I’ll confess. I chose this book based on its title alone. We Are the Fire is just such a great title, don’t you think? And yeah, that cover isn’t so bad either. So when I saw this Blog Tour opportunity on Xpresso Book Tours, I signed up right away.
And guess what?! You can win a copy of We Are the Fire by entering the giveaway at the bottom of this page. Be sure to check it out.
As electrifying as it is heartbreaking, Sam Taylor’s explosive fantasy debut We Are the Fire is perfect for fans of An Ember in the Ashes and the legend of Spartacus. In the cold, treacherous land of Vesimaa, children are stolen from their families by a cruel emperor, forced to undergo a horrific transformative procedure, and serve in the army as magical fire-wielding soldiers. Pran and Oksana―both taken from their homeland at a young age―only have each other to hold onto in this heartless place. Pran dreams of one day rebelling against their oppressors and destroying the empire; Oksana only dreams of returning home and creating a peaceful life for them both. When they discover the emperor has a new, more terrible mission than ever for their kind, Pran and Oksana vow to escape his tyranny once and for all. But their methods and ideals differ drastically, driving a wedge between them. Worse still, they both soon find that the only way to defeat the monsters that subjugated them may be to become monsters themselves.
The story follows the adventures and challenges of Osaka and Pran. As children, they were kidnapped from their families by an evil emperor. If that wasn’t bad enough, they, along with numerous other abductees, are then altered by alchemy to possess fire magic, and forced to serve in the emperor’s army. It’s easy to feel sympathy for them right away. I was invested in their struggles for freedom and their goal to reunite with their families.
The story is told in dual POV (third-person) which helps move the story along, as well as provide the reader with the unique ambitions and conflicts of our two leads.
At the start of the story, Osaka and Pran are already involved in a romantic relationship. Though I usually prefer to see a relationship build during a story versus jumping into one that’s already established, Taylor executed this quite well. We see how the characters’ differences come to light as various new conflicts arise, and how these situations impact and challenge the relationship.
I’ll admit, I definitely connected more with Osaka. She is fierce, but also smart and prudent. I was rooting for her the whole time.
This book is compared to An Ember in the Ashes. While there are similar themes in We Are the Fire, there’s plenty of differences that make this story unique. That said, both are excellent books, and I do think fans of An Ember in the Ashes will enjoy this story as well. I would certainly classify this book as mature YA as there are some dark situations that may not be appropriate for younger readers.
The world-building and magic/alchemy systems were imaginative, which made for an immersive tale. There’s a few places I would’ve preferred to see pacing sped up, but it was a minor issue and didn’t detract from the experience.
What I found nice, is the story is wrapped up at the end. Nothing against trilogies (I love them!) but sometimes it’s nice to see how a story concludes in one book, rather than waiting over a year for the next installment. And even though the story consists only of one book, it doesn’t suffer for it. The prose is concise and gripping, the tale is enthralling, and the execution is perfect.
About the Author
Sam Taylor grew up in Arizona’s deserts and now lives among Connecticut’s trees. She spends her days writing, being mom to the world’s cutest boys, whirling through dance workouts, and baking too many cakes. She does not possess fire magic, but does have one fire-colored cat. We Are the Fire is her debut novel.
Win a copy of the book! Enter by February 25th.