Reviews

Incendiary, by Zoraida Córdova

autumnpages's review

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4.0

☾ Fairyloot April 2020: Memories.

rubeusbeaky's review

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4.0

This book played tug-of-war with my heart:
It has tons of courtly intrigue... whiiich is kind of negated by the heroine having mind-reading magic.
It scores major points for diversity... whiiich it then loses for having a bunch of character tropes, too. (The gay guy is an actor. Really. Really?!)
It's an immensely interesting not-quite Earth setting with unique magics and religions... orrr it would be, if the book took the time to BREATHE. Describe a setting. Devote a paragraph or two to explaining the warring religions. Have a map, a glossary, anything! I was swimming in nouns with no descriptions.
Most of the characters weren't likeable. Thank goodness Ren was human; her silent-suffering from being /too/ empathetic is a real struggle a reader can relate to... Buuut she largely doesn't know WHO she is - almost as if she has amnesia - and therefore she doesn't grow from her struggles, only sinking deeper into her martyrdom. And Castian SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER is only likable because a bunch of minor characters /say/ he's likable, up until the last 5 pages of the book. Mendez was complex and his dynamic with Ren was interesting... SPOILER SPOILER and was majorly retconned and watered down by the end of the book :(.
And the book itself sets a frantic pace. Something about its sentence structure, or first-person perspective, combined with its timeline, makes every sentence an action sentence. "I do this. I do this. I do this... etc." This isn't Game of Thrones, with months and years to unravel the mysteries surrounding a character. It's adrenaline-filled days, with little to no chance to stop and describe a setting, a feeling... very little literary craft. Some motifs, but few metaphors or descriptors... Just constant DOING. A story is more than just what the characters /do/.
But for every nagging point that causes me to walk back on this book, I'm ultimately pulled forward, because all the good IS there too <3. Scores for diversity, creativity, mysteries and surprises and dangers aplenty.
A book worth reading, even if it's also a book worth tweaking.

admunro20's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

a_devine_read's review

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5.0

Ren has magical powers. She can take away memories from people. The memories she takes, she keeps and they sometimes haunt her.
She is part of a group of magical people called the Whispers. They are trying to save others like themselves from their king who is killing magical people as fast as he can find them.
The king however does keep a few magical people for his own use. Ren’s ability is rare and she had already belonged to him before she escaped. Back then, her “uncle” took care of her and instructed her on how to use her ability. He didn’t let Ren see the shells of people left behind when she took too many memories.
Ren still is trying to fit in. Her ability is rare and the whispers don’t trust her. The king wanted to use her. Who will be there for her?
Holy cow! If I could give this book ten stars, I would! I was really daunted at first with the length of the book but it had me captivated. I was constantly guessing at what would come next and pleased when I guessed right. This book captivated my mind when I couldn’t read it and left me ignoring reality when I could. Best young adult book I’ve read this year, hands down!

kaybethbookish's review

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4.0

It's refreshing when a series has characters already in an established relationship, which Dev and Renata are. It's even more refreshing when those characters have a HEALTHY established relationship. Though it's clear Dev is protective of Renata, he doesn't do it in a toxic way, nor does she act defenceless when he is around. They support each other, and they encourage each other. It was a nice change to the regular YA relationships I've seen. All of the relationships in this book were written well, even the ones that blur the line between love and hate.

Even though magic was present, it didn't dominate the book, most of the story more focused on the politics and worldbuilding of the land. I really liked the unique use of magic in this series, particularly how certain metals enhance the abilities of the user.

I had a few minor issues with the story, mostly that it was quite a slow burn after the first few chapters flew by. Even after the big adrenaline rush towards the start of the book, I felt the rest of the book never quite reached that same level of excitement. I did struggle to stay interested and had to put it down a few times. I was left intrigued by the ending, however, and will definitely check out the next in the series!

kaylalouise's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional mysterious slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

jitsumi1221's review against another edition

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3.0

Possible Triggers:
Death | Trauma | Mutilation/Torture

Characters:
This story followed one point of view (Renata Convida) for the entirety of the book.

Renata - Not my favorite main character. While she is a determined and strong character, oftentimes, she also seems to flounder and wallow excessively. Please note, she has gone through A LOT stuff that warrants the grief she struggles with. With the focus being so much on her grief, It just makes the story feel like a heavier, more emotionally dragging book.

Castian - This character wasn’t really developed much in the story. I have a feeling that we will know more in the next book, but almost the entirety of this one was you learning about him through hearsay… which may or may not be coloured by whomever is currently talking about him. Since we didn’t learn a bunch about him (from the main source - himself), I’m curious about his potential to be an awesome character. At the moment he's pretty bland.

Positives:
+ SO DARK AND TWISTY. All of the twists. All of the darkness. I appreciate the darker tone throughout the entire book. Sorta like grimdark for YA.
+ The magic was interesting. I would love to know more about the boundaries and limitations of it. I like that the magic is so tied to the religion and culture of the Moria.

Negatives:
- Can’t say i am the biggest fan of how much everyone seems to ‘hate’ the main character all the darn time, for no real defined (valid) reason? I mean they mentioned that she has a special type of Magics that is rare and valued…. You would think if you had that on your team, willingly, for years, you would, i dunno, appreciate it a little more. If the reason is because of ‘past transgressions’, she was a small child. Has anyone met small children before? Can someone's entire existence be narrowed down to a single point of hatred just because of something they did when they were children: unknowingly, with BAD parental figures? Don’t most people generally blame ‘parenting’ in those cases?
- I have a few nitpicky things, basically pertaining to battle and fighting through previously sustained injuries. I don’t want to go into a lot of detail because it can be spoilery, but I think the story would have been improved, if the author had spent a little more time researching how injuries can affect fighting. Really it's just details, but details can be very important. Especially when it comes to situations where it just rings completely wrong while you are reading it. It is not easy to snap a person's neck. It may be quite impossible to do any dexterous hand manipulations when your forearms have been subjected to torture. The amount of blood loss discussed in many of the chapters just blows my mind; you donate a pint and you feel weak. That's assuming you are in good enough health to do so. Here we are reading about characters that struggle even to have the proper amount of food daily - malnourished and often beaten down. Again, this is a big nitpick for me. It didn’t ruin the story, but it certainly disrupted the flow.

Final Thoughts:
I have so many conflicting feelings about this book. On the one hand, the pacing was at times very slow, usually when she is wallowing in the hatred she perceives from everyone around her. There is a lot of self-isolation, a lot of despair, and a repetitive amount of betrayal. Really a circuitous pattern of hatred, despair at hatred, self isolation, betrayal. This is not a happy book. On the other hand, when the action was really going, oh my goodness, I would tear through pages trying to keep up. Overall I thought the book was interesting enough to pick up the second one when it comes out. I do hope that the main character’s angst calms down a little bit though, you can only take so much “everyone hates me” before it gets a bit eye-rolly.

kiwinights's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.75

dawn0fchaos's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

reading2023's review

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3.0

3.5⭐️

I just could not get into it until the very end. The plot just didn’t speak to me and I didn’t care about the characters very much.