Bursts of Fire

Bursts of Fire

To survive. To fight. To restore balance.The Falkyn sisters bear a burden and a legacy. Their mother, the imperial magiel of the kingdom of Orumon, protects her people from the horrors of the afterlife by calling upon the Gods with a precious Prayer Stone. But war among the kingdoms has brought fire and destruction to their sheltered world. When a mad king's desire to dest...

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Title:Bursts of Fire
Author:Susan Forest
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Bursts of Fire Reviews

  • K.S. Marsden

    It's a terrible thing, to see no future; but a powerful magiel has to protect her daughters.

    The three Falkyn magiel sisters, have to embrace their fate, to survive a mad king.

    I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

    After their mother is disturbed that no magiel has seen a future beyond the year, a sign that their peaceful existence will be destroyed: she sets about planning the escape of her three daughters. They will become powerful magiels, and allies to kings an

    It's a terrible thing, to see no future; but a powerful magiel has to protect her daughters.

    The three Falkyn magiel sisters, have to embrace their fate, to survive a mad king.

    I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

    After their mother is disturbed that no magiel has seen a future beyond the year, a sign that their peaceful existence will be destroyed: she sets about planning the escape of her three daughters. They will become powerful magiels, and allies to kings and gods, if only they have the strength to survive.

    I confess, when the book started, I was a little put off by the young, squabbling siblings. Meg and Janat are teenagers, and Rennika even younger. All they have ever known is a life of comfort, in the courts of kings. When their home is attacked and they have to escape, they are ill-suited to living rough, and take it out on each other.

    This is only for the first couple of chapters, and things soon started to pick up. Sulwyn enters their lives, as their mother designed, and through him the girls become aware of the rebel force, gathering to oppose the king. At first, the girls are only concerned with survival; and the men in their lives see them as liabilities, mere girls that need protection. But slowly, they find their own drive and voices.

    The world that Forest has created is brilliant. Different kingdoms, all ruled in a peaceful co-existence for generations.

    Until an ambition king, and even more ambition magiel, conspire to break every pact and promise.

    Each king has a royal magiel - someone of the highest magiel bloodline, that can access prayer stones. Their duty is to use these prayer stones to access Heaven, bring prayers to the gods, and to bring death tokens back for the people (people have to put death tokens in their mouths before they die, so their souls can go to Heaven, otherwise they are cursed to roam the land as fading ghosts).

    King Artem goes against every code, when he decides that every stone should be destroyed, and only his Ruby stone preserved, forcing everybody to give up their religion and worship the One God.

    Gods and the freedom to worship your own religion is at the background of this book, and drives the story, but it's done naturally and weaves subtly with the rest of the plot.

    The book follows the men and women that are standing up to fight for their freedom, because you can't sit and wait for a higher power to save you.

    This ended up being an intense and enjoyable epic fantasy, and I can't wait to see where the rest of the series leads.

  • Max

    Where do I begin? This was a very good fantasy book. But besides fantasy - there was more. It was also about mental health and other problems. The characters were good, very believable. I always love stories about great sister power! Also some characters put a lot of faith in religion, and I always find that fascinating.

    The book started off slow for me - it's an epic fantasy where a lot of the world the story takes place in needs to be established. I was never thinking about DNF, but it wasn't

    Where do I begin? This was a very good fantasy book. But besides fantasy - there was more. It was also about mental health and other problems. The characters were good, very believable. I always love stories about great sister power! Also some characters put a lot of faith in religion, and I always find that fascinating.

    The book started off slow for me - it's an epic fantasy where a lot of the world the story takes place in needs to be established. I was never thinking about DNF, but it wasn't sucked in from the start like with some books. I think the magic system could have been explained more and better. The second half was way more flowing for me. I loved the sister's individual struggles and how they got together in the end. There was some love and romance, but just a tiny bit, not too much.

    So in short: loved the story, I hope there's a sequel. Check it out if you like epic fantasy.

    Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC to read. Opinions are my own!

  • Judi S.

    The book started out slowly, causing me to rethink reading it several times. Thank goodness I continued. and gave it a real chance!

    The storyline is complex, which may be what made it slow going in the beginning. It was necessary to pay very close attention at all times to keep track of all the characters, all the timelines and all the various magics used. Not to mention the gods. However, once those thing fell into place the story became very engaging.

    Watching these 3 girls, Meg, Janat and Renn

    The book started out slowly, causing me to rethink reading it several times. Thank goodness I continued. and gave it a real chance!

    The storyline is complex, which may be what made it slow going in the beginning. It was necessary to pay very close attention at all times to keep track of all the characters, all the timelines and all the various magics used. Not to mention the gods. However, once those thing fell into place the story became very engaging.

    Watching these 3 girls, Meg, Janat and Rennika, go from young, rather pampered royalty with magical gifts, their class referred to as magiel, to refugees from a war they didn't understand yet had to either avoid or become involved in was an interesting experience. Because this is fantasy, and not real world events, we can watch, feel, and engage with these girls without comparing their lives with our own, real lives. Yet, we find the author takes her fantasy tale and imbues it with real life problems such as addiction, depression, mental disorders, emotional growth and religious quandaries. She has cleverly interwoven these disturbing issues that plague people of all walks of life in the real world with her fictional characters; issues inflicted upon royals, peasants, the wealthy the poverty stricken, the young, the old and the religious alike just as they are in the actual world. These seem to be issues she takes very seriously and is very involved in when not writing or editing so it isn't surprising that she was able to craft so believable a novel surrounding such devastating problems.

    With all that being said, the storyline is a well written fantasy about these girls, their trials and tribulations growing up in what becomes a war torn world surrounded by people they fear they can't trust due to their physical manifestations of their magiel status. There is the angst of young girls being torn from all they know, from their mother, their homes and their privileged way of life, and there is the growth that comes from living in constant fear and strife not knowing who to trust. There, of course, is young love, jealousy between sisters when both want the same man, and rebellion of the youngest when the dislike of being treated as a child comes to the fore. But there is also the abiding love that sisters feel for each other when tragedy strikes and they find all they have is each other.

    Through war, fear, loss and uncertainty we are shown the growth of these girls as well as the tearing apart of their world. Knowing there is still more to come just makes it that much more engaging. So, yes, I am very glad I got past the beginning and continued reading.

    Very well done, Susan Forest! Looking forward to the continuation of Addicted to Heaven.

    This book was given to me as an ARC with the understanding that I would provide a true and unbiased review.

  • Janet

    This book started slow for me but it's an epic fantasy where a lot of the world they story takes place needs to be established. I think the magic system could have been explained better but it didn't suck from the start. There was more, it had mental health and the characters were good, very believable. I always love stories with great sister power! I enjoyed the story and hope there's a sequel.

    Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an eARC to read!

  • Marta Cox

    This turned out to be an amazing story in spite of hot mess at the beginning. Yes that's right I thought that initially the writing was terribly fractured as it jumped about giving multiple points of view which meant I had to read sentences again to work out which character the author or her editor had jumped to. Thankfully I persevered and got well and truly sucked into this amazing world although it didn't quite end the way I'd thought.

    Essentially we have a society that worship several Gods an

    This turned out to be an amazing story in spite of hot mess at the beginning. Yes that's right I thought that initially the writing was terribly fractured as it jumped about giving multiple points of view which meant I had to read sentences again to work out which character the author or her editor had jumped to. Thankfully I persevered and got well and truly sucked into this amazing world although it didn't quite end the way I'd thought.

    Essentially we have a society that worship several Gods and also a small faction who want to worship just the one God. In order to go to heaven when you die a person of royal blood and a Magiel ( someone who can perform magic and also travel in time ) must journey to heaven and appeal for tokens enabling the wearer to pass on into heaven and not remain a ghost.

    We meet three sisters who are charged with the task of meeting up at a certain point in time in order to change cataclysmic events. What I found ironic was that the author also introduces three brothers whose lives impact on the girls although I hasten to add that essentially it's the sisters who rightly dominate this story. My favourite character was without a doubt Meg as she's brave and resourceful. Plus there's sibling rivalry although these girls are very young and their innocence and naivety all plays a part.

    It's a brutal war fought out on these pages and all because of something that isn't explained until the end. Sadly the one person behind all the atrocities doesn't really appear much until the final few chapters. However it's left in such a way that I'm left wondering if just perhaps Meg and a certain brother will become entwined. Yes I admit I'm a hopeless romantic and this fantasy with its unique take on time travel has left me wanting more.

    This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair

  • keikii Eats Books

    61 points, 3 stars.

    Warning: depictions of self-harm, suicide attempts

    Quote:

    Bursts of Fire showed a lot of promise from a rather new author. I read the description for the book and it stayed with me for days before I finally gave in and

    61 points, 3 ¼ stars.

    Warning: depictions of self-harm, suicide attempts

    Quote:

    Bursts of Fire showed a lot of promise from a rather new author. I read the description for the book and it stayed with me for days before I finally gave in and requested the ARC. I'm glad I did, and I'm looking for more from the next book in this series. Susan Forest just has so much potential to become great. Potential because I can see what she is doing, but the execution is just very.. young. There are a lot of mistakes that I see new authors make, that get stamped out over time. I'm looking forward to a lot from Susan Forest, because these are correctable problems within a series that interests me so much. Some of my favourite series started out this exact same way.

    What caught my attention for Bursts of Fire original was the entire concept of the book. The whole idea of Heaven being a place where the kings and their magiels (religious magicians) go to is completely fascinating. Especially because it is to give their citizens an afterlife. Then, one king goes insane and ends up murdering all the other kings, and taking over their kingdoms? Holy shit, right?

    There is so much more to it than that. No one knows why the insane king is doing what he is doing. No one knows why he is doing worse things than taking them over. He wants to take away their access to an afterlife. He is destroying their religion! Some of this is answered in the book, but there are just so many questions left! I'm certain they'll be answered in further books, and the sequels are that much more interesting to me because of it.

    I also really like the problems all the kids have in the book. And there were a lot of kids, because this is primarily a young adult book. Which I did 

    get just from the description. Was a bit blindsided by this fact, even. I was expecting late teens/early twenties for the primary character, and a bit younger for the other two siblings. Even though they were teenagers instead, they acted so much younger, and with some reason. One minute, they were one step away from being princesses, the next they're in the wilderness, hunted by an enemy army, and just trying to survive. I liked it, to a point.

    Meg is the oldest sibling at 16, going on 12. She is the one responsible for the other siblings, trying to keep them together, but not very good at it. And she acts so much younger than she is. She is supposed to be the most responsible of them all, but she just has never had to be responsible before now. And I really didn't care for her much. It isn't her fault, really. I just didn't care for her much.

    Then there is her sister Janat who is 15 going on 8, who got slapped part-way through the book because of her dumbass actions, and thank everything. It made the book way more enjoyable because she stopped acting like a spoilt brat after it happened. Janat just wants to be treated like the near-princess she actually is, and she won't let reality get in the way of this fact. I have to emphasise this slap, because it was probably my favourite part of the whole book. I also hated Janat's "romance" with the 22 year old random man who acted 17 years old. Just... save me from teenage love, especially from teenagers who just want to be safe.

    Lastly there is Rennika, who is 12 going on 5. She is the baby of the trio, always protected and coddled. She is also the most powerful of them all, and has to go through a lot of bullshit to convince her sisters of this fact. Rennika is also my favourite of them all. She goes through the most growth. She understands what their situation is the most. She is just the best of them.

    These three siblings squabble and bicker 

    through the book. And it gets them into trouble more than once. Especially since one sibling will "get a good idea" and tell their siblings. They all disagree. The sibling that got the brilliant idea will go and do it anyway. Then, surprise! Not so brilliant!

    We also get a few scenes from the enemy camp. With a boy who tries to kill himself. With his brother who just wants to please his father, the king who is taking over everyone else. From the enemy magiel who has some heinous plans. These were all much more interesting than the sisters, but also very disconnected from the rest of the story, especially in the beginning. It contributed to my flow problems with the entire book.

    The biggest problem I had, though, was that the author forgot we didn't live in her head, The part of this problem that caused the most trouble with me is that Forest rarely explained key parts of the story and the world adequately. Then, there were really random bits of things that made absolutely no sense whatsoever thrown in wherever the author wanted them to be, yet utterly not connected to anything in the long run. Also, there were interesting side bits that appeared connected to the main story that were just tossed away, even when they were still useful.

    The only reason I understood parts of this entire story were because I could fill in the blanks through lots of past experiences with the genre. The book played around with time, and it did some wonky things. Time skipped this way and that (more on this later). The narration had the same problem, with multiple characters getting introduced for brief moments then switching to another person.

    Another problem I had with Bursts of Fire is that the magic system is almost unforgivably ill-laid out. At first, I understood that it was because the author wanted the reader to warm up to what was going on with magic slowly. The young characters didn't really understand what they were going through either, so why should the reader? But in the end, it goes back to what I have already said. The author just doesn't give enough details about anything. Even when the young characters started to understand, they didn't tell us readers. The magic system is a confusing array of the girls know enough to some things, but don't know enough to do anything effective. Until they do know enough, which is never shown, only told. And then we just have to contend with them getting into more trouble because they know some things now, but not enough experience to keep them out of trouble.

    Even worse is that the author deliberately set up the magic system so that whenever the girls use any magic, they are able to see into bits of the future or the past. Yet, this is never once used throughout Bursts of Fire. I'll explain: the little girls saw bits and pieces, but nothing was ever learned or accomplished by them seeing these bits. Their mother was trying the whole book to get them to understand and do something, but it never worked. There was only one thing that they ever learned anything at all through it, the entire time, despite their mother actively trying to make them learn. And what they did learn never actually happened - at least at the time their mom said it would. This system is a nightmare, but it has a 

    of potential. I just didn't actually get to see any of it yet. Unfortunately.

    I honestly believe that within a few books, the author will figure out how to do all the problems I have laid out, as she gets better at writing. This was a rough start to a series. I firmly believe that the book should have been twice the length it actually is, just to truly explain and lay out what is going on within the words already established. It just needed more detail!

    I received this as an arc quite a few months before release. A lot of the problems may be because the arc was released before it was ready. In which case I would feel really bad. Yet, I don't think that is the case, because the problems I had with the book would require massive rewrites. And, if it isn't the case, then I hope that, as I said before, Susan Forest continues to grow as an author even as she has already done throughout the course of just this book alone. This is an interesting story, just young in execution.

  • Calvin Park

    is an intriguing YA Fantasy read. In her debut novel Susan Forest tackles a number of important issues: addiction, self-harm, fear of change, abandonment, religious oppression. Each of these is dealt with in the larger context of war and who to trust. It’s a coming-of-age story that doesn’t pull any punches.

    One of the things I really appreciated about Forest’s novel is the way it deals with some hard issues. This is not literary fantasy by any means, but it is guided by certain t

    is an intriguing YA Fantasy read. In her debut novel Susan Forest tackles a number of important issues: addiction, self-harm, fear of change, abandonment, religious oppression. Each of these is dealt with in the larger context of war and who to trust. It’s a coming-of-age story that doesn’t pull any punches.

    One of the things I really appreciated about Forest’s novel is the way it deals with some hard issues. This is not literary fantasy by any means, but it is guided by certain themes and topics. These work together to engage the reader and make the characters feel authentic. If anything, there were a couple times when I think the sheer number of issues Forest tackles meant that not as much time could be given to any one individual issue. Regardless, all of these are set within a fascinating and complex world. There are six kingdoms who have lived at peace for generations. Each kingdom has a line of kings and a line of magiel. The magiel use special prayer stones to enter the heavens with their respective king and retrieve death tokens for their citizens. When someone dies, their death token is placed in their mouth and this allows them to pass peacefully to the afterlife. Failing to have a death token means the person would be cursed to wander the world as a ghost. King Artem and his magiel aren’t content with this situation, however, and bring war upon the land. The religious system is unique and interesting and I love the relationship and interplay between the magic and religion. Speaking of the magic in this world, there are essentially two types. Worldling magic, which involves spellbooks and ingredients, and Magiel magic—which allows a magiel to bend time, bringing an old bush back to life, for instance. I found myself captivated by the complexities that this system introduced.

    There were several things that didn’t work well for me, however. First and foremost among these was that I simply didn’t connect with any of the characters. Our main characters are three magiel sisters and Huwen, the son of King Artem. I found all of them to be more annoying than anything else, though toward the second half of the novel Meg did begin to grow on me, and to a lesser extent, so did Janat. This was not helped by the fact that the pacing was fairly slow for the first two thirds of the novel. By the time the end game kicked in things were moving along at a good clip, but it felt like there was quite a bit of setup, and this was particularly true in the first third of the novel. In addition to not connecting with the characters and finding the pacing slow, there were a couple plot holes in the novel. One of these relates to how King Artem was able to rapidly conquer five other kingdoms without them becoming aware that any of the others had been conquered until he showed up on their doorstep. To me, this was never explained satisfactorily and significantly impacted my engagement with and enjoyment of the novel.

    A unique magic system and excellent world building make for a promising read. Unfortunately, the characters didn’t work for me and slow pacing and plot holes kept the novel from living up to the promise of the setting.

    5.0/10

    2.5/5 stars.

    5 – I loved this, couldn’t put it down, move it to the top of your TBR pile

    4 – I really enjoyed this, add it to the TBR pile

    3 – It was ok, depending on your preferences it may be worth your time

    2 – I didn’t like this book, it has significant flaws and I can’t recommend it

    1 – I loathe this book with a most loathsome loathing

  • Dianne

    Their legacy was stolen from them, and now they must steal it back, but first they must learn to control the magic given to them in order to protect the Prayer Stone from destruction.

    by Susan Forest begins a journey into the world of epic fantasy and brutal wars waged in the name of convictions, beliefs and power. Everyone has a role to play as the battle lines are drawn, can the three sisters restore balance to the world they live in? What will it take to bring peace when ideolog

    Their legacy was stolen from them, and now they must steal it back, but first they must learn to control the magic given to them in order to protect the Prayer Stone from destruction.

    by Susan Forest begins a journey into the world of epic fantasy and brutal wars waged in the name of convictions, beliefs and power. Everyone has a role to play as the battle lines are drawn, can the three sisters restore balance to the world they live in? What will it take to bring peace when ideologies clash? Who carries the truth in their soul?

    After a pretty chaotic and choppy start, this tale settles into a story of love, hate, religious beliefs, loyalty and so much more that at times I felt I needed to back up to verify what I had read. Three sisters are ill-prepared to face their destinies, are feared and do not truly come into any type of defined characters until over halfway through this tale. I am not actually sure I could believe in them.

    That said, the scenic descriptions and world building are powerful and easily imagined. The concept of bending time was intriguing, but needed more development and be less dependent on the reader’s ability to mentally define what was happening and why

    .

    Certainly some good writing went into this one and Susan Forest has a delightful imagination promises to grow with each book she writes!

    I received a complimentary ARC edition from Laksa media Groups! This is my honest and voluntary review.

    Series: Addicted to Heaven - Book 1

    Publisher: Laksa Media Groups Inc. (August 6, 2019)

    Publication Date: August 6, 2019

    Genre: YA Fantasy

    Print Length: 548 pages

    Available from:

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  • Marzie

    is the first book in a new trilogy,

    and it would seem to have many elements I love in fantasy, in particular a strong bond between three sisters facing steep odds. However it also suffered from poor pacing, and what felt like an oddly developed plot. The Falkyn sisters, Meg, Janat, and Rennika are daughters of the imperial mage, or magiel, of Orumon, Talanda, and yet though their mother is a seer who sees a dark future or lack thereof ahead, she seems to do noth

    is the first book in a new trilogy,

    and it would seem to have many elements I love in fantasy, in particular a strong bond between three sisters facing steep odds. However it also suffered from poor pacing, and what felt like an oddly developed plot. The Falkyn sisters, Meg, Janat, and Rennika are daughters of the imperial mage, or magiel, of Orumon, Talanda, and yet though their mother is a seer who sees a dark future or lack thereof ahead, she seems to do nothing to prepare her daughters with skillsets to deal more easily with what lies ahead, which seems to involve the worldings committing genocide. Seventeen-year-old Meg faces the daunting task of keeping her sisters safe, in a world where they cannot easily hide due to the "wavering" luster of their skin, revealing their magiel heritage. I found the world-building in the story to be frustrating due to a magic system that seemed overly elaborate. There are prayer stones of different precious and semiprecious stones, spells, and magiel abilities, which also appear to include traveling on different time lines. While I enjoyed relationship between the three sisters at times, I often felt the writing, particularly in the first half of the book, was somewhat choppy even though the pacing of the story itself seemed quite slow.

    might interest older middle graders or high school students patient enough to get through the first half of the book. The politics and faith elements of the story will eventually engage the reader and could be thought-provoking. But it will take some effort to get there.

  • Lauren Stoolfire

    DNF @ 20%

    The concept of this YA fantasy sounded so promising. Unfortunately, it just wasn't for me. I was honestly bored out of my mind. A big part is that I couldn't get interested in any of the characters and the slow pace.

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