ARC Review: Sea and Flame, by Tallie Rose

I picked up this book from Netgalley because… honestly the cover was very cute?? I wanted to know what it was about!

The Story

Seraphina grew up listening to the stories she’d heard of the Brethren, who had saved the world from the faerie magic that had almost ripped the land apart a thousand years ago. These were just myths and stories told to children, though, or so she thought. The stories become true when her own magic starts to backfire on her, revealing that she is one of the Brethren’s descendants.

Her newfound abilities draw the attention of Casmyn, a fae that swears he’s desperately been searching for someone like her. The pact keeping the world safe has been broken by the fae lord Nilas, and only Seraphina can open the path to the Land of Faerie and stop Nilas from succeeding.

Yet to open the path to the Land of Faerie means no one will be able to return to the Land ever again, and though the fate of two lands rests on her shoulders, she can’t help herself from thinking about Casmyn’s infuriating best friend Shevard.

The Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I really quite liked this story, it started slow but then I finished it in a bit over one night once I really got into it! I was thrilled at first by what seemed a fairly modern universe (with cigarettes and sandwich shops and women wearing pants) with added tiny dragons rummaging through the garbage. I mean, what isn’t improved by the addition of dragons?

But then, I was a bit taken aback by the seemingly insta-love between Sera and Casmyn. But I was in for a surprise as Casmyn ended up not being the main love interest. Without spoiling too much, I actually really liked the main relationship, but also all the side ones, especially with the MC’s best friend, Astrid. I was actually hoping to see more of that relationship but I guess it’s left to my imagination! There’s a wide cast and I did struggle a little bit with remembering some of the minor characters’ names but I really enjoyed the fact that it was not just about Seraphina but about a whole lot of people, with their differences and disagreements, coming together to work towards a common goal. It made the dynamics between characters work really well and allowed for 1)quite diverse characters and 2) lots of women which are two things I really love in a book.

For the plot itself, I thought it was well-crafted, a lot happens in little time and Sera, the main character, has to deal with major changes in her life: learning that the Fae are real to finding out that she’s got way more magic than most people, and that her world might literally break apart if she doesn’t do anything. I think her reactions were pretty believable, she was not always reasonable but that’s how people are, right? And she was clearly struggling with what she had to do to save her world, and the risks to her loved ones.

There’s also a bit where they all go to ground in some kind of safehouse and everyone starts getting cabin fever, and this was interesting to read in 2021, after what, 10 months in lockdown? yeah it was all very believable. It does end on a cliffhanger, which aaaaaargh!! why!! but in a good way, as in when can I get my hands on the next one?

There were some formatting issues which I’m going to assume were down to the ARC and won’t be in the actual book, but honestly it was a very minor problem and I easily got over it and enjoyed the book so much! Overall it’s a cozy romance mixed in with high stakes fantasy and that was just what I needed!

Preorder the book on Amazon

%d bloggers like this: