Book Review | Of Honey & Wildfires by Sarah Chorn

 

Some Details about the Book

Book | of Honey & Wildfires

Author | Sarah Chorn

Pub Date | 28 April 2020

Print Length | 247 pages

What is the book about?

From the moment the first settler dug a well and struck a lode of shine, the world changed. Now, everything revolves around that magical oil.

What began as a simple scouting expedition becomes a life-changing ordeal for Arlen Esco. The son of a powerful mogul, Arlen is kidnapped and forced to confront uncomfortable truths his father has kept hidden. In his hands lies a decision that will determine the fate of everyone he loves—and impact the lives of every person in Shine Territory.

The daughter of an infamous saboteur and outlaw, Cassandra has her own dangerous secrets to protect. When the lives of those she loves are threatened, she realizes that she is uniquely placed to change the balance of power in Shine Territory once and for all.

Secrets breed more secrets. Somehow, Arlen and Cassandra must find their own truths in the middle of a garden of lies.

Review

Sarah Chorn is one of those writers that I have had on my radar for quite some time. In fact, she was one of the first books that I bought when I started this site, but unfortunately, I have had some difficulty finding the time to actually read her books.

Big Mistake, or maybe not! Because sometimes, you need to have that right set of circumstances which mean that you enjoy the book to its full potential, and I think that this was the right time for this book.

As an editor, Sarah Chorn has been involved with some of my favorite books, and now, as an author she has written one of my favorite books.

I have literally only just finished reading this book, so as I am writing this review, you are getting my thoughts unadulterated, without the time to think of one liners or superlatives to try and describe the book.

When you see a review, how many times do you see the line ‘I wanted to like this book but….’ Well I am going to use that line. I wanted to like this book but…… for the life of me I did not expect to like this book as much as I did! It is utterly gorgeous, and I was taken aback by how beautiful the writing is in the book. In fact, just how good everything is in this book. I most certainly did not expect that!

I suspect that if you are reading this, you may have done some investigation of what the book is about. It is a kind of weird west setting, and by that it uses a fantasy version of the wild west to tell its story. However, the wild west that Sarah Chorn writes about is full of colour. She does not give you a name for the people that live in this world. They are humanoid, but their skin, hair and eye tones are made up of the colour of the rainbow. There are green people, orange, violet etc etc..

The book primarily deals with a number of subjects that all have relevance in the real world, life, loss, love, and family, which I am sure you will have seen in previous reviews. But in addition to that, for me, I also recognised division. Not just between class, but between each other, which seemed to be personified by the boundary, an invisible construct that separates the rich inhabitants of the world that Sarah Chorn has built, from the poor. However, it also signifies the division between those that we hold dear and the boundaries that we impose or that are imposed upon us.

One of the things that I found intriguing in the book, is the use of certain fantasy stalwarts, like the magic. Sarah Chorn cleverly does not use a magic system per se. Rather, she uses a magical substance called Shine, which is used for a myriad of purposes and is intrinsic in everything that the world relies upon, from healing to flavouring food. It also has mundane uses like powering lamps, or heating the house. However, it also has a darker side, in that people can become addicted to it, or that it is used for weapons. She also uses other aspects of the fantasy genre, like the unseen dark overlord that rules the land, in the form of Matthew Esco, who whilst being out of sight for most of the book, is a constant presence throughout, and when he does finally enter the story, he is the epitome of the dark overlord.

The structure of the book is interesting too. The story is told by multiple characters in different time periods. For instance, Arlen’s story is told in the relative present, whilst Cassandra’s is told from the past. However, it constantly hurtles towards the present like a train navigating to it's ultimate destination and bringing us into the present, And then there is Ianthe’s story, which is told in the immediate present. All these stories intersect in some way to finally meet.

In addition to this, the characters are so well written, you can virtually hear them breathing.

As I said earlier, Sarah Chorn's prose is something of beauty. She can make even the mundane sound beguiling. She will effortlessly slip from emotive language that pulls at the heart to describing chopping a tree into logs in the blink of an eye, and I almost cried at that! She is able to convey a sense of tension and foreboding whilst richly describing a walk through a moonlit meadow. It's just.... stunning. 

I must say, I was swept along by this book. By the shine of Sarah Chorn’s beautiful writing style, the depth of her story, and I think that this is one of those books that will stay lodged in my head for quite some time.

 

 

 

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