Welcome to the May 23rd stop on the blog tour for Flames of Rebellion by Aaron S. Jones, organized by Storytellers on Tour. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, author guest posts & interviews, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post. #flamesofrebellion #thebrokengods #readindie #storytellersontour
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About the Book
Flames of Rebellion
The Broken Gods Book One
by Aaron S. Jones
Published 28 August 2020
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Page Count: 356
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
CW: Abuse (one incident of domestic – striking a partner), abuse of prisoner (physical beatings and withholding of food and drink), Bullying (Involving xenophobia), Terminal illness (Nothing explicitly described), Gore (General swords and medieval type violence), Violence (General swords and medieval type violence), Religious bigotry (Violence between individuals of differing religious outlooks), Torture (A couple of scenes of physical torture)
A dying world. A broken mage. An oppressed people. The sparks of a rebellion. The world of Takaara is about to change but are the people ready for it?
A young, nomadic mage, Arden Leifhand, journeys across the harsh Borderlands searching for his place is the world. Taken in by a tribe of warriors, Arden discovers there may be more to him than the bullied outcast he had always thought he was.
Meanwhile, south of the Borderlands, Katerina Kane is thrust back into her old life of solving crime in Archania as she searches for the murderer of her lover. Archania has changed since she last worked a case and The Empire of Light is tightening its grip on the land. Through it all, rebellion stirs with the downtrodden citizens as the land teeters on the edge of war…
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My Rating: 5 Stars
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I was granted complimentary access to Flames of Rebellion as part of my participation in a blog tour for this title with Storytellers on Tour. Thank you to all involved, especially to the author or whoever acted on his behalf to send a physical copy. (My sister-in-law has already called dibs on borrowing it!) My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.
Flames of Rebellion is one of those rare books that earns a full 5 stars from me not because it’s flawless (it isn’t) but because there are things about this book that are just that good anyway. The kingdom of Archania is on the verge of total rebellion, and we the readers get to experience the rising tensions from all sides through a handful of POVs. First we meet Arden, a teenage boy from the borderlands. Next we meet Kane, a former inspector of the king in the Upper City. Then we meet Cypher, the master torturer in the King’s dungeons. Round we go, cycling through different POVs in roughly equal 2-chapter segments until we’re familiar with every major player in what is shaping up to be an epic revolution.
My favourite character from the start was by far Cypher and he continued to be as the book went on, but Arden and Kane both grew on me as the book went on. The best part about all of the characters, though, is that not a single one of them has any fucks left to give. (Pardon my French, but if you read this book you’ll have to be prepared for such language.) Everyone tells it like it is, has a seriously dedicated gallows sense of humour, and needs no extra time to think of a witty reply. I must admit that while every scene has something happening, I really wasn’t sure how what sort of plot was being built up or how all the pieces were going to start fitting together until at least 80 pages in, but I didn’t care because the dialogue on every page was enough to keep me turning pages. If you can also stick it out to see how this enormous cast interconnects and where the seeds of war have started to thrive, you’ll find yourself immersed in a high-stakes plot that demands to be seen through to the end in one sitting.
Early on, before I knew where the plot was going and started casting theories my mind was latching onto smaller details and appreciating the little things. The setting feels both medieval history and post-apocalyptic dystopia at the same time, with the borderlands feeling very typical medieval Europe high fantasy and the royal city feeling very post-modern and dystopian. The mixture of character names that are familiar human names and names that are words was interesting and reminded me of Robin Hobb’s world. I love how so many of the human names and place names made me think of Nordic traditions and the Vikings of myth and history. I love the fact that the scene where Elle goes riding early on in the book demonstrates an intimate understanding of not just horsemanship but of horse breeding and care. I love the twist on plague doctors and the instantly recognizable masks they wear for very different reasons than what we’re used to.
When the plot really started to take off and swept me along with it, I was hooked! I read about 40 pages one night a week ago just to see what it was like, put it down to finish other review obligations, and returned to it not knowing if I would make it through in time to add this review to my scheduled blog post for the tour. The next 40 didn’t quell those doubts either. Even though I liked the characters and the familiar references, I wasn’t sure about the plot. Then it grabbed me! It threw away my phone and glued the book to my hand, and the remaining 280 pages flew by. Can I read book two immediately? I must know what happens to these characters next!
I highly recommend this book to all fantasy readers and to anyone interested in checking out the genre who isn’t afraid of multiple POVs. I do think this is a good one for starters because it reads like historical fiction with a dash of fantasy. There is magic, there are magi, and magic is tied to the world’s religion, but most of the plot is driven by entirely mundane evils.
Now, normally my reviews stop there at that last paragraph where I give my recommendations. This time, however, I’m holding a physical book in my hands that is a published book already out there in the world for purchase. It’s not a proof or an ARC. The editing is very well done and the cover art is stunning, but if the author would like to hear my input I would encourage him to revisit print formatting for future books and editions. The print is tiny with huge new paragraph indents, which are made even bigger a few times when the first paragraph of the chapter doesn’t fill enough vertical space to get past the end of the drop-case on the first letter, forcing the second paragraph to indent from the dropped letter rather than the left margin. The binding-edge margin feels a hair tight, but that could be an individual printing issue. The text on the cover (front and back) is centred from binding fold line to cut edge, not from spine bleed to cut edge, which means it all looks like the cut edge was cut too close. It’s about half a centimetre off, which sounds small but the book is only about 13cm wide. None of this affects how great the book is, and the cover is beautiful nonetheless, but these are the fine details that make the difference in creating a printed book that feels like it was printed by the big publishing houses.
About the Author
Born in the area of Birmingham that helped inspire Tolkien’s Middle Earth, Aaron S. Jones grew up with a love of fantasy. Inspired by his father’s interest in Lord of the Rings, Jones caught the fantasy bug and read anything he could get his hands on. Moving to the Middle-East and beginning a teaching career, Jones experienced a different world away from the green of the UK and has been able to mix in his experiences around the world with the time he spends in other worlds to write his debut fantasy novel – FLAMES OF REBELLION. For fans of JOE ABERCROMBIE, SAMANTHA SHANNON, and JOHN GWYNNE, FLAMES OF REBELLION is the first part of THE BROKEN GODS trilogy.
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Prize: A signed hardcover of Flames of Rebellion by S.A. Klopfenstein – UK Only
Starts: May 19th, 2021 at 12:00am EST
Ends: May 26th, 2021 at 11:59pm EST
|May 19||Whispers & Wonder|
|May 20||Beneath A Thousand Skies|
|May 21||I Can Has Books?|
|May 23||Westveil Publishing|
|May 25||Queen’s Book Asylum|
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Comments on “Flames of Rebellion – 5 Star Book Review”
I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this book and appreciated how long and comprehensive they were. It wasespecially refrshing to see comments on the accessibility of the physical book (small print etc.) Nice work!