Of Honey and Wildfires by Sarah Chorn review

Hello!  Welcome to the latest review here on the Swordsmith blog, westu hal to you.  I hope your reading for 2022 has kicked off as well as mine has, at the time of this post I am nearly at the end of my third book for the year!  I have an ambitious reading goal (for me) of 50 books this year, this includes a re read of The Wars of Light and Shadow and The Dragonlance books (a buddy read with R M Andrews).

It’s such an exciting year for books, for reading it’s going to be awesome.  The book I am going to be reviewing today is a wonderful example of indie fantasy and doing something completely different.  A wild west story turned on its head, and a story that required my soul to be mended after finishing.  Welcome to my review of the amazing Of Honey and Wildfires by Sarah Chorn!

Before we go any further, I received an electronic copy of the Songs of Sefate from Sarah in exchange for an honest review – welcome to part 1 of my reviews of The Songs of Sefate!  But first the premise.

The Premise

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.

The Review

As soon as I finished the prologue, I realized I was in for something special here.  I had heard some wonderful things about this book, and it delivered on every front and is quite a unique read as well.  I would like to start with the setting, which is an Old West setting. This conjured up some wonderful nostalgic thoughts as I read through the book, but also propelled by Sarah’s wonderful (and beautiful) prose.  The Territory as it’s known is dominated by The Company, due to the discovery of Shine which forms the magic system of sorts for the story.  Shine is a fascinating idea, an oil that can be used for anything and is also an addictive and quite dangerous.  It’s brilliant as it feels like a hard magic system with rules, the consequences of using too much shine or being affected by it are severe.

Sarah’s prose is something to be experienced, it’s immersevice, beautiful and pulls the reader into the setting very quickly.  The atmosphere created with the Old West setting is superb, the effects of the Company’s efforts to harvest Shine are really felt as this is not a particularly happy story. It’s a wonderful story as it deals with so many relevant ideas, such as life, loss, love and family, but also division and not just social division.  There is a boundary which separates The Territory from the rest of the world, almost acting like to divide class and divide rich and poor.  The worldbuilding is effective, Sarah’s prose as mentioned is wonderful at creating the world and the images but something else that makes the book so effective is at work.

I loved how the book was structured, it is a multi POV story which is excellent.  Each POV is told from a different time perspective, Arlen’s in the relative present, Cassandra’s in the past and Ianthe’s in the immediate present.  The POV’s all come together in a wonderful way and the way the story comes together is brilliant, and speaking of the characters.  Oh my goodness they are wonderful, amazing characters and all of them from the primary to the secondary characters are amazing to spend some time with.  The Arc’s of the characters, the journeys are amazing and something I urge you to experience.

So there you are, this has been my review Of Honey and Wildfires by Sarah Chorn, a big that immediately goes onto my recommended reading list.  It was a book I was pulled along by, there are some amazing moments complemented by Sarah’s beautiful prose which set this book high on the best books I have read so far.  It is something I urge you to read and experience for yourself!

That really is all from me, thank you for sticking with me through this review and for checking the blog out as well!  I really hope that you are staying safe, reading something awesome and finally westu hal.

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