Hello, and happy Tuesday! I am so excited for today’s review, because it is of one of my favorite books so far that I’ve read this year, and overall. Birdie @ Birdie’s Booktopia recommended this one to me a ton, and I’m so glad that I finally got around to reading it because it is such an incredible book. So, without further ado, here is my review of These Feathered Flames, by Alexandra Overy!
These Feathered Flames, by Alexandra Overy
Author: Alexandra Overy
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Release Date: April 20th, 2021
Genre: Young adult fantasy
Three Dark CrownsmeetsWicked Saintsin this queer #ownvoices retelling of “The Firebird,” a Russian folktale, by debut author Alexandra Overy.
When twin heirs are born in Tourin, their fates are decided at a young age. While Izaveta remained at court to learn the skills she’d need as the future queen, Asya was taken away to train with her aunt, the mysterious Firebird, who ensured magic remained balanced in the realm.
But before Asya’s training is completed, the ancient power blooms inside her, which can mean only one thing: the queen is dead, and a new ruler must be crowned.
As the princesses come to understand everything their roles entail, they’ll discover who they can trust, who they can love–and who killed their mother.
These Feathered Flames is a unique and incredible book. Set in the fictional land of Tourin, the book is about two sisters, who from a young age were trained for vastly different roles in their queendom: one, Isaveta, learned to be the queen, and the other, Asya, trained to be the firebird, who ensures that the balance is kept, and that everyone who uses magic pays the proper price.
I loved reading about the complex court politics that are central to the plot, and to the progression of the novel. The tensions between the queen and foreign ambassadors and guests are great to read about, and I also love how Alexandra Overy wrote the different loyalties within Tourin court, and how various nobles treated the queen and the firebird.
There are many amazing characters, but there is one who really stood out to me: Asya, the firebird. She is so well written, and has such a fantastic character.
The plot is so engaging, and is so wonderfully faced paced, always moving. This is helped by the incredible writing; poetic, descriptive, and lyrical, it tells the story of These Feathered Flames in a thrilling way.
The world is so unique, and the worldbuilding itself is done so well. I really love the way the magic is all explained and how it is written. The importance of balance with magic is also explored better than it often is in books; I was really able to understand what the balance meant, and why it was necesary. Overall, it wasn’t too difficult to grasp the magic system, as it can often be in fantasy books. I really loved this, because it made it easier for me to take in and fully appreciate the rest of the book, not just spending all my time floundering through a fantasy world I couldn’t understand.
And the LGBTQ+ representation is AMAZING. I picked up this book because I knew that it was sapphic, and I was not at all disapointed on this front. There is a beautifully written sapphic romance that just made me so rediculously happy to read about. I can’t say much without spoiling the book, but ahh it is so incredibly done.
Alexandra is the author of the These Feathered Flames duology, as well as the forthcoming middle grade fantasy, The Gingerbread Witch (2022).
Alexandra was born in London, England. She lived there until she was 21, when she moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA to study history. She went on to complete her MFA in screenwriting, also at UCLA.
Ever since she was little she has loved being able to escape into another world through books. She’s been writing as long as she can remember, everything from a screenplay about a stolen Gameboy, to the memoir of the youngest evil overlord ever, to novels about murderous princesses.
She still lives in Los Angeles, and when she’s not working on a new manuscript or procrastinating doing work, she can either be found obsessing over Netflix shows, or eating all the ice cream she can.
Any fans of young adult fantasy would love These Feathered Flames, and anyone in search of an LGBTQ+ fantasy, specifically with a main sapphic romance should definitely pick up this book.