A couple months ago, I read a short story (actually a “short short” or flash fiction story) by an author that I had hear about but had never read and this story made me want to read more of her works. I got that opportunity when I got a review copy of “Enflamed” by R.M. Prioleau.
Kaijin Sora had to flee his home as destruction rained upon the town and finds himself seemingly alone in the world. It is there that he stumbles upon several people that are to become his companions. There is Nester, the brownie thief, and Aidan, a giant who abhors violence, and the beautiful and mysterious Zaraya. When Kaijin finds an orb that only he can touch without being burned, the group decides to travel to The Pyre to try to learn the secret of the orb.
The Pyre is home to those who worship Ignis and it is there that Kaijin will learn his purpose in life. First, however, he must make it to The Pyre as the group is besieged by danger and adventures. What is the orb and what are the roles of the adventurers in the overall scheme of things? These are the answers that lie at the end of their dangerous quest.
I think it is important that I start off by saying that “Enflamed” is the second book in “The Pyromancer Trilogy” and I have not read the first book. This worried me going in but I still enjoyed this book even though I had not read the first. There are references to the events of the first book (at least, I think so) which would have added to my enjoyment of the story but this book could really be read as a stand-alone novel with the exception that the ending is left open for the third book.
One thing that has turned me off to some fantasy in recent years is that every fantasy book has to be a part of a series and they all involve an epic adventure. While “Enflamed” is a part of a trilogy, this book does not have that “epic” feel to it. By that I mean that it is lacking the apparent prophecy which is coming to fruition in order to save the world. “Enflamed” seems more grounded and reads more like a personal adventure. While there are many of the elements of a fantasy novel that fans have come to expect, such as the group of disparate characters banding together for a quest, I still felt like this was a novel that took place on a smaller scale than most fantasy novels. It lacked the feel that the events of the story were determining the fate of the world and I enjoyed the way in which this made me relate to the story and the characters.
While this is the first long work of R.M. Prioleau that I have read, it seems like she has a good grasp of the genre and is a more than capable writer to spin an entertaining tale. “Enflamed” is by no means a perfect book. There are parts in which the action seemed a little rushed and other parts of the story in which there was a lot of information given in a short span that almost make me feel like I missed something and was playing catch up. Overall, however, this is an entertaining story with likeable characters that is written in a style that is both serious enough to be believable but with enough innocence to make me think of the stories I enjoyed when I was younger. This is a novel that can be enjoyed by adults but can also be shared with young adult readers. Strong fantasy minus the epic drama equals a nice change of pace and an enjoyable novel for me.
I would like to give a special thank you to R.M. Prioleau and NetGalley for this review copy. “Enflamed” is available now.