Book: Cast in Firelight (Wickery #1) by Dana Swift
Release date: January 19, 2021
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Net Galley E-Arc
This was a solid YA fantasy story, not my favorite, but from a critical angle, good for the audience it’s intended for. Before I get into the book, this is a reminder that this book is NOT an #OwnVoices story, but it has South Asian characters and culture integrated within it. Usually when it comes to non POC writing POC stories it bothers me, however, Dana acknowledges this and alludes to the fact that her husband is South Asian, thus creating a story that her children can see themselves in. As a South Asian person myself in this situation I found the representation to be acceptable because it didn’t come off as cultural appropriation or knowing about POC struggles, but rather creating characters and showcasing South Asian culture in a subtle but kind way. I don’t think many if any authors can do this, but I think that Dana Swift did a pretty good job. I also appreciate that sometimes there has to be POC in books and no deep rooted reason as to explain why. Just seeing a brown character in a book would have made me happy as a kid and having Dana Swift write a YA fantasy with these characters is again something I appreciate.
Moving on to the actual book, I found the concept of this book really intriguing. I love a good YA fantasy with witches and wizards and this concept of controlling different colors that are linked to these Gods was just fascinating. My biggest problem as a reader with this book was the underdevelopment or rather not as thorough development of the magic system as I would have liked. There were many times in the book I was confused on terms, what spells were being cast, etc. I wish the world building had been in a more clear cut way rather than being muddled.
I found Adraa and Jatin’s characters to be relatable and funny at times. As I mentioned, for a younger audience I think this book would be perfect! I’d probably have rated this higher if I had read it when I was in middle or high school. Adraa was a fierce independent and strong headed woman and definitely got herself into trouble sometimes even with the best intentions. Jatin was a mix of arrogant and sweet which made the banter between the characters amusing. I don’t think that these two characters’ personalities were so much different than others I’ve read in books, so even though they were written well, I wasn’t a die hard fan of either.
I read this book in a lot of chunks so it was nice to just pick up and continue reading from where I left off. It gave me comfort read vibes which I really appreciated. With that being said, I did pick up and put this book down a lot because it was intriguing at times, but not so intriguing at others. I wanted to feel more invested in the book than I was.
However, I still think this is a book that so many people will enjoy and I still recommend you all check it out and see for yourself if you enjoy this world as much as I did. It’s a pretty cool world and concept trust me. I’ll be continuing on with this series because the ending although not a cliff hanger left me curious on where the story would eventually go from the end.
Writing Style: 7/10
Rating: 6.71 or 4 stars (critically, maybe more of a 3.75)