Book Review: Raining Embers by Jessica Dall

Raining Embers (Order and Chaos Book 1) by Jessica Dall
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

“Raining Embers” was, on the whole, an enjoyable read.

We’re introduced to the two protagonists separately, although it’s clear their destinies are interlinked. The fantasy world was well detailed and, to me, spoke of Renaissance Italy, with opulent palaces and quiet religious enclaves alike.

Palmer’s disability didn’t really seem to affect him, while Brier’s malady seemed to have her getting drunk to drown out the smell rather than, as the blurb says, taking to her bed. I was slightly confused about Palmer’s early Seer abilities and the mixing of two disciplines; astrology as a means of predicating the future was fine, for example an eclipse being an omen of peace or war, but predicting an eclipse itself comes to me under the heading of astronomy.

These concerns aside, the story picked up the pace in chapter seven when the two heroes were thrown together and discovered their true identities, giving us answers to some of the questions posed in the earlier chapters. The rest of the book details their adventures as they train, escape, and finally return home to try and save the city.

I liked Rosette and how Palmer and Brier adopted her into their lives, and I liked Nico and felt bad for how he was so easily cast aside for Palmer; the affection between Palmer and Brier seemed to come more from their destinies and abilities rather than any actual attraction. I could accept the romance but it wasn’t my favourite part of the book. The story felt somewhat YA to me, possibly because of the ages of the characters, which isn’t a minus for me, but could be to other readers.

I’m pretty sure the author didn’t intend it, but Brier seems to go without wine until they go home and sees Nico. Then there’s a couple of line where she could do with a drink. It comes across as when she’s with Palmer their love means she is sober and in control of her skills but with anyone else she wants alcohol to dampen her abilities. If you’re truly in love you won’t drink? It left a nasty puritanical taste in my mouth.

The action-packed final chapters were fantastic as all the threads finally came together, Palmer, Brier, and Rosette’s abilities came to the forefront, and there were further revelations made. The story ended with some nice nods to friendship, rebuilding, and preserving knowledge.

Finally, while it’s clear that this is the first book in a series, this novel does stand alone. Rather than end on a cliff-hanger, there’s a moment of respite that gives the book enough closure to satisfy the reader, which I very much appreciated.

Again, an enjoyable enough read, a story that’s good for a few nights entertainment in a well drawn fantasy setting. I’d award it 3.5 stars out of 5.

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