Published by Clarion Books on November 10, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic
Source: eARC from Publisher
In a rich fantasy world where Songs literally 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.
Miren has never allowed jealousy of her sister’s magic keep her from taking care of Kesia, and Kesia has always depended on her big sister. When Kesia is kidnapped, Miren will do anything to get her back—even team up with her sister’s aristocratic and seemingly ineffectual boyfriend. Neither sister had ever left their small fishing village before, and now they are plunged into the wider world, minor players in a war between nations. Each sister faces external and internal perils, and each finds surprising allies and unexpected strengths.
How will the two find each other again?
And what will become of them if they don’t succeed?
Divided Fire is a young adult fantasy story about two sisters by Jennifer San Filippo. I loved that this book not only showcased a really interesting idea for a fantasy world (more on that later) but that it also featured to very different sisters as the main characters. I always enjoy a good sisterly tale. In Divided Fire the world has an elemental magic system. I know what you are thinking- well that doesn’t sound too unique? And I agree, but here the twist is that your voice, specifically your singing voice is the key to unlocking the elemental magic. I loved this combination of signing, magic and using your voice to fight. It was a really cool idea, and the world building was my favorite element of this story. I am not 100% sure if this book is going to be a standalone or a series opener, but I am hoping (and leaning towards) a series because there are some things left unanswered at the end of Divided Fire. I am interested to see if there is going to be another book so we an tie a few of those open ends up. I think this could be a really good duology.
In Divided Fire, we meet our two main characters- Sisters Kesia and Miren. As I mentioned before, magic users in this world can control an element with their voice, but this is not something that everyone can do. Out of our two sisters, Kesia is a Fire Singer while Miren does not exhibit any singing powers. Those that do have the ability to control elements with their songs are drafted into becoming fighters in the fierce war the country is currently embroiled in. There is also a really cool use of sign language throughout the story as it relates to the singers. I found all of that fascinating! Though our story follows the two sisters, a lot of the book featured them split up because Kesia has been taken and Miren is trying to rescue her. I really enjoyed the split perspectives because it allowed us to get to know each of the girls better and I think it makes the story more interesting.
I will admit that because there is so much going on in the world, the beginning of the story felt a little info-dumpy at times, which I didn’t love. A lot of it was vital and pertinent information that we did need to know for the story, but I just wish it was presented and incorporated in more of a showing and not straight telling way. But that is really my only issue with the story. Other than that, I was swept up in this rescue mission. There is a lot going on in this story and at times it is hard to keep everyone and everything happening straight, but I still really enjoyed the tale.
If you are a fan of fantasy stories that feature unique magic, sisterly love and a cool rescue type adventure, then Divided Fire will be a book you should check out. I had some minor issues with the story but overall, I really enjoyed this one. I am interested to see if there will be a sequel.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2020 New Release Challenge
- ARCtober 2020
- Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge 2020