Cover Image: A Consuming Fire

A Consuming Fire

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Member Reviews

This book was refreshingly unexpected. The premise was original and the characters didn’t feel like I had read them before. Overall, a solid read.
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In an imaginary Britain, Anya sends her sister off to give a sacrifice to the god but when Ilva returns she has sacrificed everything and soon dies. Anya vows to kill the god so no one else will ever have to sacrifice to him again. She travels under the guise of a willing sacrifice while learning everything possible to kill the god. Along the way, she learns a great deal about herself, what it means to be a family, loyalty, dedication and love. She meets wanderers and befriends them as they teach her and protect her. She also meets the mysterious thief Tieran who is an enigma to everyone he spends time with.

I love Anya and her determination. I enjoyed uncovering Tieran’s mysterious nature while reading the story. I like how the story ended and all that was revealed throughout the book.
Language: G for no swears, bitches is used once to describe female dog.
Mature Content: PG for kissing
Violence: PG for mutilations and death
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Laura Weymouth has a way with words, with turns of phrase that are simple and cutting and achingly true. Her books break me every time, and this one was no exception. I saved several quotes and I know I will revisit them. With only a few words she can conjure that aching, burning, wistful feeling better (and more consistently) than just about anyone else.

I also love the repetition of certain words and phrases throughout the book. Wetherell girl. Sacrifice. Don't go. Don't let anyone else go. Vengeance. Burning. Their repetition serves to heighten them and gives the story a rhythmic, chanting feel. Like a prayer. Or a vow. It gives them power.

I LOVE Anya Astraea. She has such a fire burning within her, setting her up as the perfect false sacrifice to bring down a god. The characters she meets throughout the story are wonderful (and sometimes terrible). Her choices and the path she walks and everything about her burn so brightly it hurts to look at her.

The title of the book would seem to come from the unjust god at the heart of her world, and in fact those exact words are used to refer to him at one point. But it's not the god but Anya who burns with passion and conviction. I would say that the consuming fire is Anya's deep-seated belief that her world is wrong and terrible and could be better - and that it is her duty to make it so.

The world she lives in is a terrible and unjust one, and her sacrifices and convictions help bring about a crossroads with the hope of a better world beyond it.

I loved the story of Matthias and the other travelers. They were so good, and when it was revealed where they had come from, who they were, and what they were trying to do, it was so satisfying.

I loved Tieran so much. He deserves so much more than he thinks - and I know Anya will do her best to make sure he gets it. Their romance was perfectly paced for me and just present enough to make itself known but not enough to get in the way of the story. They were also perfect together, and watching them grow closer and learn to trust one another was so satisfying.

I gasped at a few of the reveals - I did not see them coming - and they only made the story more impactful for me.

I actually put off reading this one for an embarrassingly long time. Once I finally buckled down and began it, however, I was sucked in and devoured it - finishing almost the entire story in one sitting.

My one criticism is that the very painfully obvious reference to Christianity - Ilva's pendant - is jarring and feels out of place within the story. Without it, this reads as an alternate fantasy world. With it, and with the references to the Romans who had previously settled there, it reads as a weird, twisted, alternate history / fantasy. It lessens the impact of the story for me. That could be a purely personal preference thing, though. Even the barest hint of Christianity in a story is enough to sour it for me somewhat. But it isn't necessary and doesn't add anything to the story. It feels like an author-self-insert.

Weird Christianity insert aside, this was a gorgeous book and I definitely recommend it if you enjoy Laura Weymouth's other books. I also think you'd enjoy it if you like Margaret Rogerson or Maggie Stiefvater or Laini Taylor.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Margaret K. McElderry Books for providing an early copy for review.
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A Consuming Fire is a perfect example of why it is such a good idea to give authors a second chance. Because while I didn't love the first book I read by the author, I liked the writing enough to be willing to try again. And I am so glad I did! Because A Consuming Fire was really good!

From the start, you will be so mad on behalf of our main character, Anya, and all the women who have come before her. The young women of Weatherall are expected to basically sacrifice whatever part of themselves some Mountain Monster™ chooses to take, to save everyone else from misfortune. That's cute, right? Let's throw the girls to the wolves, they don't need all their body parts and mental faculties! Nah, this is some real crap, but you can certainly understand why girls keep going- it's all they've ever known, and they think it is something they must do for their community and family.

Through a series of bad events, Anya finds herself making this dreadful journey herself. But she doesn't plan to just let this jerk take whatever he wants. She plans to fight back. And who among us can't appreciate that? I loved that she wanted to stand against this mess, frankly. She also encounters a group that I definitely loved, but am leaving vague for spoiler reasons. She also encounters a lot of self-serving jerks along the way, but in this world, that makes sense. Interestingly enough, the world, while obviously quite fictional, is based on a post-Roman England, which I found quite fun.

There are some points in the story that felt perhaps a little repetitive to me, but that is a minor qualm, as the story as a whole is really quite emotional and entertaining!

Bottom Line: We love a girl who aims to kill the Mountain Monster™.
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Based on the description, the cover and the title, I started Laura E. Weymouth’s A CONSUMING FIRE with the highest of hopes that I’d adore it. What ended up happening was that I struggled to get through much of it — starting and stopping several times over the course of a month, before I gave up entirely on trying to finish. Weymouth’s writing style here threw me — I found the tone of the book to be very difficult to stay engaged with. 

The main redeeming parts are the interesting dynamic between MC Anya and Tieran — which takes some time to develop — and the unbreakable bond between Anya and Ilva, which is the core theme of the book. 

All of that said, I can see other readers being really into this writing style and a lot of the plot devices used here. It’s just not for me. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for an ARC in exchange for a review.
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The sister relationship of A Consuming Fire forms the foundation for the plot and for Anya. Her fierce love for her sister ignites in her a desire for revenge. To make sure she honors her promise to her sister that no other girl is taken to the mountain. And while this aspect - predictably so because I'm a sucker for sister stories - is heart wrenching. But what I loved more was Anya's own character journey and the world she begins to get to know. The ways she discovers the world holds both worse and better than she thought.

The religion and world building in A Consuming Fire is captivating. Anya witnesses not only the world outside her home, but this idea that the world doesn't have to be that way. Growing up, they're all expected to be the sacrifices and their honor is tied with their piety. That when their sacrifice isn't accepted, it's their own fault. Talk about a large metaphor that ignited a fire within me. This idea that these girls are raised to be 'pure' so that they can sacrifice for the good of a society which can just as quickly turn on them.
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"Anya Astraea has not set out to placate a god. She’s set out to kill one."
Amazing plot, amazing execution. The world building and characters are fantastic. It even has a sweet little romance. I'd be interested in a follow-up story.
I've been excited for this book since it came out and it did not disappoint.
Weymouth's books are fantastic and I highly recommend anything she's written so far, and look forward to anything she will write in the future.
Thank you NetGalley for the advance copy!
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I really loved this book! I was sucked in as soon as I started reading it and finished in one day! The author did an amazing job to keep the plot exciting and interesting. I will be recommending this book to all of my friends and family.
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This...was a book. It was definitely a book and it had an interesting summary to draw me in, killing a god to avenge her sister? I was 100% on board. Unfortunately I just didn't realize how this was going to draw on real life commentary of religion.

I was genuinely uncomfortable the entire way through this book and not in the way I think the author intended. I think having a commentary on religion and the way it's used to manipulate people (and young women especially) is great and is something that should make people uncomfortable. But the part that made me more uncomfortable was the way the author seemed to want to be like "See? Following religion blindly is bad!" but then also turned around and had, what I'm pretty sure was a Jesus/cross necklace, be an important memento for Ilva and then Anya. I'm sure there's potentially something more nuanced in there but I was not brought up in a Christian or Christian adjacent household and while no religion is perfect, to have an important figure in Christianity be so important to Anya just felt weird to me. And it also made it confusing if this book was meant to be historical fantasy or an alternate world fantasy or what initially felt like a post-apocalyptic kind of fantasy where we've long forgotten technology and have somehow come back around to the Middle Ages.     

The romantic subplot was also wholly unnecessary in my eyes and I'd like to be able to read a book about a family member setting off for their family's freedom or vengeance without it being waylaid by a romance plot.

So if you're looking for a YA book that confronts the expectations of religion and a I'm-a-monster-but-I-wish-I-wasn't romantic interest then this is for you!

Thank you to NetGalley for making this available in exchange for an honest review!
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I loved getting to know the twins and the rest of the cast of this world, it was such a well done young adult fantasy novel that I couldn't put it down til I finished it. After finishing it I wanted more and was glad I was able to read this. Laura E. Weymouth does a wonderful job in telling the story that was needed to and wrote it really well. I look forward to more from Ms. Weymouth.

"But she said nothing of her pervasive fears, or her true reason for wanting to learn to do violence. And if Tieran ever seemed troubled by her determination and the relentlessness of her focus, well—with a look or a word she could ignite the spark between them, kissing him until his hands trembled and flashed like quicksilver and any doubt slipped from his mind."
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