These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy
Inkyard Press / Harlequin
Publication Date: April 20, 2021
Everyone knows that using magic comes with a price. Sometimes it’s a small lock of hair as payment for a simple spell, but the greater the magic, the more deadly the cost. No one knows this better than Aysa, the future Firebird. As a part of her training, she learns how to balance the world’s magic by exacting payment from those who try to use it freely. But before she can finish her training, she feels the call of the Firebird. Now she must return to Court to present herself to the new queen, her estranged twin sister Izaveta. Together the two must navigate their new roles as Queen and Firebird to solve the mystery behind their mother’s death and save their country from wayward magic.
These Feathered Flames reimagines the Russian “Firebird” folktale in an intricately plotted fantasy. While it is a slower story than many others of this genre, the drama and intensity will keep readers engaged. There is strong worldbuilding and characters are well-developed. The sisters’ relationship takes center stage over themes of magic, romance, and court intrigue. While there is a small LGBTQ+ romantic subplot, overall there is very little romance.
This book is great for fantasy fans and anyone who likes books about magic and sisterhood like Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore and Sisters of Sword and Song by Rebecca Ross.
Other Nominated Titles
- Home is Not a Country by Safia Elhillo (March 2, 2021)
- The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould (August 3, 2021)
- The River Has Teeth by Erica Waters (July 20, 2021)
The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.
Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are available on The Hub.