Maybe I’m not allowed to say that, but holy *** the very early parts of this story gave me huge Assassin’s Creed vibes and I was LOVING it! Okay… maybe it was the fact that there is one scene where the characters decide that roofs are the lesser crowded spaces, and use them to get to the center of the square, but like… isn’t that what you supposed to do while playing Assassin’s Creed?! Climb and jump down from all the roofs you can find?!
And the second important point [that has nothing to do with the story] is how gorgeous this UK edition is?! Once again, the UK publishers did it much better than the US ones (sorry, guys! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ). I much prefer some intricate design vs. a levitating girl, even if that girl is supposed to be Renata Convida, our main character.
Renata Convida was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King’s Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a Robari, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata’s ability to steal memories from royal enemies enabled the King’s Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.
Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown and helping the remaining Moria escape the kingdom bent on their destruction. The Whispers may have rescued Renata from the palace years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred–or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she turned “hollow” during her time in the palace.
When Dez, the commander of her unit, is taken captive by the notorious Sangrado Prince, Renata will do anything to save the boy whose love makes her place among the Whispers bearable. But a disastrous rescue attempt means Renata must return to the palace under cover and complete Dez’s top secret mission. Can Renata convince her former captors that she remains loyal, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.
Thank you Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the company or its affiliates in any way.
Where should I begin?
1 – Let’s start with the magic system. It’s not exactly the most unique out there, but I really loved how the names had that little hint of Spanish in them. I compiled a tiny glossary for your amusement:
|Moria||people with magic powers, “gifted with the powers of the Lady of Shadows”, that are divided into four different categories, depending on the power they wield:|
|Persuári||the power to persuade people. But this is far more complicated to do than appears. Persuari can read people’s emotions and in order to persuade them to do their will, they need to find that one emotion they will amplify, otherwise they won’t be able to work their magic.|
|Illusionári||is a bit simpler than the previous one, they create illusions, making you see something that is not there. I feel like we only started to explore Ilusionari magic in the first book and there will be more reveals in the future.|
|Ventári||the power to see other people’s thoughts and memories. They are often used to verify if the person is telling the truth. Ventari people can also communicate with each other by projecting their thoughts. (at least I think that’s how it works).|
|Robári||the final and most rare and feared ability, Robari can steal memories. If a Robari is not careful they might end up stealing all the memories, leaving just an empty shell of a body. There were hints at other abilities Robari could perform, but just like Illusionari, this is probably something we will learn about in the future.|
Each Moria can use different metal – gold, silver, copper, etc., to amplify their powers. Once again, we didn’t get to see too much of this, as it appears that metals were very difficult to come by. There is still room for many surprises in the next installments!
Our main character, Renata Convida, is, of course, a Robari. It wouldn’t be an amazing YA fantasy if the main character wasn’t one of the rarest types of Moira. *wink face* As cliché as it was, I still had so much fun getting to know Ren and her inner struggles.
2 – Besides the interesting magic system, the story was focused mostly on the rebellion and revenge plot lines. Whispers are Moria who joined the rebellion against the cruel rule of King Fernando and his wicked son. Ren was part of one of Whispers crew, but she never felt like she belonged with them, because of how Robari are seen even within Moria people.
She is feared but she also gears herself. When you grew up to learn just how dangerous your powers are, it’s very likely that you’ll start to resent them instead of trying to gain control and embrace this powerful gift.
3 – Zoraida Córdova didn’t fail to surprise me every single time. Just when I thought that I had the plot figured out, she would throw in another plot twist that would take me by surprise. I definitely guessed a lot of big plot twists, the hints were right there for the readers to pick up. But I liked this experience of waiting to have my guesses confirmed. Very satisfying, I must say!
The story doesn’t end on a big cliff hanger, which I very much appreciate! The ending was the perfect mix of wrapping up things nicely in a way to not leave the reader unsatisfied, but which still left a lot of other questions unanswered.
I’m very excited about the next installment, not so much because I need to know what will happen next, more so because I want to return to this magnificent world and get to know other characters.
4 – Another important thing to mention that I REALLY loved, was the setting where the story took place. I already mentioned early in this post that this book is inspired by XV century Spain, Inquisition and may I say some Assassin Creed (maybe?). The story is set in Andalucia, current south of Spain, which is only a couple of hours drive away from where I live!
And! I just went to Seville and Malaga at the end of February [which feels like another life now :O ], and saw the magnificent old villages, the Real Alcazar where Dorn scenes for Games of Thrones were filmed, and the lush green valleys. ❤ Reading «Incendiary» brought back all these wonderful memories and it was so easy to create this world in my head.
I rated this book 5 stars right after finishing. It might not be a full 5-star, maybe a high 4? But I don’t want to change my rating, I feel like rating the book as soon as you finish it is more authentic, all the feelings are still there.
«Incendiary» will be a perfect new YA fantasy for all SJM fans. This book gave me huge «Throne of Glass» vibes – the castle setting, the revenge story, and the evil King.
Have you read «Incendiary» or any other Zoraida Córdova books?
Let me know in the comments below!