About the Book:
Title: Cast in Firelight
Author: Dana Swift
Series: Wickery (Book 1)
Page Length: 448
Publication Date: Jan. 19, 2020
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Synopsis: Adraa is the royal heir of Belwar, a talented witch on the cusp of taking her royal ceremony test, and a girl who just wants to prove her worth to her people.
Jatin is the royal heir to Naupure, a competitive wizard who’s mastered all nine colors of magic, and a boy anxious to return home for the first time since he was a child.
Together, their arranged marriage will unite two of Wickery’s most powerful kingdoms. But after years of rivalry from afar, Adraa and Jatin only agree on one thing: their reunion will be anything but sweet.
Only, destiny has other plans and with the criminal underbelly of Belwar suddenly making a move for control, their paths cross…and neither realizes who the other is, adopting separate secret identities instead.
Between dodging deathly spells and keeping their true selves hidden, the pair must learn to put their trust in the other if either is to uncover the real threat. Now Wickery’s fate is in the hands of rivals..? Fiancées..? Partners..? Whatever they are, it’s complicated and bound for greatness or destruction.
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Cast in Firelight is an action-packed, thrilling adventure! Heirs to their respective thrones, Adraa and Jatin have been betrothed since they were children. Growing up, they are fierce rivals, always trying to one-up each other, especially when it comes to their magical accomplishments. Now adults, Jatin’s return from school means their upcoming marriage and neither is happy about it. Their marriage will strengthen the union between the two kingdoms, but how will these rivals who barely know each other fare when their first and only meeting ended with a slap?
An unlikely meeting brings Adraa and Jatin together. However, they both assume different identities. Trying to unravel a dastardly plot in Adraa’s kingdom while maintaining their secrets proves difficult, especially when fight rings, stolen magic, fierce and murderous villains, and epic destruction is involved. Can Adraa and Jatin, future rulers of their kingdoms and secret vigilantes, work together to find Adraa’s missing firelight and figure out why it’s being stolen? Will they reveal their true identities, and how will they react to the secrets and lies?
There’s so much about this story that I enjoyed. The immersive world, the characters, the relationships, the love story, the cool magic, the mystery behind the missing firelight – there is a lot to love in this richly developed and action-packed story.
Something that I love to see in literature is the depiction of strong family connections. All too often in literature, parents and siblings are convenient additions or barely mentioned. However, in Cast in Firelight, the parents and Adraa’s sister play a pivotal role in the story. I love how this added to the plot and character development, especially in later parts of the story. The more Adraa and Jatin trust their family, and the more they learn about the missing firelight, the more they realize how important, involved, and selfless their family members are.
Adraa is a fantastic protagonist! Independent, fierce, and selfless, Adraa is a fighter. She fights for what she believes in, she fights to define her role in society, and she fights for the rights of others. I love that she is fierce, loyal, creative, inventive, punishing, and calculating. She is dynamic and flawed and fascinating, as is Jatin.
Sent to school at a young age, Jatin feels like an outsider in his family. He longs for a stronger connection with his father but doesn’t know how and fears attaining it. He and Adraa are both searching for direction and purpose throughout the story. They go through incredible growth as they struggle to define themselves as heirs, leaders, lovers, and people. They are very similar in their quest to reconcile their royal roles and expectations with their wants and desires. Can a future Queen cage fight and solve mysteries? Can a future King? Adraa and Jatin struggle with their feelings as they strive to solve the problems of their kingdom.
The rich mythology and vivid world-building are immersive and unique. Inspired by Indian culture, the world is described so well that I felt like I was in the crowds at the fighting rings, and walking through the bustling streets of Adraa’s kingdom. I could feel the heat of the volcano as Adraa and Jatin tried to stop it. I loved the author’s writing, and it pulled me into the story from the first lines where we are introduced to a fierce young protagonist and a unique world of magic.
The door was made of ice – glowing blue, crystalized ice. And behind that door was my… I guess I should say my destiny, even though it sounded absurd. Meeting a boy who might be my husband one day should not qualify as destiny.
Now, as much as I love the other parts of the story, what I really want to talk about is the romance! I’m a sucker for a good romance, and I just loved this one! I wouldn’t say it’s an enemies-to-lovers romance. It’s more like a betrothed-to-enemies-to-rivals-to-friends-to-lovers romance. From their first meeting and Adraa’s fiery slap, Adraa and Jatin had a fierce connection. I think it’s because Adraa is the first person to challenge Jatin as much as he challenges her.
The couple spends much of the story not even knowing each other’s true identity, which I think helped them to truly care for each other without all of the expectations. They come to respect, admire, and care for each other without knowing they are each other’s betrothed. It’s the best arranged marriage, almost as if the parents knew how well Adraa and Jatin would compliment each other. The banter between the pair is fabulous, and their slow-building romance is everything!
The messages about family, trusting others, finding love, and selflessness as well as the dynamic characters, vivid world-building, and action-packed plot make this an immersive and fascinating read. I can’t wait to read the next book in the duology and see what other adventures await Adraa and Jatin.
Thanks so much to NetGalley, Dana Swift, and Delacorte Press for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
- The romance, of course!
- The cool powers!
- The messages about family, trust, and fighting for what’s right.
Adraa and I were equals from the start, equals at lying to each other, equals at camoflauging out identities, equals at feeling like the world is our responsibility to fix. I think I finally understand her.
Then she discovered how to bunk in my heart, for free nontheless.
Being her freend? It’s everything, a connection I never knew I could experience.
This is a fantastic story for readers who enjoy YA fantasy with fantastic characters, amazing world-building, and a super-interesting plot.