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So Let Them Burn - Review


*I received a physical copy from TBR Beyond Book Tour via Little, Brown Readers. All reviews are my own.*


Let's get a little messy. Remember when that one author was purposely low-rating up-and-coming books from new debut authors for whatever reason that didn't suit her? Welp, one of the books she tried it with was the Jamaican-inspired fantasy So Let Them Burn by Kamilah Cole. Now, I don't know if that hating-ass author unintentionally helped with Cole's glorious promotion or if the hype of the book won the hearts of curious readers, but either way, this book exceeded expectations, and we are here for the dragons! 


"Faron Vincent can channel the power of the gods. Five years ago, she used her divine magic to liberate her island from its enemies, the dragon-riding Langley Empire. But now, at seventeen, Faron is all powered up with no wars to fight. She’s a legend to her people and a nuisance to her neighbors.
When she’s forced to attend an international peace summit, Faron expects that she will perform tricks like a trained pet and then go home. She doesn’t expect her older sister, Elara, forming an unprecedented bond with an enemy dragon—or the gods claiming the only way to break that bond is to kill her sister.
As Faron’s desperation to find another solution takes her down a dark path, and Elara discovers the shocking secrets at the heart of the Langley Empire, both must make difficult choices that will shape each other’s lives, as well as the fate of their world."

               

Though I am very excited about the author and her debut, the book was okay. Before you start jumping down my throat and classifying this review as negative, it wasn't a bad story. I actually enjoyed it. I just had trouble sticking with it. I think my disconnect comes from the story after a war, and because the trials and tribulations of that war are mentioned so much, we're missing the full strength of the mission at hand while reading this current story. In other words, this book would be a fire-ass sequel. But I do commend Cole for thinking outside of the box for the time setting.


SLTB is told from two points of view: Faron and Elara, both sisters trying to fight the good fight. Faron is the chosen Child Empyrean, the typical bratty younger sister but a savior to the entire island. Elara is the older sister who is trying to step out of the Empyrean's shadow by becoming her own soldier. She's just trying to prove that she can be as helpful to her people as Faron.


There were times I questioned the ages of the sisters. Though they kept reminding us they were in their late teens, the dialog and thought process screamed middle grade, especially regarding Elara. Faron, I understand sounding and acting like a kid … I mean, she is one. She was called to war at 12 by the Divine Ones and never really had a chance to be a kid. She gives off younger sibling energy, as she should. But Elara. It was like watching Freaky Friday. She acted so young and often unsure of herself when nobody she knew was around. I could have easily mistaken Elara for the timid younger sister and Faron as the wreckless older one.

               

What I liked most about SLTB was that it reminded me of putting together a 1000-piece puzzle. Everyone starts with the edges because they're the easiest to deal with. In the story, it was easy to hate the enemy because history has taught them to. Blaming the misfortunes on somebody who didn't look like you was easy. It's easy to call on the Gods and ancestors to help kick butt at any given time. When you're blessed by the Gods, why not use their divine gifts for selfish giddy reasons?



Once you start working on the middle of the puzzle, you notice it getting more complex. You have an idea of what the puzzle should look like, but you don't have all the right pieces to get the image. Faron and Elara each had a hard time and shocks of revelations, all because bits of information were being spoon-fed to them. It wasn't until the climax appeared that we all started to understand that everything they thought they knew, trusted, and believed in was an illusion. How Cole set this up for the big reveal hooked me.


Overall, I rated this book 3.5 stars. It's definitely a "it's not you, it's me" thing. I need to catch all the action from the beginning for this type of story. I need a prequel, Miss Cole!!! I stand by what I said earlier about the creative decision to tell the tale after a war, but it's my preference. Is it worth all the hype? Yes. I can see numerous people falling in love with this story. It will remind you of The Gilded Ones and Children of Blood and Bone. I'm here for all the bad decisions and love plotlines. And dragons! Can't forget the dragons! I can't wait to get my hands on the next book in the series!


So Let Them Burn debuts January 16, 2024



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