My interest in this story was piqued when I saw the cover, however when I found out that the story is basically built on ballet, magic & a travelling fair/circus – well I had no choice but to read it. And, I am so glad I did. This was such an exciting story & I can’t wait to continue the series.
I was sent this book to review by YA Bound Book Tours.
⚠️ This story contains sexism, scenes of arson & characters trapped within a burning building ⚠️
Fire is a dangerous magic.
Sixteen-year-old Kyla is preparing for the test of her life: a high-stakes dance competition to win the role of principal dancer in the fire festival’s elite troupe. When she’s not sneaking off into the woods to practice forbidden magic, that is. Among her people, only the men are entrusted with the mysteries of magecraft. But Kyla’s been learning in secret for ten years, and she’s never backed down from a challenge.
As danger ignites, Kyla must maintain a tight control on her magic. For more than her ambition is in peril. She must stay a step ahead of her enemies—a backstabbing dancer, a repressive council, and a crazed arsonist. If she can’t withstand the inferno, the people she loves most will die.
Fire Dancer is the heart-pounding first novel in a trilogy of YA elemental fantasy books. If you like fierce girl power, slow-burn romance, and harrowing danger, you’ll love Catherine Jones Payne’s fire world.
I absolutely loved this story so I’m really annoyed with myself that I didn’t write many notes whilst reading it – which is why this will only be a short review – however, I blame the fact that I was totally absorbed by the story for why I didn’t stop to write my thoughts down. As I’ve said above, this was an irresistible book for me due to the fact that the story is based within a travelling festival, with a dancing main lead, who also happens to have elemental powers… I mean, lets be honest, this series has pretty much been written for a reader just like me. Fire Dancer wasn’t quite a five star read for me, but it was a very high four star read instead.
Fire Dancer felt like a story made up of MG, teen & YA themes, & it was hard to decide which age group to fix it to – in the end I opted for YA because of the fire scene toward the end of the book & the age of the protagonist, however more mature MG readers, & teenagers, would definitely enjoy this story too. Ultimately though, this was a coming-of-age story where the protag smashes a lot of the norms of YA plots – a lot of the time a YA story follows the protagonist as they start to build up the confidence to stand up for themselves, however Kyla is confident & out-going from the beginning, which was really refreshing. Additionally, most YA protags either don’t have families or don’t get on with them – well, yet again Catherine Jones Payne did away with that trope, with Kyla instead having a really close bond with her dad & sister, whilst not really getting on with her mum. I loved that this story did things differently, & went against a lot of the stereotypes of fantasy stories aimed at younger readers.
The writing in Fire Dancer was super inviting & engaging, & the plot was impossible not to enjoy; the story moved at a steady but encouraging pace, whilst also being a relaxing & interesting read for someone who has read a lot of YA fantasy, because of the anti-tropes. The end of the story definitely upped the ante & it was the ending events that made me decide that I will absolutely buy the sequel when it’s released – I’m so excited to continue the story, to see what changes Kyla can make to the world around her, & to see where her existing relationships go. I also desperately want to know more about the magic system the author has created, & I hope we get to see more of the world in the rest of the series.
This definitely hasn’t been one of my best reviews, but I genuinely really enjoyed this book & absolutely believe it was written solely for me, & other readers with interests similar to mine. Please do get yourself a copy…
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