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Divided Fire - Review

I received this book as an e-arc from Net Galley. All views are my own

I got some bad news, folks. I was initially apart of a book tour to review the upcoming release, Divided Fire by Jennifer San Filippo. But after reading the novel, I concluded that I should separate myself from this particular tour. Divided Fire, to say the least, is an underwhelming read. In a rich fantasy world where Songs move heaven and earth, one sister must use magic, and the other must rely on strength to reunite when pirates, greed, and war tear them away from each other.

When I first received my copy of Divided Fire, it sounded like an intriguing read. Miren and Kesia must find their way back to each other after Kesia, a "chosen Singer," is kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery. As I started reading, I immediately drew parallels to the Avatar: The Last Airbender series. Instead of using bending to control the world's four elements, they used a form called "Song" directed by Singers in Divided Fire. For me, the potential of the book went downhill after the novelty of the revelation wore off.

It was a plodding start, and it took a while for me to get into the story. My biggest concern in the introduction is that if these chosen people are Singers, why are they mute? Maybe it was a way for the author to represent sign language? Filippo never clearly explained how the characters can "sing" if they're silent or why they lose their speaking voice in the first place. Then as you continue reading, it seems this magical talent of Singing loses its meaning.

Not even halfway through the story, and I wanted to abandon the book. There were way too many unfinished and undeveloped plot holes. For example, if I were to kill someone powerful, I would assume that the people in his rank would come after me for revenge. Nope. That part of the story disappears. Even with smaller characters introduced, you would think they would have a more prominent role due to the surrounding dialog. Nope. They fade into the background as well. I don't believe the small plots were thought out too well, while the author painstakingly hammered on with the main story. And speaking of hammering, I want to know why the characters repeat names three times? Is Candy Man going to manifest and start slashing people? Is Bloody Mary going to pop out of a mirror? I swear if Beetlejuice were a character in this story, he would have the time of his life wreaking havoc in their world.

As much as I didn't want to, I did finish the book, but I'd be hard press to return to it. Between the synopsis and what I read, the recap sounded way more interesting than what the book produced. As far as the rating goes, this book was working on a two 1/2-star rating. I bumped it up to a three because the action at the end of the book surprised me. I had to wait until the end to see some actual power from these characters and their melodic gifts. Unfortunately, that's the only entertainment I had with the story. If there's to be a sequel to the book, I won't be picking it up.

Divided Fire releases on November 10, 2020.

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