ARC Review: “Incendiary” by Zoraida Córdova

I picked up an ARC of this book at my local indie bookstore.

Hello, what are you DOING with your life if you haven’t put this book on your TBR? Be a dear and pick this book up when it releases. This is the first book I’ve read by Córdova and I’m regretting not discovering her earlier or reading her earlier work. Like hello, what was I thinking?

IncendiaryTitle: Incendiary (Hollow Crown #1)
Author: Zoraida Córdova
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Expected release date: April 28, 2020
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Length: 384 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) Renata Convida was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King’s Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a Robari, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata’s ability to steal memories from royal enemies enabled the King’s Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.

Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown and helping the remaining Moria escape the kingdom bent on their destruction. The Whispers may have rescued Renata from the palace years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred–or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she turned “hollow” during her time in the palace.

When Dez, the commander of her unit, is taken captive by the notorious Sangrado Prince, Renata will do anything to save the boy whose love makes her place among the Whispers bearable. But a disastrous rescue attempt means Renata must return to the palace under cover and complete Dez’s top secret mission. Can Renata convince her former captors that she remains loyal, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.

But returning to the palace stirs childhood memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the entire fate of the kingdom–and end the war that has cost her everything.”

new four and a half stars

new my thoughts

Incendiary is incredibly unique. I love the world-building, the writing, these characters! I read that this is like a reimagining of the Spanish Inquisition. I can’t say whether or not that’s true as I don’t know much about the Spanish Inquisition historically. I made some predictions midway through the book and (shocker!) was right about one major one. The other ones really blew me out of the water. I love Ren because while she has such a powerful and scary gift, she remains incredibly unsure of herself. She has not had a kind life and the small kindnesses shown to her when she was younger twist her current reality into something she can’t quite discern if it’s true or not. Really such a clever way to muddle memories of her past and have her struggle to believe all the revelations throughout the book.

We see Ren’s internal struggle, knowing that while her childhood was filled with taking people’s memories she also had a safe place to live. The case wasn’t so when she was with the Whispers, who disliked her because of her magic. It was really interesting to see how Ren reacted when she returned to the palace and isn’t sure who to trust or what to believe. I think she resorts a bit to how she felt and acted as a child in order to survive her current situation. Also, I felt like the friends she thought were her friends may not have been at all. I’m still hesitant to believe some of the events that took place toward the last few chapters.

The ending as a whole felt a bit rushed. I’m glad there was some explanation regarding a certain character but I still have a lot of questions! Hopefully they’ll be answered in book 2!

You can pre-order this book from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository (U.K. edition), or find it at your local indie with IndieBound. Also, if you’ve put your detective skills to use, there are at least two monthly YA book boxes that feature this book in their upcoming boxes.

6 thoughts on “ARC Review: “Incendiary” by Zoraida Córdova

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