Soul of Flame continues the Imdalind Series tradition of amazing characterization and complex motivations.
The book starts out almost immediately after where Book 3 left off – which is good considering the events of that book. I’ll try to make this review as spoiler free as possible.
Here, Joclyn has to work through her motivations, fears, and personal faults in order to move forward toward her destiny as described in the sights. Unfortunately, what Joclyn has seen in the sights does not bode well for her or her companions – something that Joclyn must struggle with as she discovers where she belongs and cements who she belongs with. And that’s just Jos.
The other major characters – Illyan, Ryland, Thom, Cail, Wyn, Sain, all of them are present and accounted for. And each of them gets their own bits and piece. Illyan must determine how to make his continued future with Joclyn work, Wyn struggles with what has happened to her love, Ryland is…without spoiling too much, going through Hell, and Sain? Sain gets to struggle with Illyan and Joclyn and his own personal beliefs regarding the sight and what it is/how it works in a way that will make you wonder if the man spits arsenic.
Many of the emotional scenes in the book are wonderfully described and entirely immersive. Ethington’s imagery and focus on feeling is so well connected and well flowing that you don’t realize that several pages have passed while you watch the characters interact. One of the most enchanting ‘love’ scenes that I have read in a very long while is contained within this novel. If you are looking for spectacular emotion, grab this book.
In other words, Ethington’s spectacular character development continues to shine in the novel. Joclyn and Illyan are the major ones, but everyone gets a few moments in the sun that really round out the character arcs. There are a few minor questions left regarding each personal journey, but, on the whole, a lot of the characters feel ‘accomplished.’
There is not a lot of ‘plot’ advancement in the book. We know about Edmund and his evil and that our friends/lovers/horrible father figures have to stop him from moving forward and attacking others to conquer the world in darkness and pain. Only a few days, however, actually pass in the course of the novel. Instead on focusing on the action of the battle and the confrontation, the physical side of it, Ethington focuses on what it means TO the fighters and the future. The opening salvos are fired, yes, but it’s clear that Ethington is saving the major stuff for the concluding novel (due out sometime this year according to her website). Rather than make a reader feel ripped off or disappointed, Ethington’s pacing simply makes you hungry for the conclusion. The conclusion of the novel is spectacular and sets us up perfectly to see the confrontations that are sure to happen in the final volume.
On the whole, Ethington continues to shine. The Imdalind series is a shining example of excellent characters with a complex plot. If you haven’t started reading it, go grab the first three and Soul of Flame and prepare yourself for an amazing journey.
Writing – 5/5
Characterization – 5/5
Setting – 5/5
Story – 5/5
Flow – 5/5
Value – 5/5
GET IT NOW!