While Steeplejack had plenty of action, political intrigue, and mystery, Firebrand turns everything up by approximately 5 notches. Though this is an alternate history set in South Africa, it’s impossible to miss the parallels Hartley makes with contemporary world politics (and brilliantly so). This series is from Ang’s perspective, but I love how we see so many unique secondary characters ranging from inspectors to parliament members to governesses and more. Firebrand has one of the most complex and relevant settings I’ve read, and with each page, you’ll find yourself sinking deeper and deeper into the mystery plot.
As this is a series, Ang’s character arc was less arc-like and more building. She’s in a strange place, no longer welcome in a place she used to dwell, no longer part of the steeplejacks, but not part of any other class either. She finds herself facing tougher challenges, ones that make her question exactly who she is at heart. I can’t wait for the next book to see how her character develops more.
Told with a clear voice, emotional intensity, and heart-racing political plots that reveal the best and worst of humanity, FIREBRAND is an unforgettable installment in a mystery series that is sure to capture hearts.
Review also post at The Forest of Words and Pages: http://www.forestofwordsandpages.com/2017/06/blog-tour-firebrand-j-hartley-giveaway/