First things first, before I tell you my thoughts I should tell you that this book ends on a cliffhanger (spectacular in my opinion but still a cliffhanger -C.L). Also this is only the first part of the story, you will have unanswered questions at the end of this book. So if you want to know the answers and read the whole story, you will have to read the rest of the series too. Ok now I can begin…
This was very different, in a very good way. The setting is your typical fantasy, medieval type setting, but the characters and plot line is anything but typical…
I loved the idea of characters who are pretty much the same as real humans but with longer life spans, who also have complicated, intimate, reproductive cycles. It put a very unique twist on how the characters interacted with one another and this, for me, was what separated this story out from all the rest of the fantasy books out there.
Then there’s also the magical element, -I will briefly explain the important parts. Kanaala (men who can manipulate a magical energy called Blaze through a Wielder, they can’t access the energy independently), and Wielders (females who can control Blaze Energy independently when they reach the age of twenty). It is also important to note that Kanaala’s and Wielders are graded depending on how much Blaze Energy they can manipulate/control, and Kanaala’s are the only men who can lie safely with Wielders without being burned to death literally.
The people is this book live for hundreds of years, they can’t have children unless they had been in a regular, sexual relationship for nine years. Also if couples do sleep together, they can’t go more than two weeks without sleeping together again as they will be subjected to nalka, a very painful experience which leaves most people bed bound for a few days. People under the age of twenty can’t enter a sexual relationship because the nalka usually kills them. However despite these facts, sexual relationships are still as common as they are in the real world today.
It is a little complicated but Charles has put a short glossary at the front of the book which I recommend that you read before the story, (don’t skip it, it doesn’t take long to read, and yes I’m talking to you -C.L).
Ok so I’m trying not to give too much of the story away, here’s a little on the characters… Cadra’s King is a royal, evil, (lot’s of swearing) individual. He also happens to be Prince Morghiad’s father. There are a couple of scenes in this story where you really get to see how evil this King is, and they are a little bit uncomfortable and do involve violence towards women. They are few and far between but if you don’t think you can stomach it, don’t read this book. For everyone else, the bad scenes are only there to paint the evil king, so soldier on, the rest of the story is worth it.
The main male protagonist, Prince Morghiad (More-ree-ad? -C.L)… sigh, I fell a little bit in love with this character. He starts out a little cold and emotionless but as the story progresses he turns out to be a really nice and genuine guy. He’s strong but sometimes vulnerable, but also very clever and protective. He has to outsmart his father at the end of the day, and the loyalty he get’s from his soldiers is admirable. He also takes Artemi under his wing even though it could mean death for both of them, and a very cute but not sickly cute, romance builds between the two of them.
Artemi is the main female protagonist and she is a powerful Wielder. She starts off as a very vulnerable female as she is unaware of her powers and needs Morghiad’s help to begin with. However as the story progresses she becomes a strong, independent and very entertaining character. I particularly liked the jokes and conversations between Morghiad, Silar and Artemi.
This book may seem complicated at first, but I can assure you that the story sucks you in regardless. You will lose hours reading this book. It is unusual, intriguing and I found it incredibly easy to read (despite the glossary of terms at the beginning -C.L). Apparently there are errors in this story, but I was so engrossed by the storyline and the characters I didn’t notice them at all as I was reading, therefore the conclusion is that City of Blaze, book 1 is pretty fantastic.
From The Current Reviews:
The Good: ‘A lot of weird and wonderful imagination used with the different types of people etc‘, ‘Great story and pictures’, ‘absolutely incredible‘, ‘intriguing and unique fantasy, with strong, complex characters set in a fascinating world‘, ‘This was an enticing and very enjoyable first novel in a series‘, ‘this book is creative and takes unexpected turns in plot‘, ‘couldn’t put it down’, ‘excellent fantasy book’, ‘Completely addictive and utterly absorbing‘, ‘Beautifully written with intriguing characters‘, ‘A great new fantasy world. What an ending’, ‘Fantastic book, its so different and it ticks all all the boxes‘, ‘beautiful, sweet and not without a few battle scenes‘, ‘Outstanding’, ‘truly epic’, ‘Pros: a strong heroine and hero, an evil king, awesome plot, great supporting characters’, ‘completely new plot line‘, ‘:Very readable; the pages just flew by’, ‘Great characters, a fun storyline, and a cute mostly drama free romance‘, ‘I loved the world and the different concept of sexual relations as well as the magic created‘, ‘awesome’, ‘The world was completely unique and so detailed‘, ‘Started slow but finished with a bang’.
The Bad: ‘The only downside to the story is the abrupt ending‘, ‘Needs more editing. Some errors, not too bad, and too many sections that are just solid walls of text‘, ‘The beginning is horrible‘, ‘I enjoyed the setting and a novel magic structure, but I found the story itself to be so incredibly implausible that I simply couldn’t get into the story‘, ‘a few uncomfortable scenes in this book’, ‘it went from four stars to two stars simply because of the ending’, ‘a bit far fetched.’
The Darn Right Ugly: ‘The first half was almost painful to read.’
The Unicorns: ‘Oh. My. God. What just happened? This book. Is. Awesome.‘, ‘H.O. Charles is a genius and a brilliant writer‘, ‘One of the best fantasy books I’ve ever read!‘, ‘Phenomenal fantasy novel. A+ for world building, including entire rule systems for magic. Additionally well written characters, story lines, etc.‘
Release date: June 2011
Age Range: 15+
Contains: References and descriptions of sexual encounters/relationships. References and moderate descriptions of violence.
Genre: Fantasy, Romance.
About The Book: The city is crumbling beneath a mountain of indulgences. Its soldiers find entertainment in the beds of the castle’s servants rather than fight, believing they are safe from the deadly embrace of wielders. Wars are fought to encourage otherwise absent mortality, and countless citizens suffer the terrible pangs of nalka – the hunger for intimacy. All the while, Cadra’s king concerns himself with choosing which of his disappointing concubines to execute next. The duty falls upon his son, Morghiad, to restore the city’s strength and the army’s purpose. As Morghiad attempts to do just that, he uncovers darker horrors and encounters a young servant who could either be his greatest ally or his greatest hindrance.
City of Blaze is a story of changing allegiances, self-control and love.
Where to Buy?
Amazon: Kindle Ed £1.90, Paperback £9.20.
About the Author:
Charles has spent many years at various academic institutions, and really ought to get on with writing a PhD, but frequently becomes distracted by writing fantasy fiction instead.
Hobbies include being in the sea, being by the sea and eating things that come out of the sea.
Disclaimer: The reviews and opinions above are either from online sources or my own, and have been collaborated together for the ease and benefit of potential new readers. All ratings have been collected from the date of this blog’s publishing and will potentially change in the future.