Fire Within by Ella M. Lee
Verdict: OH MY GOD WHAT A FIND!!!! 😍
For people with time because you won’t want to stop reading, for a fascinating and creative world of magic, for a blend of modern with magic, for a new-life kind of story, for action and emotional conflict
Fiona Ember’s life has been shattered to pieces. After an assassination attempt gone awry, her friends are dead, she’s lost her magic, and she’s now imprisoned by the magician she just tried to kill. To make matters worse, she learns he’s the infamous Auspex, who possesses the gifts of precognition and mind-reading, and who’s known for his deadly and unyielding reputation.
Resigned to torture and execution, Fiona is surprised when the Auspex offers her a chance to live—but first, she will need to demonstrate the value he’s seen in her future. Fiona must discover what he wants from her quickly, before his patience runs out.
Thousands of miles from home and alone in enemy territory, what are Fiona’s hopes of impressing the Auspex and reclaiming her life and magic? And what happens when she starts being drawn unwittingly into his dangerous and mysterious plans?
This book STARTS after an assassination attempt, which is what most stories would dramatically culminate with. So be assured that what follows is indeed even more epic than that, and continues through the series.
I was so hopeful that I would enjoy this, and I did even more than I expected. It was the kind of book where I squeezed in a few more pages as I was brushing my teeth, or falling asleep in bed, or right before I had to start work for the day. Any free moment, I was reading it, and any non-free moment, I was thinking about it. Read this in a day or two (would’ve been one session if it were the weekend!).
My biggest draw is the magic. It’s set in modern day, with Fiona a regular adult who happened to learn magic is talk and pivot her life into it. The different branches of magic are almost elemental, but without being so cut and dry. Water and Fire, sure those clans are pretty clear. But smoke? Meteor? Wild? Verdant? I can’t wait to learn more about them!
Fiona admittedly spends a LOT of this book depressed and ready to die or otherwise give up trying. And yet it never felt whiny. She kept trying, and kept getting beat back down, and yet kept trying. Her musings made me shed a few tears because of how much I empathized with her. So I love her as a character, 100%. I found it really easy to root for her.
If you’re wondering if this is enemies to lovers, don’t expect that. There are shades of it as they start understanding their new relationship, evolving from assasin & target, to captor and slave, to who knows what. Ultimately it’s about Fiona’s impending punishment and her growth and learning of those around her.
Thanks to Booksirens and Ella M Lee for a free copy! This is my honestly delighted review.
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