Iron-Bound Flames

Book 1 of The Raek Riders Series

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Pub Date 19 Mar 2024 | Archive Date 19 Mar 2024

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She will play many roles for her king: spy, interrogator, even weapon. But what if she wants to be a hero?

Ordinary and lonely kitchen maid, Meera Hailship, volunteers to feed a dangerous creature imprisoned at the palace. Her impulsive decision could end in disembowelment, but against all odds, she survives, striking an unexpected bargain with the deadly creature and an even more unexpected friendship. Meera's fondness for the feathered, fire-breathing beast called a raek will force her to choose between her king and her conscience.

To rid the raek of his iron muzzle and help his mysterious-and handsome-rider, Meera will have to barter a man's life, manipulate the king, and play with fire-raek fire, that is. But when doing what's right is also treason, the consequences could be deadly ...

Blending dragon-loving adventure with emotional depth, this thrilling and introspective fantasy is Melanie K. Moschella's debut novel and the first of five books in The Raek Riders Series.

She will play many roles for her king: spy, interrogator, even weapon. But what if she wants to be a hero?

Ordinary and lonely kitchen maid, Meera Hailship, volunteers to feed a dangerous creature...

A Note From the Publisher

This is book 1 of The Raek Riders Series! The FULL SERIES is to be released all at the same time on March 19, 2024.

This is book 1 of The Raek Riders Series! The FULL SERIES is to be released all at the same time on March 19, 2024.

Available Editions

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ISBN 9798989198603
PRICE $17.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 59 members

Featured Reviews

Meera Hardship is a lonely kitchen maid, and when a very intimidating creature (the raek) is imprisoned at the castle she volunteers to feed it - which kicks off an adventure of spying, interrogating and treason!

Once this book found its rhythm I couldn't put it down. I really like the premise/concept of the book, and I like where the plot is going. (Super excited to read the next one.) The pacing is well done, once I was through the first few chapters it settled into a solid medium pace. I appreciated that the info dumps were very limited, we're learning about the world as we go.

I did find the first few chapters difficult to get through, the pacing was a little off and I didn't feel like they ultimately added much to the story overall. I also found the dialogue between characters a little stiff at times. But overall I still very much enjoyed reading this, I think this series has a lot of potential and I can't wait to see where it goes! If you're a fan of Fourth Wing, I think you would enjoy this.

Very exciting note: The whole series is releasing on the same day. If you're like me and struggle to find the line between supporting an author and not torturing yourself with cliffhangers... this is a totally bingeable series.

Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for the early readers copy!

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Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC of this book!

I've been reading a lot of "rider" stories recently (mostly dragons) and this one finally gave me what I wanted! Raeken aren't dragons, technically, but they are mostly dragons... but feathery! The feathers do actually make an exciting difference for me visually.

The story kept me engaged the whole way through and the protag, Meera's, relationship with the captive dragon/ride pair was heartfelt and well realized. You don't get to see a lot of the wider setting outside of Meera's book learning, as her view of the world starts off fairly small, but it was enough for me to want to hear more. The bond between the Raek and Meera felt real and earned, even though most of it was wordless on one side. I felt for Meera's sense of loneliness throughout the story and I honestly can't wait for the series to be released so I can find out where her development goes.

There's a lot of what you could call "hurt/comfort" in this story which I ate up. Meera is caring, but not in a way that she feels boring or one note. She's an interesting mixture of thoughtful and impulsive, and the book stays close to her emotional journey. which really worked for me. Even when she was being a bit silly, you could feel where she was coming from. Her victories feel earned.

Also, Raek are very cool fantasy creatures, and the rendering on the cover is beautiful. Cerun sounds like such a pretty boy and I loved him. (Cerun is the Raek... I guess his rider is okay too.)

I feel like I'm descending into rambles, but I was just quite happy with this. The only part I didn't like she when she felt ambivalently hot for the King (girl, I CANNOT relate) but that's just me. Thankfully, that wasn't lingered on too much.

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‘Whose side was she on? She asked herself the question over and over, but all she could think was that she wanted to be on the good side… whichever that was’

If this week hasn’t been so busy I would’ve devoured this book. I was very lucky to get an ARC of Iron Bound flames from NetGalley (thank you!) and was so quickly drawn into it’s fantasy driven plot.

Written by Melanie Moschella, Iron Bound Flames is book one of The Raek Riders series in which Meera Hailship is trying to escape from loneliness but the ways in which she does so only seems to isolate her more. She’s defined as a weapon by her king, playing the role as his interrogator and spy, but the only thing Meera fears more than being alone is being on the wrong side… but who’s to judge the good from the bad?

I cannot wait to read the rest of the series which, to my impatient luck, is all getting released on the same publication date as book one. Everybody say thank you Melanie!

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3.5 Stars for Iron-Bound Flames. OVERVIEW: This YA fantasy is about a young lady, Meera, who volunteers to care for two prisoners, one a reak which is a fire breathing dragon like animal and two a mysterious man. Upon caring for the prisoners she is called upon to complete other tasks for her king. Meera is faced with the challenge of bowing to her king or listening to her heart, if she listens to her heart that is pure treason. This is book 1 of a 5 series book.
REVIEW: I appreciate the world building didn’t overtake the character development. I connected with all of the characters and they felt like real people to me, including the raek. The beginning and end of the book really held my interest to know what’s to come, however, the middle fell a little short as her quest to care for the prisoners seemed repetitive. There was a lot of indecisive inner thoughts which was repetitive. The story holds some valuable lessons like true friendship, staying true to yourself, dealing with loneliness and dealing with consequences of your actions. I will definitely give book 2 a read as I feel this is where the story REALLY begins as I got a little taste of it at the end. This book is very YA so no smut or romance, which may come later in the story though. Also a slow read as it’s a series.

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Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨
CW: Check Melanie K. Moschella website for details
Keywords: YA, NA elements, Fantasy, Dragons, World-building, magic, and heroism.

"Iron-Bound Flames" by Melanie K. Moschella sets the stage for an enthralling journey into a world where ordinary meets extraordinary in the most unexpected of ways. From the moment you meet Meera Hailship, the kitchen maid turned into an unlikely heroine, you're drawn into a narrative that blends the thrill of dragon-filled adventures with the depth of emotional exploration. There are parts of this that feel like a cozy adventure through Meera's kindness in a world that is not so kind.

What makes this debut novel so captivating is the resonance of its protagonist, Meera. Her initial loneliness and isolation echo relatably, making her transformation all the more inspiring. She isn't a chosen one; rather, she's an ordinary individual propelled by a sequence of choices that redefine not only her life but also her destiny. This book can be for anyone but I love the reminders of the strength of kindness.

The central conflict, beautifully woven throughout the series, is Meera's dilemma. Her connection with the raek, the dangerous and fiery creature, challenges her allegiance as she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues, acting as both spy and interrogator for King Bartro. The tension between loyalty to the king and following her conscience adds layers of complexity to the story, making each decision she faces a poignant moment.

Moschella's inspiration drawn from "Eragon" (The Inheritance Cycle Series) is evident in the rich and vivid world-building. The allure of dragon-riding fantasies is masterfully interwoven into a tale that's both thrilling and introspective. The friendship that blossoms between Meera and the raek unveils a heartfelt connection that propels the narrative forward.

This first installment of "The Raek Riders Series" lays a strong foundation, promising readers an epic adventure ahead. With a mix of political intrigue, fiery companionship, and moral dilemmas, Moschella's storytelling prowess shines brightly. Readers are in for a treat as they embark on Meera's transformative journey, one where bravery, friendship, and the struggle between right and wrong come vividly to life.

The way this ends leaves you wanting more. Excited to read more of this series and excited that it's a complete series from the author writing the whole series (5 books) already. Thank you, NetGalley for the ARC!

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Iron-Bound Flames by @melaniekmoschella was such a well written and outstanding read! The story kept unfolding, adding more layers to Meera’s daily life. I love a heartwarming, do the right thing story! I will be reading more of the series in the future for sure! Thanks to NetGalley for the chance to read this great book!

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I adore this book!

I know some other reviews were also amazed, others very critical.. but I can only be said to be pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed every single second of this novel.

By Chapter Three (only about 6% into the book), I was hooked. I was already giddy and just excited to keep reading.

As another, more critical reviewer, mentioned there were a lot of details, that I counted as world building. Mentioning her use of the chamber pot before going to the kitchen to me was important. It set the stage for how routine, mundane, and isolating her life has become, while also showing that we do not have indoor plumbing - we are in a medieval fantasy.

As for it being mostly a lot of "tell not show" for the first 3ish chapters, that to me was "showing." Her not talking to anyone and just idly thinking to "tell" us about the world. It shows us again about her isolation and her routine and mundane world.

This was the first book I've read in a while where I got to the last page, flipped and saw the "About the Author" page, and just went "no!!! I need more!!!". Thank you, Moschella, for giving a 2 chapter sneak preview into book 2! Although you are releasing all five books on the same day (another thank you earned for this stroke of genius!), I did get an ARC through NetGalley.. so I still have three months to go!

Overall, it was a face paced book with great action, suspense/tension, darker themes mixed with lighter, and a solid protagonist who is not infallible nor mythical. She is human, trying her best, but learning just how naive she; she asks all the right questions without jumping to conclusions - the way we should all aspire to be.

This may read as more YA than NA or Adult fantasy, but I do find the MFC acts like an adult in her inner monologue. She is honest, open, rational and strives to always be better.

I found no characters or storylines annoying.. I will gladly read more of every single one of them! I am very excited for the series to come out so that I can binge them in a very unhealthy manner.

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One of the easiest 5-stars I have ever given!

"Iron-Bound Flames" by Melanie K. Moschella is a breathtaking fantasy debut that sets the bar high for the genre. From the first page to the last, this novel grips the reader with a spellbinding narrative, rich world-building, and a cast of characters that are as compelling as they are complex.

The protagonist, Meera Hailship, a seemingly ordinary kitchen maid, emerges as a true heroine with a heart of gold and a spirit that defies her humble station. Meera's journey starts with her being an overlooked server to the center stage of political intrigue. Her impulsive decision to feed a dangerous creature at the palace not only sets the plot in motion but also marks the beginning of an unexpected fantastical adventure!

The world-building in Iron-Bound Flames is nothing short of phenomenal. The author paints a vivid and immersive landscape where magic, politics, and the bond between a girl and a fire-breathing raek come to life. The intricacies of the palace intrigue and the moral dilemmas faced by Meera elevate the novel beyond a mere fantasy adventure, delving into themes of loyalty, sacrifice, and the pursuit of one's convictions.

What sets this series apart is the unique concept of releasing all five books on the same day. Moschella's decision to present readers with the entire saga at once is a masterstroke, allowing for an uninterrupted and deeply satisfying immersion into the world of 'The Raek Riders Series'. The pacing of the first novel was exceptional and I fully expect to binge the rest of the series as soon as it is released!

I wholeheartedly give this book a 5/5 rating, and I eagerly anticipate the release of the entire series on March 19th, 2024. It's a journey worth embarking on for any lover of fantasy literature.

As this is my favourite ARC to date, I could not be more genuine in my gratitude to the author, Melanie K. Moschella, and NetGalley for the absolute privilege of getting to read this book in an exchange for a review.

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So much I felt for this,first I felt ecstatic for having poc characters for a fantasy book which I only have a small collection of that fits my liking. I was so interested in the main characters inner thoughts they made me understand her even more than her words an feelings, made me feel what she felt an better understand the things she did even if she herself didn't understand. Had a favorite character which was ofcourse 'cook' was a very funny and warming character that made me want to know more about them. But I think what most exciting for me was how the raek is described, I was pleasantly suprised as it being a feathered creature but also reptilian like compared to what I at first though was going to be lizard like skin 😅. But still loved the combination of creature being both reptilian an bird-like. An gosh got to give props to the mc, with how she had such a gruesome an nasty thing happen infront of her an she was still brave enough to do a task that she knew was right in the beginning of the book.

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This was a really enjoyable and quick read.

I really liked Meera, the main character and her journey of determining right from wrong and trying to do the right thing and having to face the consequences of her choices and actions throughout the book. However, the biggest problem that bothered me was her physical attraction to the king. Despite the fact that he's married, significantly older than her, her problems with his son, and the fact that she's trying to be a good person, this seemed very out of character.

I also really liked Cerun, the raek. I can't wait to learn more about him and his rider in the next book.

The plot is shaping up nicely, and I'm liking where I see it going. I'm already looking forward to the next one.

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Iron-Bound Flames is the first book in a five book fantasy series, The Raek Riders, set to be released at the same time. In this first one we follow Meera as she works at the castle while her father is off fighting in the war. She doesn't need to work but she would rather not be alone.

What starts out as a job in the kitchen soon leads to spying for the king. But that's not all, for Meera has volunteered to feed and take care of the captive, fearsome raek, And what about his rider who was also captured? What starts out as a job for the king becomes something else as Meera fights for what is right.

This fantasy has an interesting concept. There are going to be five books in this series so we only learn a little about the world and raek with his rider. Iron-Bound Flames is all about Meera. We spend a lot of time with her and her daily activities.

The author does a good job getting the reader to feel what Meera is feeling. There is a lot of detail on the pain, anxiety, and tiredness she is going through. It's a lot at times but it is very effective. The raek and his rider are interesting and I look forward to learning more about them.

Despite all of the detail on Meera's thoughts and activities there is a lot of action. I found this to be a quick read and it leaves you wanting more.

The author is releasing all five books at once so readers won't have to wait to find out what happens. Iron-Bound Flames is clearly just the beginning so don't expect full explanations or a lot of things to be resolved. In fact it is a nice way to get the reader excited for one big story.

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This is an incredible start for a series. It had kept my attention and intrigue throughout the whole story. This book has a way to grabbed my attention at the very start and it amazes me. This book has a slow going pace, I love how the author drag the plot as slow as possible but it did not made the book boring. In fact, it kept me entertained until the last pages. I did not even realized that I've finished the entire book.

Meera as a main character is fascinating to read. I love how compassionate and empathetic she is. Her evolution throughout the book is interesting to follow. She's very kind but not in a way that naive. It's so heart-warming to follow her as a character. Despite being kind, Meera has also her own strength in dealing with obstacles. The contrast between her being kind and being clever is mixed well.

Overall, I enjoyed my time with this book. It's a a bit lighter than my usual fantasy reads, but kept me entertained until the very end. I am so interested to explore more of Meera's adventures in the next book of this series. Highly recommend this one!

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Exciting start to what I hope will be a grand adventure. This book was a lot of world building and set up for the rest of the series. We got a taste of the different characters and the excitement to come. I look forward to reading what comes next.

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“Being a scholar doesn’t mean I know everything or even many things, it means I’m painfully aware of how little I know”

Storyline: 4
The story was compelling and well paced, there are characters and events that appear to be well placed foreshadowing (I hope).
Enjoyment: 4
I really like led this book, enough so that by the end I was glad that there was a snippet of the next book, because I was ready to dive in to the rest of the series!
Readability: 3.5
Easy to follow. I hope there is an additional editorial pass before final publication as there were some spelling and grammatical errors that pulled me from the story. Also, overuse of exclamation points outside of dialogue.

Thank you to Netgalley and Melanie Moschella for the ARC.

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