Review: Flamebringer by Elle Katharine White (Heartstone #3)

Flamebringer by Elle Katharine White // VBC Review

Flamebringer (Heartstone #3)
Elle Katharine White
Published: Nov. 12, 2019 (Harper Voyager)
Purchase at: Amazon
Review Source: Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for and honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it will reference previous events in the series. If you haven’t yet started, check out VBC’s review of Heartstone.

While away investigating the deaths of Idar near the Castle of Selwyn at the northern border of Arle, Aliza and Alastair Daired came face to face with House Daired’s sworn enemy Tristan Wydrick, previously thought dead, but still very much alive. That is, alive and ghast-ridden­ (playing host to violent shadow creatures). Wydrick imparts the same warning as others in the area: a great evil has been biding its time but is getting ready to strike.

As Arle prepares for a convocation between neighboring nations, and Tekari attacks are happening with more frequency, Aliza and Alastair must gather together all those able and willing to fight for Arle, because the evil is already at their shores.

Flamebringer picks up right where Dragonshadow left us, with Aliza and Alastair in pursuit of Wydrick. It’s not long before they realize it’s a fruitless endeavor as he’s already escaped for now. In other words, the book starts off running and while it seemingly has moments of pause and reflection, looking back as I write this review, I feel like Flamebringer—when compared to Dragonshadow’s languorous build—sped through the story too fast. It’s almost like books two and three are just parts two parts of a whole. They go hand-in-hand moreso than the first book which stands on its own more solidly despite having certain elements that were tied into the last two books.

Mostly, I felt like there were still a lot of issues that Aliza and Alastair needed to deal with that get pushed aside without any meaningful resolution because of the overarching conflict that has arisen. I loved how Elle Katharine White portrayed their marriage. You can feel the love they have for each other even when life happens and puts them on paths that are askew from one another. It’s one of the most honest and true relationships I’ve read recently. Yes, we love the Happily Ever Afters (at least I do), but what really solidifies a relationship is working through the difficult times and the times you’re at odds with your significant other.

I was super happy that there was a brief return to Hart’s Run and reuniting with Aliza and Alastair’s families and more characters from the first book. I felt like Dragonshadow really set the Daireds apart, and slightly adrift, from those they care about—an almost desolate feeling—but Flamebringer brings them back into the fold, so to speak, and you can feel that strength of heart and spirit that being around your loved ones provides. Elle Katharine White certainly doesn’t pull any punches throughout this series and with it being the final battle, you know Flamebringer is going to have some pretty big emotional moments.

Flamebringer is an engaging read. For all that I thought it went by too quickly, mostly that’s because I am really interested in the world Elle Katharine White has created, and don’t want to leave it so soon. I feel like there are still corners of Arle, and beyond, that beg for exploration, and there is certainly a plethora of characters who can take up the mantle in Alize and Alastair’s stead. Fingers crossed we get to explore some more. Overall, though, I’m really impressed with a series that started as a classic retelling but developed its own history and mythology that stand apart on their own merits.

Sexual content: Kissing and references to sex

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