Series: The Celestial Trilogy #1
Published by Sky Pony Press on September 11, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Source: Edelweiss, Blog Tour
My content rating: YA (Some violence)
In a universe of capricious gods, dark moons, and kingdoms built on the backs of spaceships, a cursed queen sends her infant daughter away, a jealous uncle steals the throne of Kali from his nephew, and an exiled prince vows to take his crown back.
Raised alone and far away from her home on Kali, Esmae longs to return to her family. When the King of Wychstar offers to gift the unbeatable, sentient warship Titania to a warrior that can win his competition, she sees her way home: she’ll enter the competition, reveal her true identity to the world, and help her famous brother win back the crown of Kali.
It’s a great plan. Until it falls apart.
Inspired by the Mahabharata and other ancient Indian stories, A Spark of White Fire is a lush, sweeping space opera about family, curses, and the endless battle between jealousy and love.
This is the type of book that leaves you thinking, “What did I just read?” immediately followed by, “When can I have more?” There were so many surprises to the story, and I found myself completely engrossed.
What Fed My Addiction:
- Shattered all my expectations. When I started reading this, I thought I knew generally where it was going to go—the storyline seemed familiar. (And not because it’s based on the Mahabharata.) A girl lies to everyone and pretends to ally with one side of a war so that she can actually spy and get information to help the other side. I mean, she’d obviously fall for the “bad guy” and he’d find out her secrets and everything would fall apart. Except, that’s not how it all worked out—at least not exactly. And of course, I can’t tell you what did happen, but I will say that Mandanna made her characters smarter than that, and more compassionate, (and sometimes more villainous). Basically, every time I thought I knew where the story was headed, it swerved the other way, and by the end I was completely blown away by where Mandanna left us.
- Inspired by ancient Indian stories. I didn’t remember when I started this that it was based on the Hindu religious tradition, but when I saw it afterward it was an aha moment for me. I’ve only ever read one other thing based on the Mahabharata, and that was a short story (in A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, if you’d like to check it out). That short story gave a brief description of the original tale, so I can now see the parallels—and maybe some of where the story is going. (Yikes!) Basically, the fact that this was based on the Hindu religion means it’s filled with gods and goddesses, epic battles and love stories, and a bit of treachery and trickery!
- Morally gray villains. Who even are the villains in this story? Esmae thinks she knows when she starts out, but by the time it all ends, her world is topsy-turvy and she’s thrown everything she thought she knew out the window. View Spoiler »Heck, in some ways, this almost felt like a villain origin story, and I could see Esmae herself becoming the ultimate villain. « Hide Spoiler
- Dynamic characters. This sort of goes along with my last point, but I’m talking about Esmae herself here too. Esmae is an incredibly strong character, but she’s also compassionate and forward-thinking. She doesn’t just let herself be swept away by fate—she fights it tooth and nail. And almost every character is fully developed and feels real. Even with the one character who truly does fit the bill as a villain, we get a tiny glimpse of compassion from.
What Left Me Hungry for More:
- Not much. This is one of those cases where I’m scratching my head trying to think of things I didn’t like. I mean, there were moments that I didn’t love what was happening, but I empathized with these characters so well that I felt like I could understand why they made every decision they did. And sometimes the capriciousness of the gods got to me a little, but … they’re gods. So, yeah, I pretty much liked everything.
A Spark of White Fire is an epic tale of love, jealousy, hope, and betrayal. When the gods are on your side, it might be a blessing or it might be a curse! I am eagerly awaiting the next book in this fantastic new series!
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via Edelweiss and Fantastic Flying Book Club Tours in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About The Author
Sangu Mandanna was four years old when an elephant chased her down a forest road and she decided to write her first story about it. Seventeen years and many, many manuscripts later, she signed her first book deal. The Lost Girl, a YA sci fi novel about death and love, is available now. Sangu now lives in Norwich, a city in the east of England, with her husband and kids.
- 1 hardcover copy of A SPARK OF WHITE FIRE by Sangu Mandanna
- Open INT
- Starts: 9/24
- Ends: 10/8