Narrator: Kyla Garcia
Series: Fire and Thorns #4
Published by HarperAudio on April 7, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Length: 13 hours, 42 minutes
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Even though Red Sparkle Stone is a foundling orphan with an odd name and a veiled past, she's about to be adopted into the royal family—by Empress Elisa herself. Sixteen-year-old Red can hardly believe her luck. Then, in a stunning political masterstroke, the empress's greatest rival blocks the adoption, and Red is left with no family and no future.
Grieving and lost, but determined to find her place, Red hatches a daring plan: she will prove herself as a recruit for the world's most elite fighting force, the legendary Royal Guard—something no woman has done before. But it's no coincidence that someone wanted her to fail as a princess, someone whose shadowy agenda puts everything she loves at risk. As danger closes in, it will be up to Red and her new friends—and maybe some new enemies—to save the empire. If they can survive recruitment year.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns series was originally a trilogy but the fans really wanted to know what became of Red Sparklestone and check in on Elisa and Hector to see how they are doing. I know I also really wanted to know as well, since Hector is one of my favorite male love interests in YA and I think the entire series is underrated, meaning I was totally onboard for another story set in this world.
Red, a former slave and half Invierne, has been an unofficial part of Hector and Elisa’s family for years now. It was all about to become completely official when they adopted her. However, someone or someones doesn’t want the adoption to happen and blocked it at the last minute. There is still a lot of anger over the war with the Inviernos and many do not like the treaties and trade Elisa is trying to build with them. After the adoption is blocked, Red must find a new path, maybe one that fits her even better. She becomes the first female recruit in the Royal Guard.
When Elisa and Hector leave the city to visit Alodia and Storm, it becomes clear that the ‘someones’ who blocked the adoption might have other plans as well and it is up to Red, Rosario and a few recruits to find out who is behind it and thwart their plans. Since I’d read the initial series, I had a good idea of who was behind it but it was still great to read how things played out.
I enjoyed making my way back through this world again. Rosario has grown into a great and solid young man and seeing the life and family Elisa and Hector have made was so sweet. Red is a fun character to follow and I really liked how she became part of the team and eventually figured out how to win over the rest of the recruits.
Since Hector and Elisa had to leave to make this story possible, I missed seeing more of them but Red, Iván and Rosario did a great job carrying the story.
I do wonder if The Empire of Dreams will be the final final book in the series or if we will get more time with Red and her new guard in the future. I like all the new friends and frenemy that Red has made and would enjoy future stories involving them. While this is the beginning of a new set of characters’ story line, I think you need to have read all the prior books to really enjoy it properly.
“The list of things that were a better father to you than King Alejandro is very long. Like the plague, which at least shows up once in a while.”
I round on Iván, ready to lay into him, but I hear Rosario chuckle.
“And the list of things less traitorous than your father is equally long,” Rosario says. “Like a mosquito, which will stab you in the back only once.”
Kyla Garcia is a new narrator to this series. Her voice fits the younger Red and Rosario well and I like how she presented the story. I listened to this at my normal 1.5x speed.
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Robin Audio20