Reviews for Lava Red Feather Blue, by Molly Ringle

kwdubz's review

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3.0

I'm a sucker for fairytale retellings!

This was a really cute, new take on Sleeping Beauty. A 1700s Prince is put under a sleeping spell and awakes centuries later to discover the world is a much different place then when he left?! Yes please!

I thought the balance of fae/fantasy elements with modern technology was well done. The magic was well explained and seemed natural.

If I have a main criticism of the book it would be that it was too short. I think for how interested I was in this world 350 pages wasn't enough. I wanted more character development and deeper relationships, I wanted more history of the fae/human coexistence, and I wanted to see more of the island.

Merrick and Larkin were really cute, I just felt like their relationship was a little forced. Give them more time to get to know each other and they would be a natural couple. Seeing as the whole book took place over the course of about a week, I think it was rushed.

The pacing was a little strange in places. There were scenes that I felt could have been given more attention while others had too much time dedicated to them.

Overall, this was a really solid read and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a nice escape into a fantasy world. I'm hoping for a sequel of sorts so we can see more character development from Merrick and Larkin and see more of the world. 350 pages wasn't enough.

rachelohw's review

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adventurous emotional tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.0

queer sleeping beauty retelling mixed with faes and magic

kirsten508's review

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5.0

What can I say? I absolutely fell in love with this book. Normally waking up a prince would be the perfect ending to a fairytale, but this time it is actually the beginning of the story. Merrick wakes up Prince Larkin by accident from a 200-year sleep. This is not necessarily the problem, but by waking up Larkin he also has awoken Ula Kana. Ula Kana is a faery with only the goal to make the humans leave the fae's island. She and Larkin were both put to sleep as a truce between humans and fae.

This book was just amazing. I love how there are a lot of LGBTQ characters included, and by a lot, I really mean a LOT. It was there but it did not become the central focus of the book. It was just a fantasy book with a gay relationship and a non-binary sibling.

The buildup to the story's plot was perfect. It was timed good and did not move too fast or slow. The world-building was amazing and I love how the author made up the fae territory.

The relationship between Larkin and Merrick needed time to grow and that was exactly what this story needed. It probably would have been a cliche if the two of them would have fallen in love within the first hundred pages of the book.

This story really kept me in a reading mood, and I wanted to keep reading it. But at the same time I did not want the story to be over. Which is the perfect balance for me. I would definitely advise this book to fellow fantasy readers.

miki_fourinterests's review

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

4.0

andi_nicole's review against another edition

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

3.5

syweer's review

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adventurous emotional slow-paced

4.0

larslovesbooks's review

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adventurous lighthearted slow-paced

2.5

I FINALLY finished this book. It’s one of those books that isn’t bad per say I just found very clunky and difficult to read. I wish I could put my finger on what it was exactly. 

The plot was interesting - reverse sleeping beauty with a Prince being put into magical sleep to imprison a bad faerie intent on destroying the human world. I really like the idea of Larkin and Merrick running off to save the day. They were good characters - but a little annoying. My favourite character was Nye and he was barely in it.

I just found it really hard to connect with the story and the characters. The pacing was slow to me and I struggled to pick it up - I read 4 other books in between. I managed to finish reading it, which is why it’s 2.5 stars but it just wasn’t for me.

alyxinthestars's review against another edition

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

3.5

Lava Red Feather Blue by Molly Ringle is a fantasy novel that was published at the start of this month. It centres around two characters: Prince Larkin, a human royal who has been recently awoken after being put under a sleeping spell under duress for over two hundred years, and Merrick, a half-fae perfumer, descendant of the witch who put Larkin under the sleeping spell, and the man who wakes him entirely by accident. Waking Prince Larkin also wakes the fae Ula Kana, who is intent on destroying all humans on the island that they live on. Merrick and Larkin have to team up to defeat Ula Kana once and for all, venturing into the dangerous fae realm without any guarantee of their safe return. 

Overall, I enjoyed the book. The story was interesting and gripping, with some interesting world building and a great cast of characters, including many openly queer characters which made my little queer heart happy. The exploration of the concept of love given the differences in the perception of time between fae and humans was also really interesting, as was the contrast between the life Larkin had known and life for the rest of the human or part human characters of the book. 

Merrick and Larkin had some cute moments as a couple. I love the trope of one character facing or overcoming a fear they hold for another, and Ringle executed it beautifully. The only thing I would say is that as someone who is used to slow burn romances, their relationship seemed to progress a little fast to me. I would have liked some more time to really get to know them and understand why they love each other, but I still think that they compliment each other well as characters. 

I would recommend Lava Red Feather Blue by Molly Ringle for fantasy fans looking for a high stakes story with a side of queer romance. 
 
I was given a free copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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vivaldi's review against another edition

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medium-paced

4.0

I think it has been 84 years since I've last read a fae-inspired fantasy novel of this calibre, so when I finished this I was grinning like a devil. 

I discovered Lava Red Feather Blue, thanks to a friend of mine who read the ARC sometime last year. So I decided to look up the book page and lo and behold, the aesthetic cover and the premise caught my attention - so that prompted me to pre-order a copy. I'm still waiting for my pre-ordered copy to arrive but I quit waiting and decided to read the whole thing on my iPad because this is amongst the half a dozen highly anticipated releases that I just want to get around reading ASAP. I want to say that I still prefer reading fantasy novels physically, but somehow my iPad experience with Lava Red Feather Blue was a highly positive one.

Lava Red Feather Blue is an enchanting fae & witch novel with a very cool concept and a diverse cast of characters. This is a character-driven tale revolving around Merrick (a witch) and Larkin (a fae woken up from more than 2 hundred years of sleep), but the story isn't only centred on the superb & slow-burning LGBT+ relationship. This is also a tale about sacrifice, belongings, and fighting for the greater cause. From Merrick's unlikely alliance with Larkin, Ringle splendidly illustrated both characters' internal struggles. The well fleshed out pair also made me feel their losses more acutely. I rarely get emotional over reading books so you know it's a good sign when the characters resonate with me so much. Similarly, I found the supporting characters quite eccentric and yet likable. Therefore, I found the character development to be one of the greatest assets in the book. 

Conceptually, Lava Red Feather Blue goes big and bold. I feel like I'm transported into a magical and colourful world of Eidolonia while reading this (also kudos to the diverse source of inspiration of the worldbuilding, I found the magic system so fascinating). It's an immersive experience, thanks to Ringle's solid worldbuilding and unique concept. I love the diversity of the supernatural characters in the novel. I was not bored in any single minute of reading the novel.

Thematically, Molly Ringle also managed to pack plenty of political tension between the humans & fairies, making this a very hard to put down read. I'm still processing over the central themes of the novel, but this political tension & Ula Kana's uprise felt surprisingly reminiscent to the current political atmosphere as of lately. It sheds some insights on how partisanships are based on manipulations & sentiments, instead of fairness and transparency. The implication of Ula Kana's role in the novel created plenty of opportunity for Ringle to explore various big themes through the character developments.

While there are a lot of good things to say about Lava Red Feather Blue, there are a few minor drawbacks to address. Personally, the pacing of the book was on the slow side in the beginning which means the first 50 or so pages required a bit of pushing through. This isn't a major issue because Ringle managed to use a good portion of the beginning to establish the expansive worldbuilding and the magic system. So regarding the writing style, there are quite some details & a bit of info-dumping (this is overall quite a dense read), but they do make a lot of sense as the novel progresses. It's just something to be aware of if you are used to reading books where things happen straight from the beginning. And I think this is just my personal take, but I would love to see more of the support characters because of the intricate worldbuilding and concept.

Overall, I love reading Lava Red Feather Blue and I had a satisfying experience with it after years of not coming across a decent fae-inspired read. I'm now eagerly waiting for my hardcopy to arrive because I'm obsessed with the cover and I need a good fairy book to represent my physical bookshelf!

erraticelle's review

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adventurous funny lighthearted medium-paced

4.0

 Lava Red Feather Blue is a cute and light read with some humorous moments that kept me entertained and interested throughout. Though billed as an adult fantasy, I would classify this as a new adult read as Merrick, one of the protagonists, appears a bit immature for his age and felt more of an early twenties character than near thirties. Based on content, it is a bit above the level of an average YA read, though more mature readers of the YA audience would do fine with it.

The writing was good and comfortable for me. I found it adequately descriptive, though I could have used a bit more world-building and physical character descriptions. This was particularly true for me with regard to the fae world. However, I did very much appreciate the inclusion of different species and their customs. Also of note was the attention to modern conveniences as experienced by Larkin, who had been in a magically-induced sleep for over 200 years. The address of his exposure to technology was both realistically and humorously handled.

The relationship between Larkin and Merrick is cute and fun. It is a bit instalove-y in the fact that it is fairly predictable, but the progression of the relationship is well-handled and interesting. Their interactions gave me a few good laughs along with some warm fuzzies. Their banter was particularly fantastic.

In fact, the majority of the characters and their interactions were great, with Merrick and Larkin being particularly well fleshed out. The only characters that felt extraneous to me were Merrick's sibling and niece, who provided a relationship for Merrick, but not much else. They did not appear to serve the plot in much of a substantial way and could have been utilized more. This also may have helped to expand the importance of Merrick's involvement in the perfumery. I found the occupation interesting, but there wasn't a lot of exposition explaining what he did or showing how they did it. It would have been a fun inclusion for me.

The author handled diversity and LGBT+ representation wonderfully. Unlike a lot of novels with rep, diverse sexuality does not take center stage in a way that works as a plot device, it simply exists as a matter of course. This was pleasantly refreshing and I appreciated the lack of a heavy hand.

Though I enjoyed the world and would definitely be keen on exploring it more, this novel is a standalone and it does well as one. The plot is constructed nicely and the pacing is great. There is enough action to sustain the narrative from beginning to end. The ending is good and wraps up nicely. I will admit that there is some convenience factor in the final pieces of exposition, but it was fun to read and had a very satisfying resolution. Definitely recommend, especially for readers of light fantasy or those who wish to introduce themselves to fantasy.

* Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *