories are always so fresh and fun.
This one we follow Gilene and Azarion. Every year villages are required to send a young woman to the Empire's capital to be sacrificed for their Gods and for the entertainment of the masses. Gilene has been sacrificed every year for the last five years because she is a fire witch and will survive the flames. However, this year is different because Azarion, the Empire's most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her magic and is now set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape this life of slavery and to reclaim his birthright of his clan. To protect her family and village, she will go along with him and maybe they can end the Empire.
I will admit I struggled big time at the beginning. I just....just didn't care about Gilene or Azarion. Not sure why. I honestly wanted to quit and DNF this. But I have a personal rule to get to page 100 before officially tossing in the towel.
And...here we are. I finished this bad boy. Not sure what happened...suddenly I could not put this down. I had to finish it. I can't pinpoint what changed. Randomly I liked our hero and heroine. I liked Azarion's clan. Not sure when or how or why, but I became invested and I had to finish this. I stayed up WAY too late reading this just to be done because it got really good, really fast.
The Empire needs to burn. They are monsters.
Gilene's village needs to burn too. Screw them.
I loved Azarion's family and clan (grrr not that cousin though). I would want to be there. I loved how they worship the fire witches and that fire goddess.
I want more in this world for sure. Book 2 has been sitting on my shelf for a while but I wanted to wait until I got to book 1. So glad this worked out in the end.
Honestly, I want more world-building and I would love to see more of Gilene's powers.
Overall, something did not click for me in the beginning, but around page 90ish I was hooked. I had to read it as quickly as possible. The world is so interesting. I love our characters. This was everything you would want in a fantasy story. I'll stamp this with 3 stars.
- #15 for Romance Bingo - Witch/Wizard