Good morning, all, and welcome to a very exciting stop along the Lightning Book Promotions blog tour for fellow blogger and debut author, Rhiannon Paille!
In Flame of Surrender, the boy who follows death meets the girl who could cause the apocalypse.Krishani thinks he’s doomed until he meets Kaliel, the one girl on the island of Avristar who isn’t afraid of him. She’s unlike the other girls, she swims with merfolk, talks to trees and blooms flowers with her touch. What he doesn’t know is that she’s a flame, one of nine individually hand crafted weapons, hidden in the body of a seemingly harmless girl.Nobody has fallen in love with a flame until now. She becomes Krishani’s refuge from the dreams of death and the weather abilities he can’t control. Striking down thousand year old trees with lightning isn’t something he tries to do, it just happens. When the Ferryman dies, Krishani knows that he’s the next and that a lifetime of following death is his destiny.And Kaliel can’t come with him. The Valtanyana are hunting the flames, the safest place for her is Avristar. Krishani can’t bear to leave her, and one innocent mistake grants the Valtanyana access to their mystical island. They’re coming for Kaliel, and they won’t stop until every last living creature on Avristar is dead. She has to choose, hide, face them, or awaken the flame and potentially destroy herself.
REVIEW: This is a book that hooked me from the start, with an opening scene that is filled with such mystery, magic, and foreboding that you can't resist the turn of the page. I loved the concept of the Ferrymen and the Flames, with the taboo relationship between Krishani and Kaliel drawing me even deeper into Rhiannon's world.
I've seen some reviewers comments upon feeling lost in the early portions of the book but, for me, that's how a great fantasy story should begin. Assuming the author has done her job well (and Rhiannon has), you should be immersed in the geography, mythology, and culture of the world and allowed time to get your bearings, but expected to do so quickly. There's nothing worse than an info-dump that spoon-feeds the world to the reader, boring them to tears before they can get into the story itself. It's not an easy story to fall into, but an easy one to want to fall into - and that's important to me.
The characters here are wonderfully developed, playing off one another in ways you don't always expect. They're a little immature at times and, paradoxically, mature beyond their years at other times, but that's ok given the roles they're to play. The romance element borders on the melodramatic, at times, but it rings true for the characters - they're young, but they're also shouldering a very mature burden of responsiblity.
Although the pacing is a little slow at times, it picks up beautifully in the later third of the novel, which is standard for a fantasy novel. Fortunately, the characters and the world-building are strong enough to carry the reader through the slow points and make them want to keep reading. As for the ending, it was more of a cliffhanger than I expected, and it does bother me that the book doesn't entirely seem to work as a stand-alone piece of fiction, but it excited me and intrigued me enough to want to read the sequel . . . so I guess the tease worked.