Publishers Lunch 2019 Buzz Books selection. Recommended by Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. Winner of the 2020 (Canadian SF&F) Aurora Award.
Bursts of Fire begins an epic political fantasy of revenge, addictions, and redemption in an empire where magic has become suspect and where love and loyalty—for one's lover, one's family, one's country—are tested. If Heaven desires the very earth be burned, what place can those below hope for, when the flames come for them?
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 destroy the Prayer Stones shatters their family, the three girls are scattered to the wilderness, relying on their wits and powers they don't yet master.
Assassin. Battle tactician. Magic wielder. Driven by different ambitions, Meg, Janat, and Rennika are destined to become all these and more. To reclaim their birth right, they must overcome doubtful loyalties within a rising rebellion; more, they must challenge a dogma-driven chancellor's influence on the prince raised to inherit his father's war: a prince struggling to unravel the mystery of his brother's addiction to Heaven.
Praise for Bursts of Fire
Publishers Lunch Buzz Books 2019 selection
"An emotional story of familial love, tension, and mistrust among three sisters and three brothers. Readers who relish adventure mingled with a message will be engrossed in the plights of the two sets of siblings."—Publishers Weekly
"Forest depicts strong female characters, with varying motivations and personalities adding plenty of action in daring raids, battles with war machines, and magical time walking, though equal attention is given to exploring relationships between the sisters and their allies. This exciting new series will have fantasy fans eagerly awaiting the next installment."—Library Journal
"The first book in the Addicted to Heaven series promises an exciting political fantasy with realistic representation of mental illness and addiction and is sure to entertain fans of epic adventures."—Booklist
"Themes of religious and democratic freedoms; magic-based time travel's addictive, almost hallucinogenic, qualities . . . readers can hope for more in future installments."—Kirkus Reviews
Forest eases into her seven-book Addicted to Heaven Saga with an emotional story of familial love, tension, and mistrust among three sisters and three brothers in Shangril, a land of seven kingdoms devastated by conquest and fanaticism. Three teenage sisters sensible elder Meg, spoiled Janat, and fearless little Rennika live in peace in Orumon with their mother, Talanda Falkyn, a powerful magiel (magician). Talanda controls the Amber prayer stone used to petition Heaven and the Many Gods. Troubles begin when King Artem Declan invades Orumon and the other kingdoms in a vicious holy war. Guided by the ruthless evangelical magiel Wenid, Artem outlaws worship of the Many Gods in favor of the One God and imprisons or kills all other magiel. The Falkyn sisters escape Orumon and encounter the revolutionary peasant Sulwyn Cordal, who brings hope to stopping Artem's advance. Meanwhile, Artem's three sons confront the war differently: illegitimate Uther is loyal to the cause, teenage prince Huwen is reluctant, and young Eamon, who has a tragic past, is suicidal. Emphasizing characters and lessons of tolerance, Forest employs the fantasy world as an allegory to address issues of religious intolerance, immigration, xenophobia, refugees, and mental illness; this gives the novel a timely feel, but allows the plot to drag. Readers who relish adventure mingled with a message will be engrossed in the plights of the two sets of siblings.