Silk Fire

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Pub Date 05 Jul 2022 | Archive Date 21 Apr 2022
Rebellion, Solaris

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Description

Set in a planet-sized matriarchal city where magic and technology freely bleed together, a male courtesan’s quest for vengeance against his aristocrat father draws him into an ancient struggle between dragons, necromancers, and his home district’s violent history.

In the world-sized city of Jadzia, magic and ancient science merge into something dark and wondrous.

Koré’s life is consumed by power, politics, sex and vengeance, and as courtesan to the wealthy and powerful, he is privy to all manner of secrets. He knows meddling in politics is dangerous─still, he is willing to risk everything to stop his father from seizing the Imperial Throne of the War District. But Koré soon finds the corruption runs far deeper than just one man.

During a tryst in an ancient tomb─in the pursuit of political influence─Koré encounters a dying god, who imbues him with the powers of one of the city’s sacred dragons. Suddenly Koré finds himself a hunted man, threatened with becoming a pawn by whoever finds him first.

If the wrong person discovers his secret and lays claim to his powers they would plunge their world into war, unleash untold horrors and destroy the city─and the two people he has come to love.
Set in a planet-sized matriarchal city where magic and technology freely bleed together, a male courtesan’s quest for vengeance against his aristocrat father draws him into an ancient struggle...

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ISBN 9781781089767
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Average rating from 258 members


Featured Reviews

This was unlike anything i have read before! So much diversity, some much queerness, and so much of everything a fantasy reader like me loves. I think this should be pegged a little as an avatar the last airbender but for adults

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The cover for this book absolutely drew me in. I saw another review that described this as avatar but for adults and I think that's a brilliant description of this rich and incredible world inside this book! An episodic, romantic and beautiful queer adventure. I cannot wait to read more!

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In a deeply sexist matriarchal city, Koreshiza Brightstar is a courtesan of the War District who's hellbent on taking revenge for the injustices heaped on him by his scheming father. Both desired and abused as a 'bright' without the protection of a powerful spouse, Koré courts danger as he flings himself into the path of political strife, and is constantly one wrong move away from trouble. But beneath that, Koré harbours secret dreams of a life where he might be safe and loved, with a puppy and a partner (or maybe two...) When he wakes a sleeping god, he is imbued with an ancient power that puts him at even greater risk, but also might just offer him the freedom he has craved all his life - if he can prove himself worthy of it.

While the world is vast and impressive, and a huge amount of thought has clearly gone into developing the world and the history, Koré Brightstar carried this book for me. His voice captured me in the first chapter and never once let go. Koré is the disaster bisexual child of Kaz Brekker and Inej Ghafa who loses himself in spiralling thoughts of political machinations while he dissociates at work. I cannot express how much I needed him to be safe and protected. I love him and will not hear a single word against him. The journey he takes towards acknowledging the harm that has been done to him, and his tentative efforts to try healing himself and recovering moved me to tears at times. There are some beautifully vulnerable lines in the second half of the book, one of my favourites being: "I carry so many small cages within me. I'd grown used to them, until he pointed out the weight." All I could think of was the lines from Keats: 'Bright star, would I were as stedfast as thou art.' before I ended up in tears again.

Perhaps because Silk Fire is Adult Fantasy, I thought it did a far better job than many others at demonstrating the darkness of gender inequality through the subversion of our own patriarchal society and showing the consequences through the eyes of a character like Koré. Silk Fire goes places other books don't, and I have nothing but praise for the author for doing so. I would add a few content warnings including but not limited to: sexual assault; dissociation; sex work [consensual, dubious consent]; BDSM; rape threats; danger of rape; past abusive relationship; and generally the lingering trauma Koré deals with and the impact that has on him as explored in the narrative). Although nothing is graphic, I did find these themes impacted me emotionally while reading, but I am full of praise for the author for how they handled Koré's journey.

Reading Silk Fire clarified my personal view on what makes a true 5* read. I don't need absolutely everything to be perfect, I need an ambitious idea and an author with the courage to smash straight through it and shape it into something rich and alive. But above all else, I need a character who I can relate to, whose struggles and triumphs stay with me well past the final pages. WIth Koré and Silk Fire, Zabé Ellor gave me all that and more. It's only January and I think I've already found my favourite book of the year. As I've grown up, I've started fearing I would lose the joy of connecting so deeply to new stories and characters, but I'm genuinely grateful to the author for introducing me to a new all-time favourite character to welcome to my pantheon. I can't recommend Silk Fire highly enough.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a free eARC of Silk Fire. I can't wait until my own physical copy arrives in July! These opinions are my own.

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Koreshiza Brightstar is a courtesan on a planet-based matriarchal city where magic and technology work together. He thirsts for revenge against the aristocratic father who betrayed him as a child. But a chance encounter with a dying god leaves him with powers that could change the world, he realises he will need to trust others to pursue his vengeance and keep his secret safe.
I received a copy of the book for a free and unbiased review.
This book has one of the most memorable opening sentences from a character I have ever read!
The world-building in this book is ambitious in its scope and truly amazing- the blend of magic and technology blends together perfectly. In this world, Hovercrafts and Dragons share the sky. The underlying premise is that of essence, something ethereal that only a few people possess which is greatly desired, a commodity to take and hoard is unusual. I love reading about Matriarchal worlds in fantasy as opposed to the usual patriarchy, but this society isn’t perfect and is a good reflection of what sexism and misogyny looks like from the other side.
Koreshiza or Kore is a courtesan, a man who uses his body and brightness (from his essence) to build influence. Now he wants to use this influence to take down the father who betrayed and abandoned him and his mother. The book is written in the first-person from Kore point of view and it took a while for me to get used to the tangential nature of his narration but then this does fit his fragmented and broken personality. He trusts no one and for years has kept his true self hidden but while trying to influence the succession he finds himself falling for a man and a woman who loves him despite his flaws.
The plot is fast and moves quickly with plenty of twists and revelations. The political intrigue is as riveting as the action scenes.
This is definitely a book for adults who are not squeamish about ‘scenes of sexual nature ' as there are many sexual encounters in the book. I admit to skimming through most of them as I just wanted to get back to the story and action (except for the scene in the first part of the book which forms a key part of the book).
Content warning
Physical violence in sexual encounters with dubious consent, sexual abuse,(off-page), domestic violence, threats of sexual violence.
Perfect for fans
I think anyone who likes Kusheil’s Dart would enjoy this
Summary
Four stars- I enjoyed the political intrigue and the world-building.

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Silk Fire is absolutely bursting with imaginative ideas; that is evident in both the literal worldbuilding, with magic and technology and even dinosaurs, but also in the reshuffling and reimagining of gender and sexual politics. Although the sex scenes are generally too intense for me personally, I appreciate how they always come back to showing us more about Koré; he is a genuinely complex character, loveable, understandable, and frustrating at once. His relationships, both good and bad, add more and more to that portrait of him, and I appreciated his romantic arc (although I was less convinced by one of his love interests). Generally, this book just has so much material that I never quite felt that I grasped everything fully (and yet conversely also saw a major twist coming really early). There was just always this slight sense of confusion that blunted an otherwise brave and brilliant story, but I cannot fault for ideas.

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Thank you so much, NetGalley, Rebellion and Solaris, for the chance to read and review this book in exchange of an honest review.

TW: dubious consent, rape, attempted rape, abusive relationship, torture, violence, murder

Set in a planet-sized sexist and matriarchal city, where magic and technology intertwined, Koré is a male courtesan and his quest for vengeance against his aristocratic father, who hurt and abandoned as a child, draws him into a complex plot of political schemes, necromancers, dragons and violence, in a war that could destroy everything and everyone Koré holds dear.
When by accident he's imbued by a dying god's power, Koré finds himself not only as a political player, but as someone to use and hurt, a product to take advantage of. But the corruption doesn't stop to only a man, it runs deeper and deeper and Koré will have to trust himself and the woman and man he loves to save everything and everyone.

I loved reading Silk Fire, it was definitely one of my most anticipated reads in 2022 and it didn't disappointed me at all. The story is told by Koré, a male courtesan, an intricated and well rounded character, determined to undermine his aristocratic father, avoiding his climb to success. He's sought-after and, at the same time, used and abused, for his "brightness", his essence, in a complex matriarchal society where men are used for procreation or as objects. It was really interesting reading about a matriarchal society in a fantasy book, where usually the society is patriarchal, and the author was able to underline the sexism and injustice in this system, through Koré's POV. It's disheartening reading how the men in this book are mistreated, abused and hurt, almost like the women in our modern society.
Silk Fire can be seen almost as a sociopolitical commentary, showing, in fantasy world with a matriarchal society, not only the deep divide between rich and poor, but also that some people would go to any length to get what they want, usually power (essence, brightness in Silk Fire), disregarding others' lives or pain.


One of the things I loved the most in Silk Fire is the worldbuilding, where magic and technology blends, where hovercrafts and dinosaurs coexist, where gods and dragons are real and not only tales. The reader is right away thrust into a unknown world, where the author created everything anew, from traditions to rules, from past histories and traumas, clothes, weapons, political games and strifes, animals, powers, gods, dates, ages and languages. At first it can be a bit disorienting and confusing, but slowly the reader is able to settle into this new world and to understand its rules, with Koré as companion.
As a violent and cruel society where being "bright" grants power, having "essence" that can be share, hoard, heal and so much more, Koré climbs the social ladder and tries to protect himself and his loved ones as a brothel owner, in a world where backstabbing and betrayals are ordinary.

If the worldbuilding is magnificent, lush and rich, the plot is no less engaging and full of twists, surprises and discoveries. The political games, the backstabbing and endorsements, the districts and allies, everything was intriguing and it was interesting reading how Koré moves, or tries to, among them all, forging alliances, using people, letting being used, hurting, betraying and trying to get what he wants, meeting captivating characters, like Ria, Faziz, Akizeké, with their own agendas and secrets.
I have to admit I was left breathless by the characterization.
Koré is wonderful and complex character, hurt and abused all his life and the reader was able to understand his feelings and actions through chapters swinging from present to past and viceversa, underlining Koré's past, traumas and abuses and how, at the present, he struggles to love and see himself as someone worthy of love and respect, without strings attached. Even with characters as Dzaro and Ria, who showed him love and protection, Koré has trouble to see himself as worthy and to see the truth in front of him.
Koré often dissociated himself from what happened or is happening to him, struggling to call the abuse he's experiencing with its own name and he's convinced to have everything under control, even when he's hurt.
Zabé Ellor did an outstanding job dealing with delicate and important themes, like abuse, rape, sexual assault, sexism and so much more with care and attention, involving the reader in the story and in Koré's feelings and actions.
During the book, as the reader slowly gets to know him, Koré struggles to let people in, convinced he's unlovable and unworthy, almost basking himself in his revenge, bent and obsessed by his father and by what he lost. It was also interesting how, in the beginning, Koré sees his father's defeat as his big achievement, like him losing could repair his losses and traumas, but slowly starts to see the big picture and learn to fight for the people he loves and to love himself first.
Revenge, guilt, self-blame are deeply entrenched in Koré. Even when he meets Ria and Faziz and he starts to feel something for them, Koré fights against intrusive thoughts, past traumas and pain and he has to go through a painful, but necessary journey towards self love, respect and worth.
If Koré stands out as main character in all his complexity, the others are no less and each of them is intricated and, let's be honest, sometimes problematic, with their own agendas and, as Koré, they act out of duty, jealousy, bitterness, rage, guilt and selfishness. Faziz, Ria, Dzaro, are complex and intriguing characters and the reader is able to get to know them through Koré's eyes and to understand their importance in his life.

I appreciated very much the polyamorous relationship in Silk Fire and how it was developed and written, without being weighed down by pettiness, jealousy and love triangles, but, instead, showing the deep love and respect Koré, Faziz and Ria feel for one other. Thanks to them, Koré starts a long and difficult journey of self love, starting to realize his abuse and trauma, to understand his worth and respect as his own person and not as what he can give to others.
The relationship is well rounded and I also loved how they aren't perfect, they make mistakes, they hurt one other out of fear, duty, selfishness, but, at the same time, they are willing to learn, to be better, to support, help and love one other.

The author wrote a brilliant and engaging story, with a captivating and intriguing worldbuilding, breathless plot twists, sweet and tender moments, heartwreching ones, but, mostly, an intense and amazing journey of self love and worth in Koré character.
Three of my favourite quotes (taken from the earc, so they can be changed in the final draft) are:
"I carry so many cages within me. I'd grown used to them, until he pointed out the weight".
"Love meant ripping out my own soul. But I'm sick of believing my abusers. I'm sick of thinking my own self wrong."
"Love hasn't blunted by edges. It's casted me wicked sharp where it matters most."

Overall, Silk Fire is one of my favourite books ever and I can't wait to hold and hug a physical copy!

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I remember reading the blurb and squealing with great joy.
This was an amazing read!
Silk Fire is brimming with imaginative ideas, as evidenced by the literal worldbuilding, which includes magic, technology, and even dinosaurs, as well as the reshuffling and reimagining of gender and sexual politics.
Great book!
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a free eARC of Silk Fire. I can't wait until my own physical copy arrives in July!

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I was SO excited for the premise of this book. A male cortesan, dragons, political intrigue and polyamory? Sign me up! However, this book felt short of my, admittedly very high, expectations and to try and sort out what went wrong (and what went right) I'm going to go through the pros and cons.

Pro: The world building
It's extremely clear a lot of work went into the world of this story. There are so many elements, such as the political system, society, the food, the culture. I applaud the author in how detailed they were.

Con:...The worldbuilding
Unfortunately, beyond a brief pronunciation guide (which still left me confused on how to pronounce names) and a couple of buildings, we are quite literally thrown into this world with very little explanation. I wasn't sure what was going on a lot of the time, especially in the beginning, and just trusted that it would make sense later. Which, it mostly did, but it was difficult to get there.

Pro: The subject matter
This book deals with a lot of heavy subjects such as sex work, misogyny, abuse and I think they're all pretty well handled and explored.

Con: Kore
Most of the time, I didn't mind Kore as an MC. What I could have done without, and what would have shortened this pretty hefty book, was cutting out a lot of his repetitive internal dialogue. It made him annoying, even when his thoughts were valid.

Pro: The pacing
Ignoring the internal dialogue issue, the pacing is quick, which is strange considering the length of the book. Scenes change quickly enough that you do want to find out what happens next.

Con: The romance
I'm sorry, I didn't see any chemistry between the trio that justified their declarations of love, at least so soon. There was so much potential there but the pay off wasn't quite there unfortunately. I liked the love interests in their own right, but more work needed to be done developing the relationships.

Con: The sex scenes
My primary issue with the sex scenes is that there wasn't a distinction between them for when Kore was working and when he was with those he loved. They all felt the same to me. If a sex scene is going to be there, I want it to have a real purpose. Having the ones with clients be quite clinical and quick in description makes sense. I want more exploration when it's a more romantic setting.

Pro: Dragons (and dinosaurs)

Con: The writing
More than once, I couldn't follow what people were doing. It felt to me as if lines had been omitted. I'd think people were on the other side of the room and suddenly they're close enough to talk to. Overall, there could have been more connectives. I wasn't in love with the writing style.

While there are more cons than pros, I give this book 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 because the premise and pacing kept me hooked throughout, despite the failings in other areas.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I enjoyed this so much! I did not like the author’s YA novel bc the characters were horrible but his fantasy book is loads better. He needs to stick to this genre.

I loved the court politics and the romance with the two other love interests :)

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Silk Fire was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, after loving May the Best Man Win and seeing the author tweet about it. And boy, did it deliver.

This is, in many ways, a challenging read. The world building and politics aren't very clearly explained, and basically you just have to go with it and figure it all out along the way. Which means it took me longer than usual to read this book, but I'm not mad at that AT ALL, because it was so worth it and it was so engaging. At first I felt like I wasn't quite big brained enough to grasp the story, but it felt really satisfying when things clicked into place, not to mention that even if you don't get it, the vibes are immaculate.

This might make it sound like this is a very dense book, but the fun thing is that it's actually very readable as long as you go with it. I'm kind of allergic to very dense reads, but this book was so readable to me even if it challenged me at the same time, which made for a really fun reading experience.

From start to finish, I enjoyed myself IMMENSELY. I've never read anything quite like this before and it was so dark, intriguing and fun at the same time. I absolutely loved the relationship in this book as well - without wanting to give too much away, it's polyamorous and it was SO good!

I think this is a book people are either going to adore or hate with a passion, just like with May the Best Man Win, but I'm firmly in the former group, and I can't wait to see what the author is going to do next.

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3.5 stars.

First, let me say that I did not want to put this book down. There's so much that I enjoyed: the fictional matriarchal society sending up the RL patriarchy, the character development, the found family of sex workers, the polyamory, the canon bisexuality, the mix of fantasy and high technology, that villainy has nothing to do with biological sex or gender.

OTOH, I'm afraid the magic system got utterly lost in the mix and the politicking is excessively Byzantine. I also couldn't keep the names of the characters straight, apart from the protagonists. I don't know why so many characters needed 4-5 syllable names when the protagonist names are all abbreviated to 2 syllables, or why the the pronunciation was so far from the phonetic. Let's just say my TTS reader did not handle that at all well.

The sex is graphic and frequent, as one would expect of a novel shown from the perspective of a queer-identifying sex worker. It also does tend to be necessary to the plot, which is kind of refreshing. Includes MM, MF, MFF sex and MFM cuddles.

I don't want to spoil the main plot, so I'll just say that character development is profound and, apart from some falling anvils at the end, really satisfying.

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If you are looking for Complex Queer High Fantasy, Silk Fire is the book for you. The world of this book is absolutely consuming. With head spinning magic and a complex narrative built on power and sex it takes all of your attention to keep track of where the ground is under your feet. I may have been a bit over my head for tackling this one but that just means it was not for me! I am looking forward to seeing more from this author in the future!

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This book is a good example of when a Author puts a lot of effort into their world. It is rich, full of history that is teased out through the book, and really enough law to set up a good number of books to follow. I hope there are more, as the world is ripe for many a follow up to come.

I did find the main character a little annoying, but then I find many in the "chosen one" situation to be, But the supporting characters well make up for that. I loved the story as it unfolded before me, and while I was excited to get to the end, I was also sad when it finally ended.

A five star read, and no mistake!

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Wow!! I really enjoyed reading Silk Fire. When I first started it, I was confused by the gender languages, but I really enjoyed the fact it was written from a male's perspective. Typically in romance/sex scenes, women are the forefront of the attention. Reading it from a males perspective was a welcome, unexpected change. We need more fantasy books like this!

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this book has EVERYTHING:

a pronunciation guide for the characters
matriarchal society + scantily clad men

sensuous feasts+ political scandals
chaotic polyamorous bisexuals + magic swords
dead gods + necromancy + dragons

fantastic architecture (of buildings)
a plot that will repeatedly give you WHIPLASH

came for the snark and political intrigue
stayed for the scorchingly HOT *** scenes
and the even hotter emotional healing scenes
and also DRAGONS

(and several trigger warnings)

I will be recommending my library purchase this book!

(note: i received a digital copy of an uncorrected proof of this book and receive no compensation other than the wicked pleasure of reading a book before it's publication date---enjoy!)

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We need more queer adult fantasy books like this one. It was absolutely fantastic, lush in its world building, and nuanced in character depiction and actions. Fantasy is often a hit-or-miss genre for me, but there were moments when I didn't want to put this book down. If all fantasy books were like this, it'd be my favorite genre by far.

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This book caught me by the cover and premise and continued to catch me from beginning to the end of reading the book. As someone who adores the Kushiel's Legacy series, this hit those exact same spots with the right combination of action, political intrigue, and a little bit of smut. Put that all together with LGBTQ+ protagonists, representation of polyamory, and an interesting flip on gender roles. Honestly, the dinosaurs were just like a cherry on top when I realized that in the world-building.

The only downside is at the start of the book I found myself flipping to the table of context to get to where the author lays out a lot of names, places, and other important details about the world. So it made getting into the story just a little rough and nearly caught me with not wanting to finish. But thankfully the story held my interest long enough to get me over that hump and I was rewarded with a story that had me smiling with pure glee by the end.

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Stunning. In every sense of the word. The world building feels natural and the characters explosively 3D. It is a brilliant premise to have a sex worker introduce one to the world of a sci-fi novel. Not only was this incredibly written, it was a wonderful journey to take and I cannot recommend it more.

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I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My brain feels like it is melting with all the information that I read. Which is definitely a good brain melting kind of feeling (for me). Seriously. From the very beginning, I was completely hook with Silk Fire. The world building was beautiful, and the characters within it could be somewhat confusing at first. Afte a couple of chapters, things started to click but questions were also starting to form.

Once I started to understand everything and everyone, the next chapter would come up and completely bamboozle me. Even after finishing this, I still have no idea who to trust and I'm just surprised that this was a standalone. My mind is blown by that fact alone because so much freaking happens throughout this. Especially towards the end - truths and secrets come out to play but don't worry we still get lots of betrayal too.

In the end, I am so happy that I got the chance to jump into this beautiful book. I'm sad that I don't get another book in this world, but I will definitely be on the lookout for another book by Zabé. I was also told, by my buddy, that this book made her think of other books/worlds which are now added to my wonderful TBR. So, now I need to find those and jump into them.

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This book was so good. Reminds me of avatar the last airbender and legend of kora but for adults. Took me a while to get the names of people right and probably had the pronunciations of them wrong but I still enjoyed it.

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Silk Fire was one of my most anticipated book in 2022 and it was such a privilege being able to read it sooner.
Set in a cruel matriarcal society, the main character is Koré, bent on get his revenge on his biological political father and ruin his life. When he gets the powers of a dragon, everything is turned upside down.
With care and sensitivity, Zabé Ellor wrote a story about trauma and abuse and its consequences, about love and trust and trusting and loving oneself. The worldbuilding is magnificent, mixing magic, dinosaurs and war in this huge planet city where the differences between rich and poor are acutely underlined. Wonderfully writtten the polyamorous relationship between Koré, Ria and Faziz, in a very realistic way and how the author was able to deal with important themes, exploring them.
Amazing and recommended.

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Thank you to Netgalley and Rebellion for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Damn this was brutal, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Y'all this book is incredibly. There is so much going on and I was thrilled by it. But also there are lots of sex scenes and very graphic ones so if that's not your thing, you probably don't want to read this. There is a shit ton of slow moving action, political intrigue, betrayal etc so you will need to strap in for this read. Think in terms of The Unbroken or The Priory of the Orange Tree.

Silk Fire is an epic fantasy world with a matriarchal society. This story follows Koré, a bastard to his aristocratic father. Koré has had to make his own way in a city that caters to the elite and wealthy. Disowned from his biological family, Koré has worked as a sex worker/courtesan and has made a reputation for himself as one of the best. When the Judge of the city begins to fall ill, Koré knows he'll stop at nothing to keep his father from being appointed the next judge. But a chance encounter with a dying god imbues him with magic-breathing powers and Koré finds himself hunted.

This was so good. I cannot sing enough praises about this book. I loved it so much. I will admit it did take a bit to get familiar with the names and the way this society worked. I wish I knew it was matriarchal from the get go, because once I figured that out so many things made so much more sense!!

There was so much betrayal though and damn it hurt me a little bit. I can't believe this is only a standalone. I have so many questions about what happens next. I loved the journey Koré went on with dealing with all the trauma he's suffered. I want to see more of him being happy. His triad makes me so happy and soft. I want more of it.

Also there be dragons here. You're welcome.

Rep: Mainly BIPOC cast. Polyamorous bisexual male MC, female love interest, achillean male love interest, trans female side character, various queer side characters.

CWs from the author: violence against sex workers, including threatened SA, groping, and one scene of dubcon. Discussions of historical colonization and genocide, cyclical violence. Child neglect, emotional and physical

CWs from me: Emotional abuse, sexual content (there are a lot of sex scenes), toxic relationship, violence, sexism, misandry, sexual assault, classism, child abuse, death, sexual violence, death of parent, murder, sexual harassment, war, violence, alcohol consumption, alcoholism, addiction, generalized trauma. Moderate: fire that doesn't burn, infertility, colonisation, genocide, child neglect. Minor: transphobia/transmisia, queerphobia/queermisia.

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Silk Fire was one of my most anticipated 2022 releases and it did not disappoint!

The world building and magic system were some of the most unique I’ve ever experienced, even if I’m still not entirely sure how everything works, LOL. Character wise, Silk Fire is an ode to messy & traumatized queer characters. Is our main character, Kore, likeable? Nope. But the author wrote him that way on purpose, and I’m glad. We need more books that aren’t afraid to explore unlikeable queer characters, and Silk Fire does that masterfully.

And all of that isn’t even touching on the excellent supporting cast - Kore’s two love interests (don’t worry, Silk Fire chose polyamory over love triangles!) Ria and Faziz were just as complex and well developed as Kore. Fire Weaver Ria’s courage and optimism & Faziz’s fierce determination to protect his people and improve their material conditions made it hard not to immediately fall in love with them, so I didn’t even make the effort.

I also really loved Kore’s easy going aunt Dzaro, and all of her many dogs. One thing I’d like to note: Silk Fire is set in a matriarchal society - DEFINITELY not in a utopian sense, it’s majorly fucked up - but I did appreciate the quiet subversion of our own patriarchal and transphobic society to have Dzaro’s transition actually grant her more privilege & power in the district than she’d had when presenting as male, and that there wasn’t much transmisogyny towards Dzaro, at least not in the sense we’re used to, as basically everyone accepted her for who she was besides her brother (Kore’s evil father).

I could probably sit here and ramble about Silk Fire’s brilliance all day, but nothing I could say would possibly capture its essence (terrible yet thematic pun intended, LOL), so you’re just going to have to read it yourself!

Silk Fire comes out July 5th - make sure to go pre-order, because this is one you’re not going to want to miss!

ARC Note: Thanks to the publisher for allowing me to read this phenomenal book early in exchange for an honest review. This did not impact my opinions/review in any way.

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