A review by briaravenuebooks
A Vision in Smoke, by Allyson S. Barkley


4.5 stars

“a vision in smoke,” the sequel to “a memory of light”, was truly a delightful and fast-paced read. this book starts right back up where the first one left off. ari, jagger, and ely have to safely transport their precious cargo to a new destination, the mythical and secret third army. the third army is supposed to be the answer to the civil war’s problem, a strong force that will bring peace to the world and restore power back to the earth instead of terrorizing oppressors. but even inspiring rebel armies cannot always be trusted to do the right thing, and even brave young women like ari are not sure they have what it takes to lead. filled with complex political intrigue, war meetings, friendship, and romance, this high fantasy book is sure to satisfy everyone who devoured “a memory of light” and leave them hungry for the next installment.

spoilers below!!

Spoiler okay, so i saw a few reviews on here saying that they liked the book but thought that the war council chapters/sections felt a bit slow. for me, an avid brandon sanderson and high fantasy reader, they were not too dense or slow at all. i actually enjoyed them because it helped me understand the world and characters better, and i felt that each war council had an important character moment in addition to worldbuilding/plot-expanding details. so if you’re into high fantasy typically, this probably won’t be a big issue for you.

the reason for dropping half a star for me was some of the side character relationships, and maybe this is petty, so i apologize lol. but because i ship ari and ely so hard, the side romance between ari and samorin felt a little flat and forced to me. this could have been the author’s design, and if so, then i apologize for not believing in you! but any time samorin was “on screen,” i rolled my eyes a bit. he was fine, nothing super wrong with him, but he and ari were just too similar and the romance seemed to come out of nowhere in my opinion. their interactions were a bit boring for me, and those were the scenes i found myself wanting to go faster, not the war councils.

still, all things considered, i think this book took all the good stuff from the first one and just magnified it. my heart was pounding during the end battle, and i loved all of the character arcs and development. ari admitting that ely is her friend and she cares about him was so sweet, and even dinar managed to charm me a bit by the end. i’m so looking forward to the next book, even though this one isn’t officially released yet!

thanks to the author for providing me an eARC in exchange for an honest review!