I’m Reading Flamecaster

Hey everyone, just thought I’d share the book I’m reading with you right now. It’s the start of a new series, Shattered Realms, called Flamecaster. It’s the latest offering from Cinda Williams Chima, and not that this is the only reason I chose to write about this specific book, but she did sign my copy of it at a signing event just yesterday. Of course I have a picture. Look!

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Like I said, I didn’t just write this entry to show off my new best friend… I mean book… um… Look, though, she signed it with my name and everything in silver sharpie! Look at that kick-ass title page! Look!

Okay, sorry, I’ll calm down. I still get pretty geeked out when a writer I like signs a book for me . Chima has written two separate series before this one, both YA. I started reading them in high school and, especially with the novels in the Seven Realms, found myself utterly unable to stop, even now that I’m a senior in college and apparently only supposed to be reading mind-numbingly dense theory on stuff so abstract I’m not even sure I’m in an English class anymore.

Flamecaster takes place in the same world of the Seven Realms novels, a medieval fantasy land like set up, and it’s this incredible world that makes these books a good sell for anyone that enjoys good fantasy. Chima is perhaps one of the only people I’ve come across that have written what I might call Game of Thrones for teenagers and kids. No, it’s not a sex thing. I mean, you can tell, just by reading a chapter of one of the books in this world, that she put a lot of time and care into creating as fleshed out and realistically complex a world as possible. Yes, it has wizards and magic in it, but really you should consider a bonus the actual real world was too dumb to put in our own lives.

The people, too, are amazing. Their descriptions show how Chima carefully crafted them and the world they belong in. Not everyone is blandly describe as “pale, with green/blue/violet eyes” depending on how important they are. Not only that, but she made a choice I greatly admire in any novel, especially a period medieval one. Both males and females have prominent positions in things like the military of these nations, the wizard academy, etc. Sometimes they’re even simple background characters, but that small pronoun or name attached to a female soldier who died fighting off the Arden armies or marched around at Oden’s Ford just makes me feel good, like I don’t have to keep trying to see something, or someone, that isn’t there.

That’s not to say their aren’t some countries in these realms that are more restrictive towards women’s roles than others, but it’s a touch I would’ve loved to see when I was a wee one reading my first fairy tales and wondering why all the by knights get to do all the cool fighting and stuff. The choice at once brings more diversity into and texture into the world she’s created and pleases the part of me that only got into feminism so I could find chain mail and armor in my size and go off to slay, or even tame a dragon. I’m still looking into trying to get that done after graduate school.

But, right, back to the book. From what I’ve read of my brand new signed copy, (did I mention that I got it signed? Yeah, sorry, I’ll stop… silver sharpie!) It looks like another solid entry with a new cast of characters, and it mentions of at least some of the old characters from the previous books in this world. There’s action, intrigue, rebellion, everything you’d want in a YA book, or any book.

Chima also promised new stuff, like travelling and pirates in the series, some sailing the high seas and all that. I’m excited to see how she chooses to build up this already fascinating world in the stories to come, and definitely recommend people check it out. Reading the Seven Realms books first will add a nice background knowledge, but it definitely isn’t required to get into this exciting new and emerging series.

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