Title: The Mark of Fallen Flame
Author: Brittany Matsen
Series: Weapon of Fire and Ash
Page Length: 355
Publication Date: May 31, 2019
Synopsis: Emma Duvall starts senior year with one thing in mind: make Seattle, home.
All her life her mother lived with one foot out the door, but no more. That is, until Emma discovers she has the power to turn terrifying creatures of the night to ash with a single touch. That one moment unveils a hidden world of supernatural beings, both good and bad.
Suddenly her best friend is acting strange, the new guy that’s mysteriously in every one of her classes is too beautiful to be human, and an ancient, powerful being is stalking her.
To top it off, the “good guys”, the Giborim, aren’t convinced that Emma can be trusted. But their unofficial leader, Blaze, becomes her unwilling protector–and perhaps something more–setting fire to millennia of hard-set prejudices.
Especially when her newfound power awakens a deep and dark hunger that can only be sated with death.
The Mark of Fallen Flame, the first book in The Weapon of Fire and Ash series, is an interesting supernatural coming-of-age story. Emma, the protagonist, is a soon-to-be eighteen-year-old who is just coming into her power. During a frightening, near-death experience, Emma learns that she can kill some supernatural beings with just a touch, which begins her journey into a whole new terrifying world of demons, spellcasters, and Giborims.
When Emma meets a hunky new student named Rowek, he seems to have some supernatural power of his own. However, it is clear that Rowen has secrets. Can Emma truly trust Rowek when he always disappears at the worst moments?
On top of all that, Emma is being hunted by an ancient and evil supernatural being. The Giborim, an immortal race of protectors, don’t trust her but often comes to her aid. Emma can’t deny her growing feelings for Blaze, their leader. Emma also learns that the violence and kidnappings in the news and her state stem from an ancient supernatural battle for power.
Who should Emma trust? Who can she believe? Emma must learn more about her past and her powers before she can figure out her future.
This is an action-packed story with cool supernatural elements and interesting characters. Bombings, kidnappings, and creepy stalking permeate the story. From the first chapter, Emma is thrust into this dangerous world and must figure out her place in it.
The world is complex with centuries-old battles between good and evil which include many morally grey characters and situations. I find it thought-provoking that you never quite know who is really “good” and who is “bad.” This moral ambiguity added complexity to the characters and story-line while it propelled the plot.
In addition to the supernatural happenings, many realistic themes are explored, including the thrill of first love, the complexities of friendship, the importance of loyalty, and finding oneself. I like how the author intertwines such relatable and realistic elements into her urban fantasy. The most relatable element of the story is Emma.
Emma is strong and smart. A resilient, compassionate, and selfless person, she tries to learn more about her role in the supernatural world without risking others. She even hides her new powers, and all of the supernatural conflicts she goes through, from her overprotective mother. However, she is also a typical teenager who sneaks out to meet a cute boy and loves to shop with her best friend. And, though Emma occasionally acts without thinking, she trusts her instincts, which usually guide her in the right direction. She is complex, and I love the message her character projects about dynamic women of depth.
Thanks so much to the author for providing me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Readers who enjoy young adult paranormal romances will enjoy this story as will people who like urban fantasies with strong female protagonists.