The Boy with Fire by Aparna Verma
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology
Pub Date: 31st August 2021 [PUBLISHED NOW!]
[TW: Arson, violence, ableism]
Dune meets The Poppy War in Aparna Verma’s The Boy with Fire, a glorious yet brutal tour-de-force debut that grapples with the power and manipulation of myth in an Indian-inspired epic fantasy.
Yassen Knight was the Arohassin’s most notorious assassin until a horrible accident. Now, he’s on the run from the authorities and his former employer. But when Yassen seeks refuge with an old friend, he’s offered an irresistible deal: defend the heir of Ravence from the Arohassin, and earn his freedom.
Elena Ravence prepares to ascend the throne. Trained since birth in statecraft, warfare, and the desert ways, Elena knows she is ready. She only lacks one thing: the ability to hold Fire. With the coronation only weeks away, she must learn quickly or lose her kingdom.
Leo Ravence is not ready to give up the crown. There’s still too much work to be done, too many battles to be won. But when an ancient prophecy threatens to undo his lifetime of work, Leo wages war on the heavens themselves to protect his legacy.
The first of The Ravence Trilogy, The Boy with Fire is the tale of a world teetering on the edge of war and prophecy, of fate and betrayal, of man’s irrevocable greed for power — and the sacrifices that must come with it.
To be forgiven, one must be burned.– Aparna Verma, The Boy with Fire
Thank you to the author and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
The Boy with Fire is a thrilling South Asian fantasy novel that will keep you on your toes!! It is set in the kingdom of Ravence ruled by Leo, who is Elena’s father. South Asian books are limited in the publishing industry, especially ones by Indian authors, so I was happy and excited to know there is a South Asian fantasy book with a mostly South Asian cast, finally being written!!
The Boy with Fire is a magnificent and unique book with so much world building and spectacular characters. It stood out to me from so many books as I had never read or even heard of a South Asian fantasy set in a desert combined with elements such as fire.
Aparna Verma truly knows how to create magic with her writing, the little details in descriptions and emphasis on smaller things was what made this book as great as it is. I do have a few criticisms though. The beginning was hard to get into. It was really slow till about 40% of the book and I do understand why. The author wanted to give the readers time to settle into the new world but personally it was a bit slow for me [could be because I was in a reading slump so don’t trust me on this!!] I could genuinely picture the kingdom of Ravence and it reminded me of the planet Tatooine from Star Wars, but make it culturally rich you know?
The main characters in this book were Elena, Yassen, and Leo. Elena was the heir to the throne of Ravence, Yassen was Arohassin’s most notorious assassin, and Leo was the ruler of Ravence. The book switches between the three POVs but we also get a lot of insight into two other characters- Ferma and Samson. Personally I loved Samson more than Yassen, I am a true believer of Samlena but only the next book in the series can say if my dreams will come true!! All the characters were skilfully written, each with a past of their own that is not revealed fully in this book. At first it bothered me but as I read along I realised how more of their pasts might be explored in the second book! As stated before the cultural representation is amazing and something I identify with, so that was a bonus point in this book 😌
Some of the themes explored in this book were very close to me, such as family and just basic relationships, especially platonic ones. It talked a lot about Leo and Elena’s relationship as father and daughter and explored how their relationship was placed throughout the years. This book also had a strong female friendship between Elena and Ferma which was one of my favourite aspects!! This book is also inspired by the tale of Kali Maa and Mahishasura FINALLY some good old Indian mythology in a fantasy book [that’s one of my favourite stories/ legends by the way]
In conclusion this is a fantastic book for anyone who loves fantasy, but make it culturally rich and a hundred times more fun!!
That’s it I hope you like this new version of my review </3
Sending incoherent screams about how I will never know peace until I get the sequel in my hands,