Author: Carly Stevens
Publisher: Carly Stevens (Independent Author)
Edition: Paperback ARC, 458 Pages
Publication Date: July 15, 2019
A Spine that Shines? Pretty Well
*This review is based on a paperback ARC edition provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. These are my honest opinions. Thank you.*
‘We are people willing to sacrifice for what is right and in the end we will be victorious.’Kiria, Firian Rising
Initial Thoughts & Pacing
Firian Rising released yesterday from Carly Stevens, an independent author. This book is well-written, and I truly think it has a lot of potential. It deals with mental warfare, which is a pretty interesting topic. In some ways, the book reminded me a little of the Insignia series by S. J. Kincaid, which also deals with mental battles.
Firian Rising is about the lives of different people in the Western Kingdom, which is ruled by three monarchs called “Keepers.” There are also Tanyu, who are sort of like defenders of the Kingdom. These Tanyu have special powers that allow them to create reality from imagination. It is truly a fascinating topic. I think their powers are quite interesting and complex – in a good way. I especially liked how there are different layers within the special mindscape called the “Unreal.” If a Tanyu goes too far into the “Unreal,” there is the danger of getting “Lost” and losing his or her grip on reality.
Honestly, the first half of the book was a little slow for me. It mostly focuses on building Firian and Kiria’s backstory. Firian grows up to become a Tanyu, and Kiria is groomed to one day take her mother’s place as a ruler of the Western Kingdom. But the pace in the second half of the book definitely picks up, and I really enjoyed the time that Firian and Kiria spent getting to know each other.
Characters & Romance
The two main characters are, of course, Kiria and Firian.
- Kiria is the heir to one of the three thrones of the Western Kingdom. She finds out that she has an interesting “Ability” of her own, and she struggles with anxiety, uncertain of her ability to lead the Kingdom when the time comes. After an assassination attempt on her life, she is assigned a Tanyu bodygaurd to take her to a safe location.
- Guess who that bodyguard is? Yep. Firian. I was excited when Firian and Kiria finally meet (about halfway through the book), because it really made things more interesting and complicated. At first, Firian comes across as confident and arrogant, always seeking the approval of others. But over time, I think he starts to genuinely care for Kiria – at least a little bit.
- They’re both so full of spirit and determination. They make a great pair, and there is quite a bit of tension between them after they meet. I think that aspect is handled quite well. I look forward to seeing how their relationship develops in the future.
‘At the end of this struggle we will rise again, strong in the justice of our cause and joyful because we have seen the fulfillment of our hopes.’Kiria, Firian Rising
So why not a full 5 stars?
There is a bit of geography to juggle in this book, and it took me a while to get a sense of where everything is located. But perhaps there is a map in the finished book that will help.
Another thing that stuck out to me was Firian’s attitude toward women. He seems to either be attracted to their beauty/bodies or to the opportunity for political advancement that he could gain through them. Sometimes, his attitude bothered me, and I didn’t understand some of the things he did – considering his feelings for Kiria. But at the same time, I suppose his lustful behavior is realistic.
I also think the book could have benefited from a bigger “villain” character. Throughout much of the book, there doesn’t seem to be one specific, individual adversary per se. Kiria and Firian are sort of pitted against each other, but it would be interesting to see them fight a villain character together. It is sort of hinted that someone is targeting Kiria’s family line, but we don’t really get the answer to that in book one. Perhaps in the sequel!
I was also surprised at something Firian does at the end of the book to gain a position of power. It didn’t exactly feel like a “heroic” act to me, but perhaps it isn’t supposed to. The characters in this book are forced to make some tough decisions, and I do think it helps to shape their growth.
Overall, I quite enjoyed Firian Rising! Give it a shot if you enjoy YA fantasies about mental warfare! Happy reading, and don’t forget to check out my current Bookstagram giveaway (link is below) 🙂
*Content Warnings: some violence, one of the characters has a somewhat intimate dream, their version of a curse word: “gore”*