ARC Review: Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova
Author: Zoraida Córdova Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Series: Hollow Crown #1 Release Date: April 28th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
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I am Renata Convida.
I have lived a hundred stolen lives.
Now I live my own.
Renata Convida was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King's Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a Robari, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata's ability to steal memories from royal enemies enabled the King's Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.
Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown and helping the remaining Moria escape the kingdom bent on their destruction. The Whispers may have rescued Renata from the palace years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred--or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she turned "hollow" during her time in the palace.
When Dez, the commander of her unit, is taken captive by the notorious Sangrado Prince, Renata will do anything to save the boy whose love makes her place among the Whispers bearable. But a disastrous rescue attempt means Renata must return to the palace under cover and complete Dez's top secret mission. Can Renata convince her former captors that she remains loyal, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.
But returning to the palace stirs childhood memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the entire fate of the kingdom--and end the war that has cost her everything.
I received a free copy for an honest review.
This is a character-driven novel.
This is good and bad news for me. This meant that the characters are very well developed and written out, but that also kind of reduced my enjoyment for the book. The biggest difference between a character-driven and plot-driven novel is while one is how characters affect the plot, the other is the characters' reaction to the plot.
Also, some warnings for impatient people (like me). This book is almost filled to the brim with italicized flashbacks thanks to our protagonist's magical ability, but patience is key. Those are very necessary for the development of the story and should not be scanned. I know that there are other readers like me who always kind of lose focus whenever I see "italicization"(it's like the moment my brain sees them they kind fo turn off), but it's really important (I promise). So be prepared for these.
It's also been a while since I read a book with a romance subplot where the two are already a pair, and that was quite refreshing for me. Dez and Renata are both extremely respectable, lovable, and capable loves that are well created. They feel genuinely real due to their solid backstory and creation.
Sadly, this is one of the books where I can recognize its quality and effort, I can't fill a huge amount of enthusiasm for. Sure, I enjoyed and finished it, but I don't' think it was good enough to be one of those books where I would go back and re-read again. It was okay, that's the best I can say for it.
about the author
Zoraida Córdova is the author of many fantasy novels for kids and teens, including the award-winning Brooklyn Brujas series, Incendiary, and Star Wars: A Crash of Fate. Her short fiction has appeared in the New York Times bestselling anthology Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, Star Wars The Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark, Come on In: 15 Stories About Immigration and Finding Home, and Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft. She is the co-editor of Vampires Never Get Old: Eleven Tales with Fresh Bite. Her debut middle grade novel is The Way to Rio Luna. She is the co-host of the podcast Deadline City with Dhonielle Clayton. Zoraida was born in Ecuador and raised in Queens, New York. When she isn’t working on her next novel, she’s planning a new adventure.
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