This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria
**We received an advanced copy as part of a publisher blog tour in exchange for an honest review. We’d like to thank Emily and Inkyard Press for the opportunity. This book comes out on Feb 2nd and you can get it here or at your local independent bookstore**
Reviewed by GGGinny
What I drank: Tom Collins. I’ve gotten a hell of a lot done in the past dew days and wanted to treat myself.
Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army.
In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible—she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father—their nation’s greatest traitor—once tried to destroy the automatons.
Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn’t just trying to control Karis; it’s hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother…and the secret that’s held her country in its power for centuries.
Drunk Overview:Karis is a slave of the Scriptorium and finds Alix, a long lost automaton. Except Alix can talk and all the other automatons are powered off. Alix helps Karis escape to find her brother, except the two of them (and a friend) get captured by pirates, outrun some scary people, and join a resistance.
Drunk Thoughts: this book was a ton of fun. I loved the diversity, the main character was ace, there were a few gay characters, and it seemed like a decent number of characters of color. Dont get me wrong. The plot was fun too, but this book felt very character driven to me.
- Karis was a ton of fun. She’s a character that is so single minded and driven by a goal that it was fun to see how that drive conflicted with everything else in her life.
- Watching her make decisions was a lot of fun and it meant there were times where I genuinely wasnt sure what choice she would make.
- And Alix was interesting too: there was so much about what makes someone human and alive -vs- property. I think its an interesting thing to think about in this era of burgeoning AI.
- But he wants to search out his father (who btw was responsible for the automatons not working)
- Dont get me started on the pirate captain. She could probably serve to have been a little more fleshed out. But I so enjoyed her interactions with everyone.
- The best friend, I dont remember his name, was fun but in a kind of generic way
- Back to the plot. The parts of the plot I found most interesting were the character driven parts. The whole mystery didnt captivate me as much as I think it was supposed to.
- But watching certain charactets make those hard choices for better or worse? *chefs kiss*
- Honestly, my biggest complaint was that the book wrapped up a little too cleanly. It made ot feel like all along the stakes weren’t real.
- But the automaton system was pretty fun, the adventures were exciting to read, and the world building felt fairly solid. I love reading world where magic is taken for granted the way we expect electricity will just work.
- It feels real in the smallest moments, in what people consider normal. Or dont even think about.
What I’d Pair it With: hard cider. It makes me think of a Renn Faire. Or at least yhe swashbuckling adventurous air of a Renn Faire.