Book Review: HEART OF FLAMES by Nicki Pau Preto

Veronyka, Tristan, and Sev must stop the advancing empire from destroying the Phoenix Riders in this fiery sequel to Crown of Feathers, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Kendare Blake calls “absolutely unforgettable!”

You are a daughter of queens.

The world is balanced on the edge of a knife, and war is almost certain between the empire and the Phoenix Riders.

Like Nefyra before you, your life will be a trial by fire.

Veronyka finally got her wish to join the Riders, but while she’s supposed to be in training, all she really wants to do is fly out to defend the villages of Pyra from the advancing empire. Tristan has been promoted to Master Rider, but he has very different ideas about the best way to protect their people than his father, the commander. Sev has been sent to spy on the empire, but maintaining his cover may force him to fight on the wrong side of the war. And Veronyka’s sister, Val, is determined to regain the empire she lost—even if it means inciting the war herself.

Such is your inheritance. A name. A legacy. An empire in ruin.

As tensions reach a boiling point, the characters all find themselves drawn together into a fight that will shape the course of the empire—and determine the future of the Phoenix Riders. Each must decide how far they’re willing to go—and what they’re willing to lose in the process.

I pray you are able to pass through the flames. 

FIVE FIERY STARS! The perfect follow up to Crown of Feathers
If you have ever found yourself picking up the next book of a beloved series, you definitely know that feeling of worry that the sequel won't be as amazing as the first book and can't possibly live up to your expectations. You think there’s just no way the author can match or top how you felt about that first experience with their characters. Worry not! I’m here to say this is not the case with HEART OF FLAMES. Nicki dives deeper into the world of The Golden Empire. We get to explore histories, characters and the world itself in a way that we didn't during CROWN OF FEATHERS.

We get to see Pyra through a couple new POV's, and one in particular had me especially giddy. The different points of view really help with tracking several subplots within the story. The love interests that were established in CoF start to heat up in HoF (see what I did there?). There was a lot of foreshadowing romantic feelings in CoF, but they never really came to fruition. It was exciting to watch those relationships begin to unfold and I would still say that it's appropriate for a younger audience, think PG-13.

This book is a beast at over 600 pages. It took me quite a while to get through but I never really felt like it was dragging on, if that makes sense? I felt like all of the pages and points of view had a significant purpose. I thoroughly enjoyed every second of reading HEART OF FLAMES. The end made me gasp out loud then immediately flip back through some of the epigraphs and history snippets (aka interstitials... but who even knows that word anyways?) to see if I had missed something. NOPE, Nicki got me and in the best way possible. The wait for Crown of Feathers book 3 is going to be long, but oh so worth it. This was the perfect follow-up to one of my favorite reads in 2019. Heart of Flames was everything I hoped for and more!

Heart of Flames is in stores now.

Add to your Goodreads shelf today!

Amazon US || Amazon CA || Barnes & Noble || IndieBound || Indigo || BAM!

OwlCrate has a special signed and exclusive edition to match their exclusive copy of CROWN OF FEATHERS from the Feb 2019 box. You can grab a copy here!
If you haven't read book 1 yet, I can't recommend it enough! You can read my full review of CROWN OF FEATHERS, here. Check out the synopsis below.

I had a sister, once…

In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.

I promised her the throne would not come between us.

Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.

But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.

Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.

Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.

Add to your Goodreads shelf today!

Nicki Pau Preto is YA fantasy author living just outside of Toronto, Canada––though her hatred of hockey, snow, and geese makes her the worst Canadian in the country. She studied art and art history in school, mostly because she thought it would be hard to get a job with an English degree…but it turns out it’s hard to get a job with an art degree, too (surprise, surprise) so she went back to school again for graphic design.
The common thread in all her studies was creativity (art and graphic design) and a love of stories (art history is, after all, the stories behind famous works of art). This may be why the fantasy genre, where the writer can create brand new worlds with histories and cultures of their own, always appealed most strongly to her.
When Nicki’s not reading or writing, she can be found watching basketball (go Raptors), playing soccer (forward or midfield), and online bargain shopping with competitive zeal (she’s a starving artist, after all). Oh, and sometimes she manages to go outside and see friends and stuff.
Her YA fantasy debut CROWN OF FEATHERS is available now from Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster.
Name Pronunciation: Pau Preto is my full surname, and is pronounced like so: Pow-Prett-Oh
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