Callie Bates’s debut novel, The Waking Land, announced the arrival of a brilliant new talent in epic fantasy. Now, with The Memory of Fire, Bates expertly deepens her tale, spinning glittering threads of magic and intrigue into a vibrant tapestry of adventure, betrayal, mystery, and romance.
Thanks to the magic of Elanna Valtai and the Paladisan noble Jahan Korakides, the lands once controlled by the empire of Paladis have won their independence. But as Elanna exhausts her powers restoring the ravaged land, news that the emperor is readying an invasion spurs Jahan on a desperate mission to establish peace.
Going back to Paladis proves to be anything but peaceful, however. As magic is a crime in the empire, punishable by death, Jahan must hide his abilities. Nonetheless, the grand inquisitor’s hunters suspect him of sorcery, and mysterious, urgent messages from the witch who secretly trained Jahan only increase his danger of exposure. Worst of all, the crown prince has turned his back on Jahan, robbing him of the royal protection he once enjoyed.
As word of Jahan’s return spreads, long-sheathed knives, sharp and deadly, are drawn again. And when Elanna, stripped of her magic, is brought to the capital in chains, Jahan must face down the traumas of his past to defeat the shadowy enemies threatening his true love’s life, and the future of the revolution itself.
Don’t miss any of Callie Bates’s magical Waking Land trilogy:
THE WAKING LAND • THE MEMORY OF FIRE • THE SOUL OF POWER
Praise for The Memory of Fire
“Gripping . . . [this] vivid first-person, present-tense narrative [creates] a remarkably mature, balanced addition to the story that avoids the most common flaws of middle books and will leave readers hungry for the conclusion.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“[Callie] Bates does an excellent job of delving into Jahan’s past and showing his growth. . . . The relatable characters and riveting adventure make this fantasy world very accessible for all.”—Booklist
“The Memory of Fire is a beautiful expansion of a promising story that delivers something rich and captivating. . . . Putting it down is likely to be the biggest challenge readers will encounter.”—Books, Vertigo & Tea
Gripping in its own right, this second volume of the trilogy that began with The Waking Land races along with a new main character, Jahan Korakides, lover of previous protagonist Elanna Valtai. In the first volume, Elanna was slowly forced to become aware of her magical power over the land. In contrast, Jahan is familiar with his abilities but has been taught to distrust them by the sorceress Madiya, who has manipulated him and his brothers. Returning to the court of Emperor Alakaseus Saranon, Jahan must take decisive actions despite his constant, nagging sense of inadequacy. He needs to avoid brutal witchfinders, try to avert a war between Elanna's country and his homeland, and survive magical attacks and deadly palace intrigue. His vivid first-person, present-tense narrative shows him strained to the limits of superhuman endurance but also discovering unexpected magical resources in the world around him and moral resources in himself, learning that he would rather use his developing powers to heal than kill. This is a remarkably mature, balanced addition to the story that avoids the most common flaws of middle books and will leave readers hungry for the conclusion.
Excellent follow up - can’t wati for more!
Last year I read and fell in love with The Waking Lands. When I learned there was a sequel coming (and a third book next year! SCORE!) I HAD to get my hands on it.
The Waking Lands was told from El’s POV and we were introduced to Jahan, who I quickly fell in love with. (He has a bit of an Adrian Ivashkov thing going on, if you’ve read the Vampire Academy and/or Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead you know what I’m talking about. Totally swoon-worth!)
So quick recap – this is a fantasy series in which magic is a crime and anyone caught practicing is sentenced to a fate worse than death. The magic of the land was awakened in the first book (get it? The Waking Land?). That’s basically what you need to know.
The Memory of Fire is Jahan’s story and picks up after the events of The Waking Lands. We learn so much about his past, especially his childhood. His memories were tampered with by the witch who trained him (against his will) and all he knows is that he has to get his brothers away from her. But when he returns to his adopted homeland in an attempt to act as emissary or ambassador on behalf of El’s land, nothing goes as he expects it to. Due to his alliance with El, he is no longer welcome in his former home. Now he must try to make peace between the two countries and keep himself alive.
I absolutely loved the characters and the entire storyline in this series. I plan to get a copy of the books in print for a permanent home on my shelf. Highly recommended for fans of fantasy! (Bonus: This series has GORGEOUS covers!)
Great Second Avoids Most Series Pitfalls.
The Memory of Fire follows directly on the heels of The Waking Land. When the first book in this exciting fantasy ended, the newly freed people of Eren feared the great empire of Paladis would retaliate and sure enough, they are preparing to send their Black Ships to pacify the rebellion and drive magic back out of the land. Jahan is from their, a friend of the Crown Prince, and decides to return as a diplomatic envoy in order to negotiate peace in hopes of avoiding a war.
He has a private mission as well, rescuing his youngest brother from Madiya, the cruel tutor who taught him magic at the cost of many of his memories. He thinks something is amiss with his middle brother as well. However, returning home is a disappointment. His middle brother has fled the military academy and is missing and his youngest brother seems terribly wounded even though Madiya has left.
His return to the court is unsuccessful, the Crown Prince has no time for him and everyone is against him except some rebel friends and his aunt. He is suspected of being a sorcerer, a crime which could lead to life in prison or death. It’s really a mess and to top it all off, there’s an incipient rebellion seeking his leadership, strange allies within the Court that may have ulterior motives, and so much inner conflict, he is half-paralyzed by indecision.
As a second in a series, The Memory of Fire avoids the usual trap of retelling too much of the first book. Bates trusts readers to remember, and if they forget, to just accept the world as it comes along. The liberation of Eren is not reprised. There’s far too much to accomplish in Paradis. It’s fast-paced and exciting. The duplicitous characters are presented with the complexity that means their duplicity is suspected and not out of the blue.
I was frustrated by Jahan at times. He was needlessly indecisive and inconsistent. Clearly, he has great magic but fails to use it to its best effect thanks to bad self-talk. That was the problem with Elanna as well. I hope whoever is the focus in Book Three will not be someone whose paralyzed by doubt. That’s a bit unfair to Jahan, he did not have time to be paralyzed, but he was as much driven by events as driving them. He was acted upon more than taking action on his own unless in extremis.
An interesting complication is Jahan’s particular magic. It consists of reminding materials of their other states. For example, reminding a fire what it was when it was out or vice versa. It is also the antithesis of Elanna’s power and I wonder if that might lead to problems down the road as his power drains life and hers wakes life. There is more than a hint that his power offends her which would be a great development in Book Three, figuring out how his power can function without damage. There are power sources he can employ in Paradis, but what about if and when they return to Eren?
I am eager to read the next in the series. I already have questions and expectations, which goes to show what a successful series Bates has written.
I received a copy of The Memory of Fire from the publisher through NetGalley