Fallen Flame

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Jul 2017

Member Reviews

*I received a free copy of this ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

The second half of this book went by faster than the first half. Overall, the book was all right. I haven't decided if I'll continue the series or not. The story has some interesting aspects, and it is obviously not finished (I see it's planned as a trilogy). It turns out I should have paid more attention during the discussion of the goddesses (were there gods, too?) and the disappearance of magic; I think I read that part in the middle of the night while I was up feeding my baby, which might explain why I don't recall it very well.

Vala (19) is kind of loyal to a fault when the book begins. Her skin is described kind of like dark, rough ash, and it burns anyone who touches it (but not clothing or other things). I kind of imagine it like a'a lava flows. She's unlike anyone else in the kingdom and is the lead guard for the prince, for whom she has long had secret feelings. But for obvious reasons (her skin and her position), that's not a possibility. She's a good person.

Prince Caulden (?) doesn't have a ton of time on the page, but honestly, I'm not his biggest fan. By all appearances, he's fond of Vala and values her. But even from the beginning, I felt like he kind of took her for granted and discounted feelings she had.

Xavyn (24?) I liked. There's still a lot I don't know about him, but I had suspicions about him when he was first introduced, and some of them were at least partially correct. There's not a love triangle in this book (thank you), but I feel like he's a much better fit for Vala.

Other characters were okay, though some felt a bit cliché. You can tell Queen Meirin is bad news, and I can easily picture her as a snaky, sneering villain. Her daughter (Princes Anja) is probably more complicated, but at this point she's "the pretty new girl who steals the boy." I feel like Queen Havilah is meant to be a kind of Snape, but I still don't like her.

Note: Can't recall anything bad.
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This book is the story of Vala, born with unusual skin and attributes. Admittedly I was picturing "The Thing" from Fantastic 4 throughout the entirety of the book. The concept itself was interesting to me, despite a TON of unanswered questions about some of the other characters. I liked Vala though, and would be interested in reading more about her in the future.

Disclaimer: I received a free e-galley of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Editing, editing, editing. This is something I have repeated over and over in the last few books I've reviewed on here. You need editing, you need revision, take it seriously. And so again this is my advice. Take the editing process seriously and do the work. It makes a huge difference. The premise is good but the story is just not there yet.
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J.M. Miller has crafted a story that may boast a few of the standard YA fantasy tropes - a "different" heroine who knows her way around a sword, some unrequited love that threatens to evolve into a love triangle - but she deftly outmanoeuvres many more. This story is relatively short with no waffly paragraphs describing repetitive and dull feelings, and at no point did I want to shake our heroine, Vala, by the shoulders for her stupidity.

Vala is the head guard of Prince Caulden of Garlin. She takes her duties very seriously, not least because she kind of fancies him. She's also very different from anyone else on her island kingdom - her skin is scorched (I imagined it like charcoal or cooled lava) and burns to the touch. She's monstrous in appearance, and that helps her as a guard - people tend to think twice before making any moves against her prince. Vala has been dealing with the prejudices that come along with looking as she does for her entire life, and that's made her a little defensive, a little slow to trust, a little lonely. 

On the night before the Prince meets a Princess from a neighbouring kingdom for a possible marriage and alliance, an assassin attempts to end his life. Vala does her job, but not before she sees something that makes her hesitate - the assassin's skin is just like hers.

What follows is an exciting, plot-led adventure with plenty of mystery. This is what made the novel stand out amongst the rest for me. Not only were there heaps of unknowns, questions, and conspiracy theories; but the answers weren't obvious. I was continually grasping for answers and trying hard to figure it all out, unsure if I was being double bluffed, and there were a couple of twists I was truly not expecting. It's so refreshing to read a YA fantasy where the ending isn't painfully obvious. Miller is adept at showing, not telling, and it makes for a far more enjoyable read. 

Some of the characters were a little stock-ish, but the fun plot, the tight writing and the simple yet solid world building made this a very welcome surprise. It's rare that I enjoy YA fantasy, and even more rare that I would go on to read the second in a series, but Miller has convinced me that this world is one I should return to.
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19 years ago a small baby with charred skin as rough as rock was found on Garlin. Vala grew up to be feared for her cursed skin, but the royal family welcomed her as a guard. When the High Kingdoms Queen and Princess are to visit, the prince needs extra protection after an assassination attempt. What Vala hasn't revealed is that the final assassin who escaped has the same skin as her. Intrigued, she tries to find out who and what she truly is. Fallen Flame is the first in a trilogy.

There's a lack of magic in this world after a war many years ago. What is most intriguing is that Vala's skin looks to be some kind of magic curse. But how if magic is gone? This is one of the big questions in Fallen Flame and it really drove me to keep reading.

As with many YA's there seems to be a budding love triangle. Which (obviously) I am not a fan of. I hope in the second book Vala chooses early and this isn't dragged out throughout the trilogy. I also have a slight problem in that both the love interests aren't particularly good for Vala. One she's grown up with and is the prince, so it's an unlikely and arguably and unhealthy love. The other she's know for like a week.

Vala wasn't a bad main character but she was alright. There's not much to distinguish from many other YA fantasy female leads. She's a bit different, headstrong and can fight her own battles. What I struggled with was that her sole focus was always Caulden, the prince. Like I mentioned above, it felt unhealthy even if it was her job. She seemingly didn't do anything outside of her duty as his guard. In the book her focus does wane and moves to finding out who and what she is, but she never felt like a relatable person.

As a whole, the book is very fast paced and action packed. There's not much in terms of filler chapters and I was never bored. Miller also included some nice surprises. I didn't expect some of the plot twists and I enjoyed them when they came along.

I received Fallen Flame* by J.M. Miller as an e-book from the publisher via Netgalley. This is an unbiased and honest review.
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Fallen Flame was just enchanting. The story was so intricately put together, it was an exciting read. The main character is easy to relate to if you've ever felt a bit out of place or just plain different. There's a lot of twists and turns, with so much going on, but I never felt overwhelmed. I honestly could not wait to see what would happen next. I can't wait to read more from this author.
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I've read one of j.m killers other novels and thought I would give her another try. And I also wanted to push myself into another genre. And I loved it. The writing flowed and wasn't choppy. Loved the characters and the plotline
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An interesting read. Good genre, amount of characters and setting. I did not like the obviousness of the story. In the age of R.R. Martin, where fiction has no limitations, and books can get as big and as complex as ones imagination; I am surprised author did not take this route. I am not saying to make a billion characters and kill them off, but adding layers and complexity would go a long way for this author. Cannot wait for the second part.
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While Fallen Flame isn't the most original in it's concept - it, after all, is your almost stereotypical YA high fantasy - the author does do a great job keeping us entertained and putting her own twist on the genre. The book is laced with twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time. 

I highly enjoyed the pacing. Beginnings of series generally tend to be full of so-called "info dumps" which drastically slows the progress of the story line. I stand behind the "don't tell, show" rule and J.M. Miller did a delightful job on that. 

Characters were well fleshed out. I didn't mind Vala, I actually liked her quite a bit. I keep finding YA female leads quite low in the inteligence departmet lately - mercifully J.M. Miller didn't include this personality trait when creating Vala. Our heroine is genuine and interesting character with a strong voice. I'm looking forward to finding out more about her in the future because I'm convinced there is a lot more to explore. 

If you are looking for heavily romantic book then keep looking. There is only the barest hint of romance. And I LOVE this aspect of the book. I honestly find it so incredibly refreshing. Good job.

I was impressed by Fallen Kingdom - I didn't go into it with high expectations and I admit that I shouldn't have doubted J.M. Miller's abilities! What more is there to say? I'll be definitively picking up the sequel.
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Well slap me silly and call me Gertrude - I fully enjoyed a YA fantasy novel. This does not happen very often. 

J.M. Miller has crafted a story that may boast a few of the standard YA fantasy tropes - a "different" heroine who knows her way around a sword, some unrequited love that threatens to evolve into a love triangle - but she deftly outmanoeuvres many more. This story is relatively short with no waffly paragraphs describing repetitive and dull feelings, and at no point did I want to shake our heroine, Vala, by the shoulders for her stupidity.

Vala is the head guard of Prince Caulden of Garlin. She takes her duties very seriously, not least because she kind of fancies him. She's also very different from anyone else on her island kingdom - her skin is scorched (I imagined it like charcoal or cooled lava) and burns to the touch. She's monstrous in appearance, and that helps her as a guard - people tend to think twice before making any moves against her prince. Vala has been dealing with the prejudices that come along with looking as she does for her entire life, and that's made her a little defensive, a little slow to trust, a little lonely. 

On the night before the Prince meets a Princess from a neighbouring kingdom for a possible marriage and alliance, an assassin attempts to end his life. Vala does her job, but not before she sees something that makes her hesitate - the assassin's skin is just like hers.

What follows is an exciting, plot-led adventure with plenty of mystery. This is what made the novel stand out amongst the rest for me. Not only were there heaps of unknowns, questions, and conspiracy theories; but the answers weren't obvious. I was continually grasping for answers and trying hard to figure it all out, unsure if I was being double bluffed, and there were a couple of twists I was truly not expecting. It's so refreshing to read a YA fantasy where the ending isn't painfully obvious. Miller is adept at showing, not telling, and it makes for a far more enjoyable read. 

Some of the characters were a little stock-ish, but the fun plot, the tight writing and the simple yet solid world building made this a very welcome surprise. It's rare that I enjoy YA fantasy, and even more rare that I would go on to read the second in a series, but Miller has convinced me that this world is one I should return to.
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I can't seem to get into the story yet. It's a taking a while to piece things together. I'm having a hard time picturing out the first scene. I'll give it another go soon but as for now it's not working for me.
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Received from NetGalley

OMG, this book is amazing! 

Vala was born scorched with magic in a world where magic was long gone. She was special. Trained as a Guard, she was Princes main protector. One night, during her weakly bath, Prince left for Forbidden lake to celebrate. She went after him and was almost to late. There were assassins and someone else. Someone who fought differently and was like her.

The story is full of twist and turn and surprised me a lot of times. I really like the way it all t ...more
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Fallen Flame is J.M. Miller’s latest release and is a delightfully well told and engaging fantasy tale perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and Sarah J. Maas!

Nighteen year old Vala is a member of the Guard, tasked with protecting the prince of Garlin above all costs. Discovered alone as a baby, Vala is somewhat feared and ostracised for her mysteriously charred skin that is as rough as rock and burns like flame. No one knows her origins, but having grown with the prince, Vala wants nothing more than to protect Caulden, someone she cares for deeply. When the princess and queen of a neighbouring kingdom arrive in Garlin to explore the possibility of a political marriage, everything changes. An attempted assassination of the prince is only the beginning of a series of bizarre and mysterious events. The arrival of an enigmatic and determined stranger who may hold the key to Vala’s history and who seems to share the same afflictions as her may give Vala the chance to find out who she is. Yet with sinister forces working their way through the palace and with motives far from clear, will Vala be able to protect those she’s loyal to? Or will betrayal come in a form closer to home?

You know what? I was really impressed with Fallen Flame. It was a solidly written novel, cleverly paced and depicted with some unique and unseen mythology that has a lot of promise. Mixing together some wonderful fantasy elements, author J.M. Miller creates a very vivid and intriguing storyline that was highly entertaining.

Main character Vala is likeable and genuine and someone you honestly enjoy following. She has interesting relationships with those around her and I was very intrigued to see exactly what Vala is; something Miller holds tightly to the chest until the end of the novel. I give props to J.M. Miller for thinking outside the box and look forward to seeing her explore Vala’s abilities and heritage further.

Throughout the story there is action, excitement and even the smallest hint at romance thrown in, although the romance is at the very bare minimum and barely even worth mentioning. I think it’s more likely Miller will develop this down the track, but the hints are there for her to explore in the future, something I would be keen for.

A refreshing fantasy tale, Fallen Flame was a surprising and highly enjoyable story that J.M. Miller that leaves me ready and willing to read more and discover what happens next!
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This book was better than I imagined it would be- and that is always a pleasant surprise.

Vala is the Prince's personal guard, one small mistake during an assassination attempt and she is stripped of her rank and forever dealing with the Queen's suspicious ire. Vala would give her life for her people, but the sentiment may not be returned...did I mention Vala's skin is literally fire? No- well, When Vala is touched she burns. Poor Vala must deal with her feelings for the prince while protecting him and his guest/potential marriage partner who seems to be looking for the island's secrets. 

I went into this book thinking it would be very simple. A shadow of some of my favorite fantasies, but it wasn't. Fallen Flame held it's own. Vala's turmoil over whether to trust Xavyn with her life and her secrets was someone what complex. Her relationship with Haidee who had been an estranged resentful sister turns into a sisterly bond full of trust when there should have been doubt, and realizing that the person she loved--who she thought loved in her return may not be the best thing for her. The one thing I must hold a grudge about is Xavyn however. It is clear he goes through quite a process when figuring out whether to trust Vala. Vala however, it doesn't really explain where her trust in Xavyn comes from. To me, it seems that it stems more from the betrayal of the people she was loyal to rather than anything Xavyn did himself. Actually though, where did that love story come from? It feels more like Hero syndrome where she falls for the person who "saves" her. 

The plot was predictable but it didn't take away from my enjoyment of reading Fallen Flame. The emotions and betrayal and near-miss moments of being found out kept me on my toes. Definitely a solid fantasy with a unique plot.
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Fallen Flame is the first book of an intriguing series about magic and goddesses. In a land where magic has perished ages before, Vala was born with scorched skin, marking her different and to be feared. The royal family took her in to join the royal guard, but when royals from another kingdom come, attempts on the prince’s life are made and with it, the questions about who Vala really is.

The book begin with Vala having her weekly bath to remove her scorched layer of skin, only to be disturbed by the news that the prince is missing, and the story goes from there. The writing style is quite detailed and some people might find they struggle with it, but it worked well for me. Since the story is told from Vala’s point of view, it’s really fitting that she pays attention to the finer details because after all, she’s a royal guard so she has to pay attention. The focus on description and details of the story helps to give life to the world and everything in it, including the characters and their arcs. If there’s any complaint though, the pace of the novel becomes slightly disrupted from the detailed writing.

The way magic is interwoven into the story is really amazing. It’s like it’s a taboo, but also an intriguing topic. In this novel, magic has brought war upon humans and the mythical creatures of the world. The whole myth and plot is very original and interesting, which will entice readers to continue on with the series.

The characters are well written with our main character Vala being both levelheaded and strong. She perseveres in the face of trouble and her sense of loyalty is outstanding. Unfortunately it can also make her quite naive, but she is always quick to learn from her mistakes. Readers will be able to sympathise with her and find themselves caring what happens to her character over the course of the book. The romance isn’t too convincing, but it does have potential to be developed in future instalments. Like any book, particular YA, love triangles are prominent and this shows hints of one forming in it, but let’s hope that changes.

Overall, with its great writing, amazing world building and strong characters, Fallen Flame is a solid first book for an interesting series filled with magic.
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Magic is long dead... or at least it should be. Vala is a sign of a time once thought to be over. A time when magic ruled the world and otherworldly beings lived alongside humans. Vala hard chard, rock-like skin that could only come about in one way... magic. Because of this, Vala has been ostracized her entire life and feared by almost all on her small island. She still has a job though. Because of her skin, she makes the perfect guard for the prince. She is a skilled fighter, on top of her intimidation factor in which she was chosen for, based on her lava rock like skin. When there is an assassination attempt on the prince's life, Vala is thrown into a dangerous mystery where she bears to lose everything: the prince, her position in the guard and her very beliefs. Confronted with this conflicting problem, she will have to figure out friend from foe, and truth from lie. 

        I found this novel surprisingly fun to read. It's hidden plot parts had me wondering where things were going and really what type of novel it would be in the first place. I didn't really characterize it form the starts so most of the plot points were all fun, new and exciting. I liked Vala. Her unique situation was riveting to read about and her characters was fairly well developed, similarly to the plot. The magical element was riveting and had me constantly guessing what Vala's history was. How she got the way she was, and what the full extent of her abilities are.  All in all, I really like Fallen Flame and I give it the rating of FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS!!!
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Well, at first I was truly interested in the book. When I read the blurb it got my attention and I thought it would be something I would enjoy. And I did, but man, it took SO LONG for me to start enjoying it.

The story itself is too slow. The first 60% of the book could've been told in less pages, saving us a lot of time. It felt like it dragged too much on the same things, the same details, without revealing anything at all. So I was as blind and unknowing at 50% as I was when I started the book. So that made the whole experience kind of boring. I mean, I still wanted to know what the hell was happening, but I still got bored at times. Around 65 or 70%, the plot started to pick up a bit, making it a lot more interesting.

So, let me tell you a bit about the story. Vala is this young girl who's grown along their prince, they're friends and sometimes it feels like they're more or that they could be more, but the thing is, Vala isn't like everyone else. She has charred skin and can burn other with barely touching. She's feared by mostly everyone, making her the perfect guard for her beloved prince. So at a young age, she swore to protect him at all costs, even if that means her life.

At first I liked her, she was a misunderstood girl, who had a crush on her friend who happened to be the prince. As the book went on, her story started to became a little boring, because it kept being told and retold in the same way, no new additions or anything that would give us something, so it started to feel repetitive and made me lose my interest more often than not.

Then we had the prince, who started off as someone I would like, but then became such a fucking prick. I can't even bother to talk about him.

Then we have the weird stranger who may or may not know something about Vala and what she is. He's mysterious and entertaining. He seems to know a lot, but like everything else, it takes too long to know or understand what he actually knows.

Towards the end of the story, the pace picked up and so did the characters. Some of them started to show their true colors, including Vala's and her personality got stronger and deeper than it was at first which I enjoyed. I think that, yes, the pace was slow and I don't have anything against that. My main problem was that even though some things were truly interesting and honestly got my attention, some other bothered me way too much. Like, the lack of information. Nothing was said until almost the very end, there were almost no clues as I was reading, so when everything was said and done at the end, it felt a bit rushed and weird.

I wished I'd liked this one a lot more than I did.
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I received a complimentary copy via NetGalley.

A brave girl with a skin of fire caught between her loyalty to the past she knows, and her need to discover the real one.

This was pretty good YA, with an interesting main character, with a developed plot and good writing.
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