cover image A Fire in the Sky

A Fire in the Sky

Sophie Jordan. Avon, $30 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-339999-0

Jordan revisits the world of her Firelight YA series (begun in 2010’s Firelight) with a seductive adult prequel set 100 years after the Threshing that essentially eliminated dragons from the world. Tamsyn, who heals remarkably and mysteriously quickly, is raised as a sister of the princesses of Penterra, but used as their whipping girl. When the terrifying Fell, the Beast of the Borderlands, demands one of the princesses as a bride in exchange for his continued protection of the kingdom’s northern border, the royal family deceive him by sending Tamsyn instead. Though furious about the trickery, Fell finds himself surprisingly both protective and fond of his new wife, while she discovers the dangerous, wild magic that exists beyond the walls of the castle—and maybe also within herself. Jordan’s protagonists fit nicely into outsider tropes—Fell as the violent warrior with a righteous heart, Tamsyn as the pampered fish out of water who finds her inner strength—while also exhibiting complexity beyond the stereotypes. Jordan keeps the politics and the action simple to instead center the love story and Tamsyn’s self-discovery, leaving the novel with something of a YA feel despite the notably adult sex scenes. The final reveal, meanwhile, will keep readers on the hook for future installments. Fans who grew up with the original series are sure to be delighted. (Sept.)