Cover Image: Cast in Firelight

Cast in Firelight

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Member Reviews

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

I really enjoyed this book! The writing was really well done, the characters were great and dynamic, and the world/magic system was super interesting!
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I loved this fantasy so much, this was one of the first fantasy books I read this year and it just made me miss the genre as a whole as I basically neglected it in 2020 so it was so nice to be back in a fantasy world and can’t wait for book 2
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This book wasn't what I was told it'd be. Also, having looked into the author's background, I've found out some things that make the story make a bit more sense as to why it was just... bad. 1. The author is white and decided to write a book about Indian characters and culture, but completely forgot about the cultural aspect. 2. It's consistently mentioned how dark the MC is. Like, why are you so obsessed with how dark you made your character? It came across very weird and downright nauseating.
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the book wasn't bad by any means, but i felt like some of the things this book as trying to capture about Indian culture was...lost? after finding out about the author, it was all apparent why, and I'm not sure if I'll continue the series.
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DNF at 25%
When I requested this book, and I was interested in reading Cast on the Firelight I was under the impression that it was by an author of color. Sadly I was mistaken and I don't think I can finish this book in good conscience. I've read many #ownvoices reviews of this book, and they all agree that the representation is inaccurate and offensive.
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I was rooting for this book! It had everything I could want- magic, an Indian-inspired backdrop, and a potential love story that plays on my favorite tropes. But it still fell short on its delivery. It felt a little like nothing interesting was happening and the magic system wasn't explored, it just existed without adding much depth to the story or the characters. The writing feels forced, and at times, I couldn't find myself interested in the story at all. But I did like the fact that the world felt very authentic and that the names were delightfully desi, and the representation shined. I could see this book being loved by a middle school audience because this is the kind of story I loved then, but the lack of depth made it slightly harder for me to get into.
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This book was on my TBR for some time and I was thrilled to receive an ARC for it! This book was so great! I really loved it and the story as well as all the characters. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who love YA!
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I had seen this book around a few times and when I had the chance, I requested it right away. And I’m very glad I did!

Cast in Firelight is an Indian/South Asian inspired fantasy with lots of cultural references and beautiful imagery. Although not a #ownvoices story, I think it was beautifully and respectfully written. If you read the author’s note, you’ll that she made sure to explain why she made the decision of writing Adraa and Jatin’s story.

Adraa and Jatin’s dynamic was super fun and endearing. I loved how well they complemented each other when it came to their strengths and weaknesses. And their love letters with hidden messages were super funny and cute!

I love the magical world the author created. It is solid and has lots of potential to expand in the next book. The plot was also engaging and refreshing.

I can’t wait to read the sequel to this and continue to follow Adraa and Jatin’s story.
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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this! Sorry it took so long to get to, but life got in the way.. that being said this was fantastic! First, any cover by Charlie Bowater is an instant click for me. She always seems to do the art for the best books, and this was no different! The magic system in this was so creative and brilliant. I'm really looking forward to the next one.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an arc in exchange for my honest opinion!

Cast in Firelight drew me in with its gorgeous cover, and it turned out to be a pretty fun read! The worldbuilding was very easy to follow along and the premise had some of my favorite tropes. The voice did feel a bit juvenile at times, but that's my only complaint.
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I can't even begin to understand just how much I enjoyed this book, and how much agony I will be in waiting for the next one.

'Cast in Firelight' tells the story of Adraa Belwar and Jatin Naupure, heirs to their thrones in the magical land of Wickery, where half the population is 'Touched' - gifted by the gods with elemental magic. Adraa and Jatin have been engaged for a long time, but haven't met face-to-face in years. However, when they do meet, a mix-up results in friendship, mistaken identities, and something more.

So. much. happens. in this book. Underneath the royal drama, there's the matter of a magic black market, which Adraa and Jatin work together to resolve. As the story progresses, however, things begin to unfurl, and it's revealed that things are far more complicated than initially anticipated.

The romance was cute but there was soooo much simping. Jatin spends the better part of the first half of the book simping over Adraa in a way that strongly reminded me of a lovesick puppy. The romance is also borderline insta-love, except not really, and I definitely wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. 

The characters were interesting, but honestly not that well developed. I did appreciate, however, the strong protagonist that Adraa is, and how the secondary characters aren't just pushed to the side, but rather an integral part of the story and overall plot.

The magic system was most developed in an info-dump at the very beginning of the book, but I found myself actually interesting in the way that the characters' powers manifested and how they worked in the story. While it did take some time for me to properly process the magic system amid everything going on in the book, it was ultimately very intriguing.

There's also the matter of the aspects of South Asian culture that were included in this book. While there are other reviews speaking to how specifically this was handled in the book, I do feel that it could have been much better. While certain aspects were indeed taken from South Asian culture, they were altered and added to, which resulted in a culture that wasn't quite unique, nor based on this culture. I think that it could have been better if it had been more elaborated on, or perhaps if a totally new culture had been formed instead.

Overall, while I did have my problems with it, this book was actually really enjoyable, especially for a debut, and I absolutely cannot wait for the sequel. I would recommend this to others who would like a relatively fast-paced fantasy story with strong main characters, or something with some extra royal drama.
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I received an early copy of this book for review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Title: Cast in Firelight
Author: Dana Swift
Release Date: 1.19.2021
Review Date: 3.10.2021

Adraa is the royal heir of Belwar, a talented witch on the cusp of taking her royal ceremony test, and a girl who just wants to prove her worth to her people. Jatin is the royal heir to Naupure, a competitive wizard who's mastered all nine colors of magic, and a boy anxious to return home for the first time since he was a child.
Together, their arranged marriage will unite two of Wickery's most powerful kingdoms. But after years of rivalry from afar, Adraa and Jatin only agree on one thing: their reunion will be anything but sweet.
Only, destiny has other plans and with the criminal underbelly of Belwar suddenly making a move for control, their paths cross...and neither realizes who the other is, adopting separate secret identities instead.
Between dodging deathly spells and keeping their true selves hidden, the pair must learn to put their trust in the other if either is to uncover the real threat. Now Wickery's fate is in the hands of rivals..? Fiancées..? Partners..? Whatever they are, it's complicated and bound for greatness or destruction.

OH MY GOSH! Where do I start with this book? I loved it from page one. The magic system, Great. The world-building, Amazing. The characters, Love them! This was just the perfect amount of angst and sass. There were so many lines and scenes in this that I adored. I will most definitely by obtaining a finished copy of this book for my shelf. Must have the sequel!
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I loved this book from start to finish. I was completely swept away by the storytelling and lush scenery descriptions. I found the "arranged marriage" trope had a fresh new take and really felt like it was an enemies to lovers/fake identity trope. Adraa and Jatin have known that they will marry since they were children. Everything about this book kept me captivated! Dana has great world building, character & romance development, and created a unique magic system. I liked how the "underground casting cage" kind of reminded me of like a UFC fight, but with magic! LOL. I am excited to ready what she writes next. This was wonderfully crafted and I never would have guessed it was a debut novel. Definitely recommend it to all YA fantasy fans.
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Unfortunately this was one of the few books I couldn't get into. The cover is a beautiful rendering by Bowater, but the story didn't fit the bill.
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What an amazing adventure!  Cast in Firelight was an exciting story that took my breath away.  I loved the rivalry between these two characters and how they both adopted secret identities to fight the threat before them.  This was a great story and I’m excited to see where book two goes from here.
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I absolutely loved this book. The slow burn romance between Adraa and Jatin, the magic system, and the mystery plot just kept me reading. Great for readers who enjoy novels like Six of Crows, I can't wait to see what happens in the next book and how Adraa and Jatin continue to grow.
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The story is a solid YA fantasy. The characters are interesting,  the magic and world building creative, and the budding romance is sweet. I felt the mistaken/hidden identity went a little long into the book, but it's a good way to have the characters fall for one another.
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Beautiful and. unique story. Hoping this is going to be a series!  Excited for more from this author.
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Cast in Firelight was an enjoyable start for a fantasy duology. I liked the story enough to want to keep reading. However, I also felt that the book wasn't much different from other YA stories.

At the center of Cast in Firelight is a political storyline which was somewhat intriguing. The tension between the countries led to a lot of mind games where the motives were fun to guess at. However, there wasn't much of a resolution in this book so I was a bit frustrated at that.

I liked Cast in Firelight but thought it was a rather predictable story. Nothing surprised me. The characters didn't make me want to get to know them. I was more interested in learning about the magic system. That was fun to see in action! I liked that they were identified by colours. So beautiful and easy to visualize.

I hesitate to say I loved the romance between Adraa and Jatin because there were elements I disliked but also parts I thought were meaningful. Without giving too much away, both parties weren't truthful in the beginning. It irked me a lot. Yet, as much as I did not enjoy the deception, their lies led to an undeniable positive relationship- a strong and solid one rooted in trust. Adraa and Jatin were equals and worked well together.

All in all Cast in Firelight was a nice debut novel. Even though the story and characters didn't stand out, I enjoyed the world, its magic system and the questionable but low drama romance. I hope book two will feel more distinct and deliver more twists.
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I have been anticipating this book since I first heard about it back in May of 2019. I waited for months, the whole time worrying that I was getting overexcited. I was not. This book was even better than I ever imagined that it could be.
I really loved how the characters progressed. Their growth was incredible and also very believable.
All in all, I would highly recommend this one for both fantasy lovers and those who are new to the genre.

Rating: 5/5
Language: N/A
Romance: a kiss or two
Spiritual: N/A
Violence: a bit, never descriptive
Note: talk about periods and cramps

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All thoughts are my own and a positive review was not required.

Quotes:
"'And if I hat her? Or she hates me?' Maybe I should tell Father about our letters. 'Because she does hate me a bit. She's not avoiding me because she's shy.'"

"'She doesn't hate me. She hates Jatin, or at least the idea of him. Thinks he is arrogant and cold.'
'Where did she get that from?' he asks, deadpan, and raises and eyebrow in case I don't catch his meaning."

*Quotes taken from arc and subject to change.
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