A review by vivaldi
Lava Red Feather Blue, by Molly Ringle

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!