by E.C. Blake
Published by Shadowpaw Press
Review by Marlin Legare
$C24.95 ISBN 9781989398197
Blue Fire by E.C. Blake is a Young Adult fantasy adventure that is not only sure to impress the young literature fans in your household but also a fun read for all ages. Published by ShadowPaw Press, Blue Fire follows the escapes of Petra, a young Priest-Apprentice; Amelinn, a Free-Folk youth and dancer; and Jin, a young scholar of the Nightkin people. The factions of these teenagers in Blake’s impressively crafted world have been at odds for centuries over a divine battle of warring gods known as the War of the Twelve Gods, a great battle that took place in the land of Nevyana in which twelve gods fought for glory and territory. Only three of these gods survived: Vekrin, Errica, and Ell.
These gods agreed to cease interference in the lives of mortals, opting to instead bestow upon their respective followers divine gifts. Vekrin of the Earth and Errica of the Sun gave to their followers the titular gift of Blue Fire, a powerful force for humans to wield as a means of weaponry and defence. Meanwhile, the followers of Ell of the Moon received the ability to see at night along with fur and claws, resembling more beast than man. When a common foe brings these three together, they must work through their differences and the feud of their people to escape guaranteed tyranny.
The fantasy genre is inescapably one of lore and it is no secret that fantasy fans love to nerd out to the lore of their favourite series. In this case, Blake’s lore struck a fantastic balance between being grandiose and mysterious enough to be interesting without being convoluted. If I had one criticism of modern fantasy, it is that authors will often try to out-Tolkein Tolkein. It is too common in fantasy to see overly complex lore and several dozen appendices. Authors seem to totally forget that without all the fictitious history, religious practices, and geopolitical strife, a good story still needs to exist underneath. Blake does not make that mistake. The plot and the storytelling of this novel are the solid core of it. While the lore does help build the world and explain the characters’ motivation and biases, it never gets in the way of the story, nor does it ever seem to be just there for filler.
The characters are exceptionally well-written as well. Despite belonging to the magical realm of Nevyana, the three central characters still felt distinctly like teenagers. Blake understands that readers, especially young ones, need to connect with their characters to be engaged in the story. Petra, Amlinn, and Jin all carried common traits and insecurities of real-life teenagers that often made me shake my head and smile. In conclusion, Blue Fire is a delightful YA fantasy that I can recommend to readers of any age.
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