Rating: 2 stars out of 5
When the emperor has his father killed, it’s the breaking point for Haruo, who sets out from the island of dragon shifters where he lives in search of revenge. The tournament being held to marry off the emperor’s son seems a perfect opportunity—what better way to get close to the father than through the son, after all.
Three things drew me to this story. That incredible cover, the author, and that synopsis. I have read Caitlin Ricci’s stories before and enjoyed them. That fact, combined with the intriguing plot, had me eagerly starting into chapter one.
What I found was more along the lines of an author’s outline for a novella than an actual story that was complete with fleshed out characters, relationships that had some depth to them, back histories that went beyond the shallow, and a foundation that made some sense.
This surprised me considering the author, which is why Flamecaller seems more like an outline of a story than an actual one. The potential here is marvelous, especially with regard to the emperor’s son. But do we get any of the necessary background on him to make sense of his actions or subsequent feelings? No. Does the author give the readers any understanding of how certain important plot elements as I will call them (no spoilers) run genetically through family lines? No. Nothing. She just throws facts out there and leaves them unsupported and whole sections of her story moorless. That goes for the whole island is crying thing as well and Haruo’s family. See statement above.
I won’t even get started on that ending which is preposterous no matter how fairy tale-ish this story became.
No, my hope is that sometime in the future, this gets pulled back, and properly rewritten into the novel it’s crying out to be. Unless you are a hardcore Caitlin Ricci fan, I’d wait and see if that happens to read this story imo.
Cover Art :Michelle Seaver. This cover is absolutely gorgeous as well as pertinent to the story. It’s one of the things that drew me to read the blurb. Love it.
ebook, 45 pages
Published March 14th 2018 by Less Than Three Press
Edition Language English