Monday, June 18, 2018

Review: Jeweled Fire

Jeweled Fire by Sharon Shinn
Pub Date: November 2015
As one of the four princesses of Welce, Corene always thought she might one day become queen. Only circumstances changed, leaving fiery Corene with nothing to show for a life spent playing the game of court intrigue—until a chance arises to become the ruler of a nearby country.

After stowing away on a ship bound for Malinqua with her loyal bodyguard, Foley, Corene must try to win the throne by making a play to marry one of the empress’s three nephews. But Corene is not the only foreign princess in search of a crown.

Unaccustomed to being anyone’s friend, Corene is surprised to find companionship among her fellow competitors. But behind Malinqua’s beautiful facade lie many secrets.

The visiting princesses are more hostages than guests. And as the deadly nature of the court is revealed, Corene must rely on both her new allies and Foley’s unwavering protection—for the game she has entered is far more perilous than she ever imagined…

YES! I can barely contain myself. This is my new favorite in the series! I absolutely love Corene and Foley. I loved having a new setting and a mostly new cast of characters in Malinqua. There's so much to discuss. 

First of all, if you haven't read the first books in the series, I would definitely recommend starting with those. Yes, each story has a new protagonist and a new plot, but the background knowledge is pretty important. 
So, with that out of the way, let's continue singing Jeweled Fire's praises. So why was this my new favorite in the series? 

1) Corene and the fun cast 

Corene is my favorite by far. She is spunky, fiery, and not perfect. Also she has survived so much and I have major respect for her. And I loved her relationship with those around her such as Liramelli and Melissande and Jiramondi. There were so many interesting friends. And we are also introduced to Leah the spy. (She's the protagonist for the 4th book!) 

2) The world building 

It's time to say goodbye to Welce and its elemental blessings. Malinqua doesn't have hunti, coru, torz, elay and sweela affiliations. Malinqua has a different sort of philosophy. Everything in the city is split two ways: between smoke and fire. There are two towers. One half of the city is red and the other white. There's this belief in balance but the Malinquans also acknowledge no one is ever solely one thing. It was all very interesting and I could tell Shinn put effort into fleshing out this new land. 

3) The plot

First of all, there is a definite murder mystery element going on in the Malinqua Court. And I'm such a sucker for murder mysteries. I couldn't help but try to guess the murderer. And tied in with the murders was political scheming and conflicts with the crown. The political intrigue was so fun as always. I love how the plot is so intricately weaved with all these different strands. And everything that happens in Malinqua is also important to Welce (the original setting of the series). 

4) The romance

So it's a barely-there romance but I still shipped it SO hard. I always love slow burn and this was no exception. Also, the characters are just perfect for each other. 

I apologize for my incoherent, ramble-y review. This book is just chalk full of good things! Jeweled Fire was a fun, intelligent, high-stakes ride. I could easily root for Corene and her friends, and I loved slowly devouring and savoring this fantasy tale. Sharon Shinn has done it again!

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