This is my first review of the new year! (This is my first actual post for the new year–yay) And I am so excited to be talking about a book that I genuinely loved. I don’t read many space operas, but they have been a fascination of mine as of late for *reasons*.
I had an amazing time reading this book. I flew through it so fast! It’s a diverse, multicultural tale in space! How does that not make you want to read it?!?
A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna
Publisher: Sky Horse Pony
Pub Date: Sept 11, 2018
Price: $27.99 CAD
The first book in a scifi retelling of the Mahabrahata. When Esmae wins a contest of skill, she sets off events that trigger an inevitable and unwinnable war that pits her against the family she would give anything to return to.
In a universe of capricious gods, dark moons, and kingdoms built on the backs of spaceships, a cursed queen sends her infant daughter away, a jealous uncle steals the throne of Kali from his nephew, and an exiled prince vows to take his crown back.
Raised alone and far away from her home on Kali, Esmae longs to return to her family. When the King of Wychstar offers to gift the unbeatable, sentient warship Titania to a warrior that can win his competition, she sees her way home: she’ll enter the competition, reveal her true identity to the world, and help her famous brother win back the crown of Kali.
It’s a great plan. Until it falls apart.
Inspired by the Mahabharata and other ancient Indian stories, A Spark of White Fire is a lush, sweeping space opera about family, curses, and the endless battle between jealousy and love.
*I was provided a finished copy by Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for an honest review!*
What I Liked:
Esmae: Amazing. I mean…amazing! She’s got (mommy) issues, but she’s amazing. Esmae plays by the heart and it gets her into a lot of trouble, but that brain of hers is also pretty out of this world. She is perhaps a little-just a little–snow flakey because she had to be the bestest warrior/fighter/strategist, but like I admired her tact, wit and will a lot!
Titantia: Yes, she is a spaceship. Yes, she is amazing. Yes, she reminds me of Iko when she dawned the Rampion…only a little less flamboyant than my dear Iko. But she had a real personality and wisdom that I enjoyed reading.
Other characters…there were many amazing characters to be had. A lot of them were unique. I really liked the depiction of the uncle! It was so contradictory and plays with your feelings, until you just do not know what to think!
The Family Conflict Plot!:
LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. Can I just say that I LOVED this part of the book? There was so much drama to be had. So many twists and turns of the head. Family struggle is one of my favourite points of conflict in novels, I mean you want Esmae to side with one side of her family…but like the other side has good points to them too. And the cons of both sides are revealed and you just don’t know what to do and you’re stuck like Esmae! It’s a great, horrible feeling to have if you know what I mean. (DO I even make any sense? Probably not.)
I am a sucker for prophetic plots. It is definitely overdone, but I can’t help it. I absolutely adore the challenge of fate!!!!! Trying to weave a path around was is inevitable and will eventually come to be! And then there are more revelations and just when you think that inevitable has been avoided it is thrown right at your face. I LIVE FOR THIS STUFF. AND THIS BOOK HAD IT. AND IT KEPT ME ON THE EDGE OF MY (BUS) SEAT (CUZ I READ THIS ENTIRELY ON COMMUTES) AND ALL THE BUILD UP WAS WORTH IT!!!
THE GODS COME OUT TO PLAY!!!!!!!:
I have said it before, I will say it again. WHEN THE GODS COME OUT TO PLAY, TROUBLE IS COMING TO THE CHARACTERS WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And my goodness, did these gods cause trouble. Absolutely terrific!
So much fun. From the games, to the back and forth of family meetings, to the final dual. It was all so fantastic! It is a retelling of the Indian epic, Mahabharata. I cannot say whether it is like really well done or not because I am not familiar with the tale and I don’t really think a quick skim of the Wikipedia page makes me any kind of expert. I WILL HOWEVER say that the fish challenge was super awesome!
They are not cousins. That is all.
But it was also very cute and not the focus, but added to the drama!
What I Disliked:
I don’t have many complaints. Um a map would have been nice. There are a lot of planets, kingdoms and ships to keep track of. I also hope that the mom character is delved into a little bit more. She was a major source of conflict in this book, but not present at all so I’m hoping that will be coming in the sequel!
Overall, I really enjoyed this book! It was fast-paced, full of action, the prophecies were amazing. Mandanna really took me on an adventure! I flew through it and you know that means that I had a great time with it!
Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars
Recommend: UM YES. THIS BOOK IS SO UNDERRATED AND YOU NEED TO GET ON IT NOW!
Let me know what you think! Did you enjoy this book? What epic retellings would you like to read? Can anyone recommend me a good Mahabharata movie/series/book that I can watch or read that will give me a better appreciation for it?