Chaos & Flame (Chaos & Flame, #1)

Chaos & Flame (Chaos & Flame, #1)
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Release Date
March 28, 2023
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From New York Times bestselling author Justina Ireland and Tessa Gratton comes the first book in a ferocious YA fantasy duology featuring ancient magic, warring factions, and a romance between the two people in the world with the most cause to hate one another.

Darling Seabreak cannot remember anything before the murder of her family at the hands of House Dragon, but she knows she owes her life to both the power of her Chaos Boon and House Kraken for liberating her from the sewers where she spent her childhood. So when her adoptive Kraken father is captured in battle, Darling vows to save him—even if that means killing each and every last member of House Dragon.

Talon Goldhoard has always been a dutiful War Prince for House Dragon, bravely leading the elite troops of his brother, the High Prince Regent. But lately his brother’s erratic rule threatens to undo a hundred years of House Dragon’s hard work, and factions are turning to Talon to unseat him. Talon resists, until he’s ambushed by a fierce girl who looks exactly like the one his brother has painted obsessively, repeatedly, for years, and Talon knows she’s the key to everything.
Together, Darling and Talon must navigate the treacherous waters of House politics, caught up in the complicated game the High Prince Regent is playing against everyone. The unlikeliest of allies, they’ll have to stop fighting each other long enough to learn to fight together in order to survive the fiery prophecies and ancient blood magic threatening to devastate their entire world.

Editor review

1 review
great start but a bit slow and confusing
(Updated: April 23, 2023)
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CHAOS AND FLAME is an interesting YA fantasy. The book begins with the perspective of the heir of the House of the Dragon who has a gift from Chaos before switching into alternating points-of-view of Talon and Darling, belonging to opposing houses at war. They interact early on as Darling is on a mission and runs into Talon, and their interaction goes pretty poorly but starts them on a path of prophecy and destiny.

The prologue of the book absolutely had me hooked right away, and I was captivated by the story. Then, the book switches to Talon (the brother of the boy in the prologue) and Darling. The plot throws in a lot of characters that fill the pages and takes a long time for much to happen. I found myself a bit lost in the beginning of the actual story and had a hard time getting invested in the characters. Darling felt a bit one-dimensional, as someone with an ax to grind who is set on destruction, and the number of side characters was hard to keep track of and follow. These did get better over time, and the ending really picked things up, as a lot begins to happen.

While I overall liked the premise of the story and the warring houses, CHAOS AND FLAME ended up being a little slow and confusing for me to really get into, but I think it will definitely appeal to others who like an intriguing YA fantasy with a slow start and a large cast of characters.
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