I'm sure when we come back from our break, I'll have a few stories to share about my first YALLFest experience. Suffice it to say, it was the best girls' trip and weekend getaway I've had in so long! My niece, bestie, and I had such a wonderful time being totally immersed in all things bookish and YA, and we didn't leave empty handed: I walked away with 9 physical galleys (+ 2 more that are being mailed), 1 digital ARC, and alllllllllllll the bookish freebies. If you're close to Charleston, South Carolina: YOU HAVE TO GO TO YALLFEST.
Anyways, the first galley I read from my YALLFest stash was Chaos and Flame by Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland. This is a YA Fantasy novel that follows Darling, a young orphan, sworn to House Kraken and seeking vengeance for her murdered family, and Caspian and Talon, brothers and princes of Kraken's enemy House Dragon. Per the back cover, they're "Sworn enemies. Bound by prophecy," who just might "embrace the Chaos and ignite the Flame." (Please note that this quote is based on an uncorrected proof copy and is subject to change.)
I'll admit that Chaos and Flame took me a bit to get invested. The world building and explanation of the magic system was at times a bit tedious, but I was determined to finish--especially since my bestie gave it high praise. I'm glad I listened to her. The plot definitely picks up around the midway point and I was hanging on every word by the end.
Usually I pick my "favorite" early on, especially when it comes to two people who appear to be vying for the main character's attention, but with Chaos and Flame I honestly loved both of the brothers equally. Each had their moments that made you want to rage, and moments that made you adore them.
I did feel that parts of the plot were a bit predictable, while others came out of left field--which is the mark of a good book. The authors lead you into a false sense of security, then blindside you. It was a good balance until the cliffhanger ending we all love to hate (and hate to love). It leaves you with far more questions than answers in the best way possible. If there isn't a sequel, I will sue for emotional damages.
Anyways, you need to read this book when it releases on March 28, 2023! Go ahead and get your preorder in now here!
Love and (poisoned) kisses,
Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Amazon affiliate link above, I will receive a small commission which I will use to justify my literary addictions and to spoil my dogs (probably).