The Firebird's Tale
Author: Anya Ow
Title: The Firebird's Tale
Series: The Ironlands 1
Genre: High Fantasy
Rating: Four Petals
On the Author's Website:
The Firebird's Tale begins with the end of a familiar story: a Prince who never smiled, and by Imperial decree, has to marry the one who managed to make him do so.
Except that it was all an accident, and the Prince would say he didn't actually smile at the thief who dared to rob a Tsar, and the thief was not even a woman—or, as it turns out, even human.
I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Aleksei doesn't smile, so his father, the Tsar, decrees that the person Aleksei finally smiles at will be Aleksei's bride. Then Nazar brazenly steals the Tsar's purse and Aleksei can't help smirking a little. Despite Nazar being male, the wedding is arranged immediately. Except, Nazar isn't just a man, he's also a rare firebird and any creature of fairie is to be hunted down and killed.
This story reads like an epic fantasy with plot that builds and builds with twists, turns, and amazing amounts of depth. Each scene is clearly carefully constructed to increase suspense and to add another layer of plot to the book as a whole. I thought it was extremely well written overall and it kept my interest all the way to the end of the book.
However, despite the plot being amazingly well written, I thought the story was lacking in description. For example, why Aleksei never smiled wasn't explained. It was completely glossed over when Nazar was introduced and only vaguely mentioned towards the end of the story as an add-on to an explanation of Aleksei's difficult childhood. Also, many different creatures of fairie are given names, but what they are in terms of magical powers or abilities is glossed over unless Aleksei or Nazar have to interact with one directly. To have a complete understanding of this story I needed those descriptions.
I really enjoyed reading this story. The plot was layered and had so much depth that it transported me to the world in the story. I could have used a touch more description to really understand the magic and the characters, but overall I do recommend this story.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.