Welcome to book spotlight where instead of giving you another book review, I’m just going to talk about books I’ve read recently that I enjoyed. Prepare yourself for the fangirl gushing.
A year ago, I read Cast in Firelight by Dana Swift, a new YA fantasy that uses color as the basis for magic. I was blown away by this book, adoring so many aspects that Swift wove into her story. So I think it’s only fitting that a year later I talk about the sequel, Bound by Firelight.
**Warning: since this post is about a sequel, I cannot guarantee I won’t include spoilers for book one in this book. I will steer clear of spoilers for Bound by Firelight, though.**
As I mentioned, this duology uses color as the basis for the magic system. This was one of my favorite aspects of the first book, and I absolutely love what Dana Swift does with it in the sequel. She takes the already epic magic and makes it even better by giving it more depth. Seriously, if you read book one and liked it at all, you should read book two just for the development in the color magic. I’m still astounded by it weeks later.
But I also appreciate how the plot of this book focuses heavily on the fallout from book one’s events. It doesn’t sweep away the chaos that ensued at the end of the story, but it’s a direct result of what happened. Dana Swift doesn’t shy away from putting her characters in even more dangerous situations. The stakes are definitely higher in this one and there are more layers to the threats the characters face, which I think its a strong point for a sequel to have.
I also adored the character team ups, both new and old characters, and all the banter and fun that came with it. The character growth is also so well written and impactful, and it really worked with how this duology ends. The relationship between Adraa and her sister is spot on. I love how it develops. And the romance was so cute, too, since we’re finally at the point where Adraa and Jatin are together.
Highlight for spoiler:
There was one thing about the romance that bothered me. There’s a scene where Adraa and Jatin are kissing and there are some very vague descriptions of how far they go. Like I don’t for the life of me know if they had sex or not, which is almost more annoying than characters have sex in weird places (this would have been in a weird place, too). Like I don’t want a ton of details, especially in a YA book, but I don’t know what I’m supposed to be reading here. But maybe that’s just me.
While I was expecting the book to be a little longer or to maybe flow into a third book, I’m happy with the way things wrapped up. It was a little rushed toward the end, but overall, it works for the story and it ends on good, hopeful note, which I enjoy.
I would definitely recommend this to fans of the first book, but I would also encourage anybody who likes YA fantasy to give this duology a chance. It’s not one I heard a ton about last year despite it being one of the better 2021 releases I read.