Featured Review: Divided Fire (Jennifer San Filippo)
About This Book:
In a rich fantasy world where Songs literally move heaven and earth, one sister must use magic and the other must rely on strength to reunite when pirates, greed, and war tear them away from each other.
Miren has never allowed jealousy of her sister’s magic keep her from taking care of Kesia, and Kesia has always depended on her big sister. When Kesia is kidnapped, Miren will do anything to get her back—even team up with her sister’s aristocratic and seemingly ineffectual boyfriend. Neither sister had ever left their small fishing village before, and now they are plunged into the wider world, minor players in a war between nations. Each sister faces external and internal perils, and each finds surprising allies and unexpected strengths. How will the two find each other again? And what will become of them if they don’t succeed?
*Review Contributed by Olivia Farr, Staff Reviewer*
DIVIDED FIRE is a beautiful YA fantasy about sisterhood and war. Miren and her sister Kesia live in their small town with a big secret. All the men and Singers have been drafted to the war - they lost their father and their Singer mother to it. Singers use their voices in song to control the world around them with one ability over an element (fire, water, earth, and air). This is typically used for the betterment of the town, but it has now been turned for war. When the soldiers went through the town, Kesia was ill with a disease known to take away a voice. They assumed she had lost her ability to Sing. However, Kesia did not - a secret only she and Miren know.
That secret blows up their world when pirates come and steal a young woman from their town. Kesia can't stand by, and she uses her fire singing to stop them. Instead, they take her, as the price for a Singer is even better, and a fire singer is the rarest ability. Miren tries to fight them, but she is unable to do so, and the sisters are separated. Miren has spent much of her life protecting Kesia, and she refuses to let this be the end. Together with the lord's son, they follow after Kesia, learning more about their country and the world than they could have anticipated. At the same time, Kesia is learning terrible truths about people and fighting to stay alive and get back to her sister. Following their journeys in alternating sections, the world building grows alongside discussions of morality, war, and human nature.
What I loved: This book was absolutely captivating. I loved the idea of magic and Singing as well as the ultimate power of sisterly love that encompasses their stories. As we travel with Miren and experience Kesia's paths, this unique world begins to come to life. I was really intrigued by these countries and people. This book was without romance, and I loved that the focus throughout was on the sisters and their love for each other. The plot also kept a nice and steady pace that carried the reader through the story relatively quickly.
The characters were all really well built. They had clear strengths and weaknesses, and I appreciated the imperfections. I liked not only the main characters, but also the side characters that we meet along the way. This is definitely a world I want to return to.
Final verdict: DIVIDED FIRE is a captivating and compelling YA fantasy abut sisterhood with fantastic world building and intricately crafted characters. Highly recommend for fans of CROWN OF CORAL AND PEARL and SISTERS OF SHADOW AND LIGHT.
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