Review: Cast in Firelight by Dana Swift

Cast in Firelight by Dana Swift

Cast in Firelight (Wickery #1)
Dana Swift
Delacorte Press
Published January 19, 2021

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Goodreads

About Cast in Firelight

Adraa is the royal heir of Belwar, a talented witch on the cusp of taking her royal ceremony test, and a girl who just wants to prove her worth to her people.

Jatin is the royal heir to Naupure, a competitive wizard who’s mastered all nine colors of magic, and a boy anxious to return home for the first time since he was a child.

Together, their arranged marriage will unite two of Wickery’s most powerful kingdoms. But after years of rivalry from afar, Adraa and Jatin only agree on one thing: their reunion will be anything but sweet.

Only, destiny has other plans and with the criminal underbelly of Belwar suddenly making a move for control, their paths cross…and neither realizes who the other is, adopting separate secret identities instead.

Between dodging deathly spells and keeping their true selves hidden, the pair must learn to put their trust in the other if either is to uncover the real threat. Now Wickery’s fate is in the hands of rivals..? Fiancées..? Partners..? Whatever they are, it’s complicated and bound for greatness or destruction.

Cast in Firelight on Goodreads

My Review

I really liked the concept of this book, and I’m generally a fan of the enemies-to-lovers types of stories, so CAST IN FIRELIGHT definitely has that going for it. I liked Adraa and how quirky and awkward she is, too.

There were a few things I struggled with, though. One was the magic system. It’s nine different types and coordinating gods/goddesses and colors. That made it a lot to keep track of, but also characters that then could use most or all types of magic seemed almost too powerful?

I also had a hard time understanding some of the structure of the royal family/palace. Like, I couldn’t understand if the palace was just really small, with a really small staff? (Was the kitchen maid the same girl who styled Adraa’s hair?) Sometimes things happened that seemed strange, like when a guard takes Adraa to his room to speak with her privately. Wouldn’t that be a huge breach in propriety? And with the prince’s fiancée??

They were small things, so it wasn’t hard to kind of just shrug and move past them to see where the rest of the story was going. I liked that it had a lot of twists and turns, and I definitely wanted to know where Adraa and Jatin’s relationship would head, so I was definitely invested in the story.

I also appreciated the author’s note at the end of the book explaining that while it’s not an #ownvoices story, she wrote the book for her children, who will be Indian. That and the nod to her husband’s family was really sweet.

I feel like this book would be a good one for middle school readers. It’s solidly a young adult book, but not really dark or gritty, so a great fit for readers who need something a bit lighter– readers who read and enjoyed The Lunar Chronicles, for instance.

Cast in Firelight on Amazon

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 12 up.

Representation
Major characters are Indian-coded characters.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Characters use “blood” as a swear word.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl. At one point a boy and girl fall asleep on top of a building, and he teases her about them “sleeping together”.

There are references to some sexual bullying.

Spiritual Content
Nine gods and goddesses have the power to bestow gifts of different types (and colors) of magic on humans.

Violent Content
Some battle violence and situations of peril.

Drug Content
Some people use a powerful drug called Bloodlurst that causes enhanced magic for a time before causing damage. It’s viewed very negatively in the story, and Adraa is working hard to try to stop a group which sells the drug to her people.

Note: I received a free copy of CAST IN FIRELIGHT in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support running this blog.

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About Kasey Giard

I'm a mama, reader, and writer. Passionate about peppermint (it's not just for Christmas, okay?!), fly fishing, and movie night.

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