Published by Disney-Hyperion on April 28, 2020
Series: Hollow Crown #1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic
Source: eARC from Publisher
I am Renata Convida.
I have lived a hundred stolen lives.
Now I live my own.
Renata Convida was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King's Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a Robari, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata's ability to steal memories from royal enemies enabled the King's Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.
Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown and helping the remaining Moria escape the kingdom bent on their destruction. The Whispers may have rescued Renata from the palace years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred--or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she turned "hollow" during her time in the palace.
When Dez, the commander of her unit, is taken captive by the notorious Sangrado Prince, Renata will do anything to save the boy whose love makes her place among the Whispers bearable. But a disastrous rescue attempt means Renata must return to the palace under cover and complete Dez's top secret mission. Can Renata convince her former captors that she remains loyal, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.
But returning to the palace stirs childhood memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the entire fate of the kingdom--and end the war that has cost her everything.
Incendiary is the first book in the young adult fantasy series called, Hollow Crown, by Zoraida Córdova. This is the first book I have read from this author and I did enjoy it. I am looking forward to continuing on in the series, but I did have a few things that kept Incendiary from being a 5 star read for me.
First, let’s start with the aspects of the story that I really enjoyed. I liked the main character, Ren a lot. She was the saving grace for me in the story because I was ultimately really invested in what was going to happen to her. I was also really interested in the magic present in this world. Not everyone has magic, and those that do are outcasts. They are called Moria, and Ren is even rare among magic wielders because she possesses a very rare form of magic. She can steal memories from people. Steal, not share. When Ren gets her hands on someone, she rips the memory from their head and makes it her own. Meaning the original bearer of the memory, no longer remembers it. This was such a unique power. I have never seen a power described this way, and it was fascinating. There are all kinds of consequences for Ren, both physical and moral. Ren’s own memories are shrouded in a fog the more she crowds her head with other’s memories. Learning about the different forms of magic was my favorite aspect of the story.
I also loved diving into some of the secrets of Ren’s past. There are many characters that we encounter in Incendiary. Some I liked, some I didn’t and some I was very indifferent to. I don’t want to go into which fall into which categories for a few reasons. One, I think I may be in the minority with which characters I didn’t like very much and also I don’t want to spoil too much of the plot of the story. But I did not like everyone I think we are “supposed” to like as the reader.
My least favorite aspect of the story was the rebellion aspect. At the start of the book, the characters are painted as very one-dimensional good or bad, which I never really enjoy. I find the shades of grey much more interesting to play with. I was also very confused at the start of the story. I felt like we were dumped in the middle of a fierce rebellion and I didn’t really have a lot of context for what was going on. I wanted to get to the part of the story where Ren was at court, and it felt like it took too long to get there. I also felt like the characters, other than Ren and at times a few other characters, were a bit one-note and fell a bit flat to me. I didn’t love many of the character, but my fierce love for Ren kept me going and kept me enjoying the book. She is the reason that I want to continue on with this series. I have a feeling that the second book is going to be even better than the first now that the groundwork has been laid. Incendiary had a rough start for me, but it got much better as it went on. I ended up enjoying Incendiary and I am interesting in continuing on with the sequel. If you are a fan of YA fantasies featuring interesting magic, rebellions, secrets and court politics, Incendiary may be a great book for you to check out.
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2020 New Release Challenge
- Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge 2020