Title: Fire (Kalima Chronicles Book 2)
Author: Aiki Flinthart
Reviewer: Carleton Chinner
Synopsis: Alere will pay the price for freedom, but not in coin.
With the immediate threat of war on Kalima averted, Alere, Kett, and Corin must track down Alere’s sister, Mina. But Alere struggles to understand her new-found powers, only certain that Mina is in danger. When slavers decimate Mina’s ship, the situation turns lethal. Jarran, the new Jun First of Mamlakah, has been captured along with Mina, and Rohne Connor.
Now Alere and her companions must recover the Jun First and Mina from Hassan Nasim, the most brutal Slavemaster of Melcor, – before Jarran loses his new throne to rebellion. And Rohne has his own, unknown agenda.
In the attempt to free her sister and friends, Alere will risk more than just her own life and theirs. She’ll gamble with the sovereignty of her Jundom, and the lives of the people of Mamlakah, itself.
If she fails, it means death or slavery for everyone she loves and destruction for Xintou House.
But succeeding could be even worse.
Review: Alere, Kett, and Corin return in the second swashbuckling adventure across the wonderfully weird lands of Kalima. What starts out as a simple chase soon turns into a jaw-dropping battle for survival to prevent war from destroying all that Alere holds dear.
Flinthart uses the world of Kalima to maximum effect by setting the early story on a river populated by shaytan salamanders and other nasty creatures all intent on eating those foolish enough to venture in. An early battle on a boat becomes so much more complicated when the consequences of falling overboard include being torn to pieces by razor-sharp teeth. Later scenes transport us to the slaver city of Melcor with its frightening practices and deadly games.
The events of the first book changed Alere, she is now both more and less than she was before. Her shadowy Xintou skills are being enhanced by the yanh stones to uncover talents she didn’t know she had. Alere doesn’t understand the limits of her power, which leads to fantastic scenes. Flinthart is a master of writing a gripping fight scene and these scenes are now enhanced by the quirky nature of Alere’s powers. Impossible battle scenes drive her to use dangerous powers with potentially fatal consequences.
The tension ramps across the entire story as Alere and the two men desperately scramble to save their friends from the Melcor overlord until the epic final combat scene.
Alere’s relationships are no less confusing, as she finds herself torn between two complicated men with very different qualities. I’m definitely on one team, and found myself muttering “open your eyes, woman, can’t you see what you mean to him?” Of course, I can’t say anything else because, well, you know, spoilers.
The relationship with her twin sister Mina continues to be complicated by Rhone the terrifying and mysterious male Xintou who has powers that can only be dreamed of. Rhone continues to offer tantalising hints of a much bigger end game that is sure to leave us gasping. I can’t wait for the third instalment to see what happens next.
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