Chaos & Flame

Razorbill. Mar. 2023. 336p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780593353325.
Gr 7 Up–Political intrigue, magic, and intricate worldbuilding will draw in readers and leave them wanting more. Darling Seabreak’s family was murdered when she was very young by House Dragon, leaving her the sole survivor of a dead House. Talon Goldhoard, the War Prince for House Dragon, serves his people dutifully, even when his brother, the High Prince Regent, begins acting more erratically. Darling and Talon must learn to work together if they are to survive the deception and obfuscation of factions that seeks to tear the world apart—or rebuild it into something better. Ireland and Gratton have created a world with deep lore, and then show readers very little of it. Darling and Talon, the two point-of-view characters, are interesting and complicated, with shifting motivations and a deep desire to do right by the people they care about. The side characters are diverse and add to the richness of the world. Readers should watch out for mis-gendering a side character, though the other character in the scene immediately corrects it. Overall, while set in a deeply interesting world with engaging characters, the novel suffers a bit from uneven pacing.
VERDICT A fantasy story with an engaging premise, this will circulate well in libraries where other epic fantasy and enemies-to-lovers romances are popular.

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