I don’t intend to start every review with a warning but, this seems to be how life goes. So, my warning here is I have not read a Young Adult book in about 16 years. When I say I started this book and three pages into it, I’m all WTF, it’s my fault, not the book’s fault. It took a great deal of reprogramming to make my brain adjust to simpler words and shorter sentences but it got there. I also may have injured something so you guys owe me.
Flame of Surrender, by Rhiannon Paille is a good fantasy story about two young people in love when destiny conspires to keep them apart. It is also a tale familiar to anyone who has had to grow up and just didn’t want to. It’s not star crossed love that weighs the heaviest on Kaliel and Krishani, it is their coming of age, the weight of their responsibilities smothering their innocence before the bad stuff even starts.
Kaliel is a living weapon called a “flame” and she falls for a boy named Krishani, whose destiny is to follow deal and replace the Ferryman. While their world is rich and well built, the romance isn’t quite there in the beginning, the kids focusing on where their destinies are taking them rather than each other.
The fantasy elements are all here; magic, soothsaying trees, everything to keep my internal geek happy while I was reading. But only while I was reading. If I put the book down, I forgot about the characters. I found myself needing to refresh my memory by going back to the previous sections to remember who was who. The timing is off, too. I was often lost between chapters; not knowing how much time had passed. The romance is also forgettable. I literally forgot the two main characters were in love until the author told me they were. The story jerks forward in some places and drags in others, making the reading experience surreal. It’s a good story, but it needed more to really grip my attention even after I put it down.
If I had a rating system (I’ll come up with something) this book would be firmly in the middle. Not bad but not the best I’ve read. If you're a hardcore fantasy fan, I'd say borrow this one if you're really interested in it.