Bound by Firelight is immersive, fast paced, action packed, suspenseful YA Fantasy. If you enjoyed the first book, I think you’ll like this too, but if you haven’t read first book you can’t read this as a standalone.
Bound by Firelight (Wickery #2) by Dana Swift
Publication Date : January 18th 2022
Publisher : Delacorte Press
Genre : YA / Fantasy
Pages : 448
Disclaimer – Many thanks to PRH international for providing e-copy via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Previous book in series –
After a magical eruption devastates the kingdom of Belwar, royal heir Adraa is falsely accused of masterminding the destruction and forced to stand trial in front of her people, who see her as a monster. Adraa’s punishment? Imprisonment in the Dome, an impenetrable, magic-infused fortress filled with Belwar’s nastiest criminals—many of whom Adraa put there herself. And they want her to pay.
Jatin, the royal heir to Naupure, has been Adraa’s betrothed, nemesis, and fellow masked vigilante… but now he’s just a boy waiting to ask her the biggest question of their lives. First, though, he’s going to have to do the impossible: break Adraa out of the Dome. And he won’t be able to do it without help from the unlikeliest of sources—a girl from his past with a secret that could put them all at risk.
Time is running out, and the horrors Adraa faces in the Dome are second only to the plot to destabilize and destroy their kingdoms. But Adraa and Jatin have saved the world once already… Now, can they save themselves?
The heart-pounding sequel to Cast in Firelight, perfect for fans of epic, sweepingly romantic fantasy by Sabaa Tahir, Susan Dennard, and Mary E. Pearson.
Bound by Firelight is action-packed YA fantasy that revolves around Adraa and Jatin facing the trial against Adraa that separated them, tested their relationship, and journey to find their way back to each other. The story is about corruption, manipulation, political intrigue, trauma, guilt, fear, self-doubt, loyalty, betrayal, friendship, and love.
The writing is fantastic, immersive, vivid and super fast paced just like the first book. This is written in first person narrative, alternative dual perspective from Adraa and Jatin that makes sense as for the half of the book they are seperated from each other.
Book started almost 2-3 weeks after the end of the first book with people and other royalties not believing Adraa stopped the volcano. Swept under the manipulation of Raja Moolek, they think Adraa is monster, rioting and rallying against the Belwar family seeking to end the rule of royal family and elect a person to rule. Jatin and Adraa are trying to find a clue that could prove she is innocent, Jatin wants to reinstate their engagement by proposing her but trial against Adraa doesn’t help things. Somehow Moolek controlled the mind of judges panel and even Adraa making her say things that proves her guilty and is sentenced lifetime to Dome- prison of Belwar.
It was interesting to read how Mooolek controlled everyone in the court, how Adraa will prove herself innocent being in prison, what Jatin will do about it, how it will test their relationship, who will show support to Adraa, and how they are going to free her.
This is both plot and character driven. Plot, characters, romance, and the world are well balanced. If you enjoyed the first book, I think you’ll like this too as there is nothing to dislike with new characters, suspense, action, impossible obstacles that I couldn’t predict how they will be solved, and further expansion of world made it even better. But if you haven’t read first book you can’t read this as a standalone.
Adraa is amazing throughout the book. I love feisty and powerful heroine and she is nothing less. She is smart, clever, and knew how to rise again after the fall. In first book fear of not being worthy shadowed her powerful strong personality and even in this book until she entered the Dome. Being there, enduring all torture, making new friends, makes her see what was actually holding her back and it was fantastic to see how she overcome her fear and guilt and believed in herself and her power. I admired her for learning things so fast, seeking help when she needed it, helping others especially those who were weak, and not being selfish.
Jatin is great as well. I love heroes who respect their better half and admire their power and both strength and weakness. He knows Adraa is, more powerful than him and this book proved that more than once and even with competition between them he never felt insecure. I loved him for his unconditional love and trust. I liked how he faced the obstacle in their relationship that came with Fiza. It was great how he came clean about how he felt even under lots of pressure and anxiety.
I enjoyed new characters. Harini is amazing and I liked her for able to do magic even though she couldn’t speak and how she helped Adraa and taught her to get over her fears and find a connection with magic. Fiza is also great even though i felt that forced love triangle was unnecessary but it sure spiced things up and I liked her for taking things and Jatin’s feelings positively. I liked knowing Prisha more and she was involved more in story than first book. I could understand her reaction and I loved how she realized her mistake and redeemed it.
Romance is as good as first book with banter and healthy competition between Jatin and Adraa but being separated from each other for half of the book it isn’t only focus in book but I loved how unwavering their love was and how much they cared for each other. There are many lovely moments. I’m not fan of making out in middle of battle/action/tension but in this author makes it swoon-worthy and fun.
Best part of the book is the Dome setting and importance of it made much more sense when things were revealed. It was horrible to read what guards were doing with women, cage fights between prisoners who weren’t even fit to fight. Things are definitely dark in this place but most horrifying was what they did with the most powerful witches. Corruption is in every part of Wickery world and Dome is center of it. I liked what Adraa’s father used to say, “bad people always try to corrupt good things” and it was shown in many ways in this world. Prison break is best scene and I loved everything that happened around this part.
Twist and turns are amazing and unpredictable. I couldn’t see where things were going. At the beginning we get Moolek isn’t acting alone, there is another powerful man supporting him and that hidden identity arc made story most suspenseful which is only revealed in climax.
Climax was tense, tragic, and action packed. So much is happening and again Jatin and Adraa had to separate which I wasn’t expecting at this point. It was amazing how author wrapped things, how Adraa managed to prove herself innocent and everything that happened in last few chapters. End is clear cut and satisfactory but I still can’t believe this was the end and this is a duology. Is there anyone else who feel the same?
Overall, Bound by Firelight is immersive, action packed, suspenseful, and fast paced YA Fantasy with amazing dark setting but no sex scenes or gory details.
I highly recommend this if you like,
non-stop action and lots of twist and turns
minor love triangle (definitely didn’t bother me)
headstrong powerful heroine
Hidden identity of villian
Great friendship and sister relationship
Thank you for reading! Let’s chat…
What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this or previous book in series? Which fantasy world you love most?
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