I finally succeeded to read Cast in Firelight and liked it very much!
Themes: fantasy, romance, magic, enemies to lovers, witches
Adraa is the heir of Belwar and Jatin the one of Naupure. Their wedding has been arranged by their parents when they were kids and is supposed to take place soon. The only issue is that they hate each other (you see which theme is coming?). But when their countries are threatened, they must work together to protect them. And what is more funny than them working together without knowing each other’s identity?
Well, Cast in Firelight was a pleasant story, easy to read in the train or on a lunch break. The plot is action and character-driven which is the type I prefer. The writing is efficient even in the worldbuilding with short descriptions which are enough to create a mental picture. The magic system is based on colours, each one being associated to an element and its god, which was interesting. It allowed to build the world further and to instill more of the Indian inspiration in the story. This aspect was very interesting and changed from the usual worlds I see in books. The author also tackles several issues such as inequalities and prejudices here between the Touched (the one with magical powers) and the Untouched. It also lingers on misogyny, sexual harassment and patriarchal systems, as Adraa faces lots of comments and difficult situations. She feels she has to prove herself constantly because she’s a woman. I admit that I was cursing human’s stupidity while reading Cast in Firelight.
Because of these prejudices against women, Adraa proves herself witty and courageous, sometimes a bit uncounscious even. She has a lot of insecurities concerning her future role as Maharani and feels trapped in her role. But for someone who is supposed to have achieve so much alone, she’s still a bit naive which isn’t really coherent. The other characters have enough background not to be completely shallow but I regret we don’t see more of them. And Jatin was a brat until I reached around 50% of the book, then he was okay. I liked his care for Adraa such as the potion for her cramps but can’t understand the logic behind keeping his identity secret for so long.
Talking about the secret identity, let’s linger a bit on the trops used by the author. First, this trope typical of Moliere’s theater. Then you have all the classic, popular YA tropes: love at first sight, ennemies to lovers, familial issues… All that to say that it felt sometimes a bit of a cliché. But the story around these remains interesting and even if you know the bad guy very early in the book, you still wonder how they will deal with him in the sequel.
In brief: A book that will make you travel in a fabulous world with a witty heroine. Even if some parts are a bit easy, the logic behind the book remains good and you get attached to the characters. For those looking for an easy YA reading a bit out of the ordinary and with a gorgeous cover!
My rating: 4/5
Warnings (it still remains YA): sexual harassment (implied), blood, drug addiction
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