We Are the Fire | Sam Taylor
Page count: 416
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication date: February 16, 2021
Genres: YA, fantasy, high fantasy, magic, romance
“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.”
We Are the Fire was one of my most anticipated reads this month! Unfortunately, it did not meet those lofty standards. That said, it wasn’t a bad book. It wasn’t the stuff of a favorite, but I did have a good time for most of the book!
The blurb of We Are the Fire compared it to An Ember in the Ashes and the legend of Spartacus. I know nothing about the legend of Spartacus, so I don’t know about that part. Maybe. But, while it wasn’t the closest match, it wasn’t that far off the mark of An Ember in the Ashes. The way they were trained and the way their captors acted were similar. I’ve heard other people say the opposite, but I still think it was pretty close. I’ve only read the first book of An Ember in the Ashes, so maybe it deviates past the point of my reading.
What made this book new and interesting for me was the way the main romantic relationship was structured. Oksana (which is a really pretty name, I’ll remember that one) and Pran already had a relationship when we started reading. Instead of seeing them start their relationship, we got to see all that comes next. No matter how true your love, people fight, opinions deviate, and life becomes a bog of hard choices.
Oksana and Pran themselves were pretty good characters, but nothing that really stands out. I will say that they aren’t your stereotypical YA MCs. Pran is trying to lead a rebellion, but he seems to be doing it all wrong. Oksana is a kind soul who only wants to go home, but everything she does seems to backfire. While I doubt I’ll think about them night and day or anything, I did like reading about them.
What really knocked the book down a peg was the pacing. While it got interesting and faster-paced in the second half, it was pretty slow at the beginning. I wasn’t enjoying it all that much. Again, it picked up later in the story, but the first half dragged on forever.
All in all, this was a pretty good book. But just think–this is just a debut novel! I will very likely be keeping an eye out for this author.
About the Author | Sam Taylor
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.
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