Forged in Fire and Stars is the first in what, I believe, will be a multi-book series by Andrea Robertson. This initial novel introduces us to Ara, whose father had special abilities granted by the gods to produce magical weapons that were utilized by a group of specially chosen warriors. Ara is searching for her legacy throughout the book and partners with the lost princess of her land on a quest to fulfill their destinies.
With the opening and first couple of chapters underway, I really felt like this was going to be a great story. There was just so much that could be done with the premise. Unfortunately, it just felt a little flat. The story progressed rather slowly and where I thought we were really going to delve into Ara finding her legacy and seeing how that unfolded, this book only takes us to the brink of her abilities being approved by the gods and then stopped, presumably to be picked up in the next installment. I felt the travelling seemed protracted and while there was action along the way, I just couldn’t get excited.
The characters are well done though. They are limited in nature, focusing on four main players. Each is nuanced and I think that in future stories there is a great deal of expansion potential. Some of the twists in character development at the end I really didn’t see coming, while some of the others were pretty obvious. I did appreciate the well-balanced approach to genders and abilities which makes this a good read for any gender.
Overall, this isn’t a bad book, it just isn’t exceptional. It felt like a lot of build up for future books that will really take flight. I’d recommend reading at some point, but probably not one to grab for the top of your reading pile.
Review of an Advance Reading Copy
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Philomel
Profanity/Language: 4 derogatory names.
Violence/Gore: 2 multi-page graphic battles with graphic blood, gore and death; kidnapping; reference to children all being taken by force; destruction of shrines; depiction of blood on floors and walls; 2 verbal threats; man is ripped apart by magic (aftermath depicted, but not action); attack where magical animal “shadows” run through a person (scary, no injury): report of animal deaths; forcible conscription; 6 page battle with flesh-eating ants attacking humans and animals; bloody animal carcasses hung in trees; mangled corpses found in woods.
Sex/Nudity: Men grab a woman and forcibly seat her on lap and poke at her; 3 instances of hand holding; fingertips to another’s lips; 2 hugs; kiss to forehead; kiss; reference to same sex relationship.
Mature Subject Matter:
War, death, stealing.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Adults drink various forms of alcohol.