I am very excited to be able to participate in the blog tour for This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria – hosted by Inkyard Press!
Thank you for allowing me to participate and for giving me an advanced copy for review. This has not impacted my thoughts and all opinions are my own.
This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria
Release Date: February 2, 2021
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: // 5 stars
An Ember in the Ashes meets Mask of Shadows in Emily Victoria’s #ownvoices debut YA fantasy, This Golden Flame, in which asexual Karis, a servant to the mysterious Scriptorium, accidentally awakens long-dormant automaton Alix, initiating an epic adventure full of magic, rebellion, and finding where you truly belong.
Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army.
In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible—she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father—their nation’s greatest traitor—once tried to destroy the automatons.
Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn’t just trying to control Karis; it’s hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother…and the secret that’s held her country in its power for centuries.
One of the first things I found that I liked about this book was that the main character, Karis, is asexual. I think the thing I liked the most about it was that it wasn’t made as some “big deal”. Sometimes, ace rep is used as a comparison to what the author would call “normal” feelings/attraction, which always made me so angry. But that’s not done in this book. Karis mentions she doesn’t have those romantic or sexual feelings towards others and that’s that. It’s not a pressing issue, it just is. And I love that.
Next thing I found myself in love with was the dual POVs. Karis is the exact opposite from Alix, personality wise. Where Alix is more shy and reserved, Karis is more of an in your face kind of person. She’s willing to stand up for what she believes in, especially concerning the people she loves, and she’s willing to take a risk to get what she wants. Their dichotomy made the back and forth so much more fun. It was great to switch POVs and see what the other person is thinking or feeling in the same situation. And while this leads me to intense feelings in certain moments, I found that I loved every chapter, even during moments that I hated.
And with each chapter I read, I loved the book more. I think the background of this world is so cool. The way that automatons, which used to be robots controlled with magic, are now just giant statues, is so interesting. It was so weird that basically no one knew what happened to them and that goal of working to get them up and running again made me anxious. I couldn’t imagine wanting to have giant robots running around at my beck and call. It gave me vibes of The Iron Giant, but less destructive. And even though Alix is an automaton himself, he feels so human compared to the other machine, and maybe that’s why I liked his character so much.
Along with the world, I loved the plot too. How the book progressed was so seamless and clean that no matter where I stopped I was dying to read more. I had to know what was going to happen next, it was so difficult to find a place to stop. Which is why I took as few breaks as I possibly could. By the end, I was so sad to find there were no more pages to read, and it took me a little while to gather my thoughts.
Overall, I loved this story. I loved the two storylines converging into one without overshadowing the other. I loved the characters, especially Alix, and the fact that most of them were well fleshed out. And most of all, I loved the feeling of “I can’t get enough of this” as I read. This was a great book and I’m excited to read more from this author!
Emily Victoria is a Canadian prairie girl who writes young adult science fiction and fantasy. When not word-smithing, she likes walking her over-excitable dog, drinking far too much tea, and crocheting things she no longer has the space to store.