Hello! Today I have a review of Kindled Embers, by K. C. Simos, and I am very excited to share it with you! I really enjoyed reading this book, and I have a lot of thoughts on it!
Author: K. C. Simos
Release Date: May 31st 2020
Genre: Middle grade fantasy
Series? 1st in the series Soothsayer’s Path
*this review is spoiler-free*
When the Royal Pearl is stolen from the Palace, Eliza’s foster father becomes the main suspect. The police assume the verse left behind is the thief’s calling card, but Eliza believes it may be a riddle. The two embark on an adventure to clear his name, where Eliza proves to him just how resourceful a twelve-year-old-girl can be.
THE DRYAD’S CEDE stories are inspired by characters from the tales of Hans Christian Andersen, such as the Tin Soldier, the Little Mermaid, the Old House, the Little Matchgirl, the Emperor’s New Clothes, the Nightingale, and the Snow Queen.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
I loved Eliza so, so much. She is an excellent protagonist, and is always very entertaining. I thought that her character was very well developed, and most importantly, she was very much a 12 year old girl.
A lot of middle grade fantasy novels are about 12 year olds. And it makes sense; 12 is around the age of many of the kids reading the books, often a bit older. 12 year olds are old enough to carry the plot, but young enough to still be relatable.
I have come across many circumstances when 12 year olds act younger or older, but I thought that Eliza was very well written, and that her character worked very well for her age. Eliza, as a person, also had her faults, and was far from perfect. That is always great to see in books because no one is perfect, not even our favorite fictional characters.
Jonas was a great character, and I appreciated that he was made a bigger part of the book. He never took the spotlight away from Eliza, but he was there to support her, and to help her out as needed.
Louise was wonderful, and I really loved reading about her. I did want more from her story though. She was a dancer, we know that. She was a ballerina but left her dance career to work at the palace as a maid. Why would she? That didn’t really make sense to me.
I did really love all of the scenes between Eliza, Jonas, and Louise though, and they were all really sweet.
The main plot and story was very fun to read. It took me a little while to fully understand what was going on, but once I did, I was really involved in the story.
I felt that there could have been a little more surrounding the Dryad’s Cede, and the legends around it though, and that is definitely something that I would look forward to reading about in other books in the series.
Without any spoilers, the ending was hilarious, interesting, and something that I did not at all see coming.
The reveal at the end was definitely not something that I saw coming, and at first I really loved it. The whole storyline surrounding it, and all of the adventures that took place were really fun, and it was amazing to see how everything had unfolded.
Queen Bettina was definitely one of my favorite characters. She was so funny, but also so smart and thoughtful. She really wanted to help her son, and also wasn’t going to pass up a chance for adventure and fun.
Prince Anders was a very interesting characters, and as the book progressed I grew to like him more and more. I really liked his friendship with Eliza, which was really sweet.
I think that my favorite thing about the book was that it didn’t end in romance. Because for a young girl to have a happily ever after, she doesn’t need a prince, especially one who is twelve years old.
The amount that the book centered around arranged marriage wasn’t my favorite, but it was a crucial part of the plot. In general, the arranged marriage trope isn’t my favorite, especially in fantasy, but here I did think that it was done very well.
I have to admit that I didn’t realize any of the fairy tale aspects until pretty late in the book. Ida, the girl who sold matches was, oh wait, the little match girl!
Someday, I do think I’d want to reread this so that I can fully appreciate the fairy tale characters woven into the storyline, some more subtly than others. My not noticing that, however, wasn’t because of the book. It says so in the synopsis, and is very clear throughout the story. I just didn’t really think about it until the end, until it all came together.
K. C. Simos is the author of two book series, The Dryad’s Cede and Ambrosia Chronicles, is a fan of good food and a lover of compelling stories.
This was a fun, quick read perfect for something leading up to the holidays. With an interesting plot, and fun and entertaining characters, younger readers will love it, and older readers will appreciate the aspects of classic tales woven into it.
I think that the pacing of the book could have been a little better, as the plot took a bit to get into and fully understand, but once the book got going, it was an adventure to get through!
My rating: 3.5/5 stars
To who? Younger and older readers looking for a fun middle grade fantasy who would enjoy seeing characters familiar from classic tales.