YA Book Review: Shimmer and Burn 

Shimmer and Burn, by Mary Taranta, is a YA fantasy novel that dazzles readers with dark magic, hidden kingdoms and intriguing characters. The first of a duology, it is the kind of book that pulls you in to its world and holds you breathless as you learn its dangers and secrets. The prose is rich and detailed while also full of action that at times will stun readers with the depth of its darkness. Yet within it there is also a bright streak of hope that seems to follow its protagonist, Faris, through even the most dangerous adventures.

Faris is a teenage girl living in the hidden kingdom of Brindaigel, where magic and lives are strictly controlled. Living as a servant and caring for her sister, she dreams of seeing what lies beyond the mountains that separate Brindaigel from the wider world. But the people of Brindaigel are not free; they’ve been told they are kept inside the kingdom in order to remain safe from a plague that wiped out another kingdom beyond the mountains: Avinea. But is the King telling the truth? What really lies in Avinea? Faris risks her life to find out, journeying to a land that, unlike the beautiful Avinea of her dreams – is a frightening place where people and magic are bought and sold at high stakes. There, Faris finds herself tied to a beautiful yet dangerous princess, Bryn, and a mysterious magician, North, as she seeks freedom for both her sister and herself.

The strength of this story lies in both the detailed fantasy world and its kingdoms that Taranta has built, as well as the complex relationships between its characters. Faris is a strong female protagonist willing to fight for herself and the ones she loves, yet princess Bryn and magician North are written equally as strong and have enough mystery to keep readers wanting more of them. Perhaps the most beautiful moments in Shimmer and Burn are the quiet ones, when we find that at the heart of this magic filled fantasy is a girl who wants the thing that seems so easily given, yet remains most elusive: the freedom to dream.

This is a magical fantasy that, like its title, both shimmers and burns with a story that will no doubt make many readers fall in love with a young girl seeking the freedom to dream, and to live life on her own terms.

*I received an ARC from KidlitExchange in exchange for an honest review.

Review Links:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2127167595

https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R17Z7NKYCEQ7A1/

Stacie Eirich is a writer as well as an avid reader & book reviewer. She holds a Masters Degree in English Studies from Illinois State University. She has published four books of poetry and a children’s novel: Tiger Kingdom & The Book of Destiny. She lives north of New Orleans, and is currently writing her second children’s novel.

Stacie’s Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Stacie-Eirich/e/B01D1QV79W/

https://www.facebook.com/writerstacieeirich

https://www.instagram.com/stacieeirich

https://www.soundcloud.com/stacie-eirich

 

 

Children’s Book Review: The Wish Trap (Star Friends, Book 2) 

The Wish Trap, written by Linda Chapman & illustrated by Lucy Fleming, is an enchanting story that mixes childhood adventure with fantasy. Readers will delight in the magical animals and whimsical illustrations. Its description rings true – this is a book that will be enjoyed by fans of both the Rainbow Magic series and other magical adventures for young readers.

The second book in the Star Friends series, it follows friends Maia, Ionie, Lottie & Sita as they discover their increasing magical powers as Star Friends. Star Animals are magical animals that come from Star World, and once they have made a human friend, their magic can flow between them in order to do good and stop others who are using bad magic. Promoting acts of kindness in children’s literature is always a positive experience for both readers and parents, and using both magic and animals to do so is so much fun!

Maia, Ionie, Lottie & Sita successfully battled a Shade (an evil spirit that brings chaos & unhappiness) in the first adventure – and they will need to work together again to solve a dangerous mystery in The Wish Trap. This time, the members of the gym team are mysteriously getting hurt – and the girls suspect that a Shade is behind the accidents.

While the story itself is fun and the characters charming, the illustrations are gorgeous and really brought the book to life. I was familiar with Lucy Fleming’s art through Instagram, but this was the first time I’ve seen her work displayed in a children’s book. Her dreamy, whimsical style fits the Star Friends perfectly. Young readers, particularly girls around my own daughter’s age – will be happy to have The Wish Trap in their libraries.

*I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review Links:

https://www.netgalley.com/book/117971/review/424591

https://www.amazon.com/review/R2WVG0GHCYU1S/

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2122889554

Thank you for visiting Space to Dream! Have a magical day.  -Stacie

Stacie Eirich is a writer as well as an avid reader & book reviewer. She holds a Masters Degree in English Studies from Illinois State University. She has published four books of poetry and a children’s novel: Tiger Kingdom & The Book of Destiny. She lives north of New Orleans, and is currently writing her second children’s novel.

Stacie’s Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Stacie-Eirich/e/B01D1QV79W/

https://www.facebook.com/writerstacieeirich

https://www.instagram.com/stacieeirich

https://www.soundcloud.com/stacie-eirich