A dying world. A broken mage. An oppressed people. The sparks of a rebellion. The world of Takaara is about to change but are the people ready for it?
A young, nomadic mage, Arden Leifhand, journeys across the harsh Borderlands searching for his place is the world. Taken in by a tribe of warriors, Arden discovers there may be more to him than the bullied outcast he had always thought he was.
Meanwhile, south of the Borderlands, Katerina Kane is thrust back into her old life of solving crime in Archania as she searches for the murderer of her lover. Archania has changed since she last worked a case and The Empire of Light is tightening its grip on the land. Through it all, rebellion is stirring with the downtrodden citizens as the land teeters on the edge of war.
This review contains spoilers.
The Flames of Rebellion is a stunning masterpiece for this debut fantasy novel. I am clearly impressed, happy, and was so engrossed in what this story evolved into. The realm of Archania is in chaos, with a desperate King trying to escape from his duties of governing the once-prosperous realm, and a Priest of the Light, Mason D’Argo that is taking over Archania to absorb it into his sister’s empire. One would think that this is the entire story. Oh no, it isn’t, it’s not that. Is it the fact that Arden, a mage raised in the Borderlands has a journey of his own to discover, to discover the shocking secrets that will engulf the realm of all the world? Is it Kate Katerina, who witnesses the fall of great leaders and unceremoniously welcomes the rise of incompetent leaders like Prince Asher? There are so many story threads into this novel, that there might be multiple viewpoints included. Why do I say this? Because each character arc once you are invested into it becomes like a story on fire.
This story is an epic recording of a saga, where the once stable world of Archania threatens to engulf itself in flames. Divisions between people who use magic and those who don’t are encouraged by Mason D’Argo to be hunted down. Rebellions brew. Our characters in this story really shouldn’t be considered one or the other, all are the main characters. This feels like a grand theatre play, where the characters suffer love and loss at the same time. This world is grim-dark, that there is no doubt. But what I am so happy that Aaron has done is to provide a glimpse of hope. Just when you think that it’s all over, this world will shock you. The way characters regain their redemption arc will astound you. There are so many favorite characters in this story that I loved. I loved every moment, every second, and I was engrossed for every minute.
That said, some constructive criticism is needed that I think would have helped improve certain parts. For example, just when the story is moving, we often get abrupt movements between the story arc. I was enjoying a story arc only to then move to another story arc. A smoother transition would have helped. I would have wanted more characters like Cypher to get their lives to become difficult because he is true, one of the worst characters to ever exist. His entire existence is built for that, of those that should never be present. Once you read it, you’ll understand what I mean. I felt he got too much of an easy ride throughout the journey. Mason D’Argo I believe should have had more of a feature in this story, because he was running the Kingdom at this time. I also think the start of the story was slow-paced, and there were abrupt moments of showing vs telling, which then contrasted with some under-developed parts in my opinion. Nevertheless, these are minor issues.
Overall, I felt this novel was a really fantastic find. I am so impressed with this, I want to read book 2 already. I had a smile on my face when the story ended and doing that, you know something? The moment you write a novel and you have a reader that’s smiling at the end, you know you’ve done your work. You, sir, have done a tremendous job. I felt for each and every character, I loved every moment of this, and this could so easily be a video game-like Pillars of Eternity, a Netflix TV show and so much more. I love it! I really enjoyed this, and thank you so much!