The Flame of Battle ARC Review

The Flame of Battle (Dragonriders of Skala #1)Dyrfinna knows that she wants to serve on the Queen’s army, and she proves her worth when she manages to save herself and her younger sister from a wild wolf attack. Once she is in the army, she is thrown into the midst of a war against the child-killers. Their enemies killed the Queen’s daughter, so the Queen killed their King’s son. Both are constantly fighting on the battlefield, but Dyrfinna’s group has to fight harder because the other army is larger. She leads her troops on the hard road to victory, but then an incompetent commander is raised over her. Now, she must fight the people who she is supposed to be fighting with, just to make them listen to her and allow her to lead them again. One wrong move, one break in concentration to stay calm, and they will use it against her to get rid of her.

It took me a while to get into this book because it started off slowly, but once I got past the first 5-7 chapters, I sped through the rest of the novel. Dyrfinna is a strong female main character, and she is determined to lead her Vikings to victory. The action scenes in this novel were lively and addictive, keeping me going throughout the entire story.

Besides the rough start, the rest of the plot was smooth. The entire book was in Dyrfinna’s POV, which allowed for each character to be developed in her eyes. Speaking of character development, this book does it beautifully. Dyrfinna transforms into a young girl with a dream of going with the soldiers and dragon-riders, to a mature woman who knows how to properly command her fleet. When disappointment comes her way, she no longer simply becomes crushed and goes into hiding, but stands up and tries again. I also felt special, almost as if I was a member of her family, when I read about her relationship with her father, mother, and younger sister.

Dyrfinna’s friends and comrades are all unique in their own way, and I enjoyed reading their stories. I wished that the romance had not been included though. It seemed a bit pointless, given that Dyrfinna would never actually choose to be with her love interest since it would hurt her friend. This was not a focal point of the story though, so it was definitely easy to move on from.

The world-building in this novel was amazing in some places and a bit less descriptive in others I loved being able to read the Queen’s story and understand how her army worked before truly getting into her part of the story. When Dyrfinna is at home and in certain places on her journey, the scenery is described so much that I could almost fall right into the book. Then, during the fighting scenes, it would sometimes be difficult to determine where Dyrfinna actually was at any given moment. When she is flying, I was expecting a bit more description of what she sees, and this was not really explained either. This did not take away from my enjoyment of the story, but for people who love extreme worldbuilding, they might find this disappointing.

I read the advanced version of this novel so I cannot truly grade it on grammar errors, but I only noticed one or two in the entire story. This truly showed me how much time Creeden and Cordell put into weaving this story.

Overall, I do not have any complaints about the story besides the fact that I felt that the beginning was a bit slow. This was still an amazing fantasy read.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new fantasy YA/NA novel with a strong female main character.

I received an advanced copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 4/5

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