Thanks to PenguinTeen for sending me a free digital early copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Title: Forged in Fire and Stars (Forged in Fire and Stars #1)
Author: Andrea Robertson
Publisher: Philomel Books
Release date: May 5, 2020
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Length: 320 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “Ara has always known about the legend of the Loresmith: the blacksmith who served alongside the kings and queens of every generation to protect the kingdom. It was her fate to inherit the title–though she never truly believed it would come to pass since the monarchy’s downfall years before.
But when the lost Princess Nimhea and Prince Eamon steal Ara from her quiet life with a mission to retake the throne–and take her place as the Loresmith–her whole world turns upside down. Their journey will take Ara on a dangerous adventure to discover new truths about her family’s legacy, and even to face the gods themselves. And with a mysterious thief as an unexpected companion, Ara must use all her skills to figure out just who she can trust, and forge the right path forward–for herself, her kingdom, and her heart.”
Um… Well, what I thought would be amazingly awesome (especially with a comp title like An Ember in the Ashes) fell completely flat and absolutely did not work for me. I had it in my mind I would DNF this book early on, but I felt like I wasn’t giving it enough of a chance. Man, do I regret that decision. When I receive early copies from publishers, I feel a bit obligated to give push through the book in order to give it a proper review. In this case, I should have just stopped but every time I picked the book up, I was getting further and further along and eventually found myself at the end… With a great amount of reluctance and very little skimming.
Don’t get me wrong though. The premise sounds absolutely wonderful and love the idea. But executive was so poor. I liked the world-building, the legends, myths, and stories of the gods. But I absolutely couldn’t care less about any of the characters. Ara really had nothing going for her outside of being the Loresmith, while Nimhea and Eamon seemed utterly underdeveloped. You just throw these characters together, yet I felt like no true friendship or bond was formed between them, outside of Nimhea and Eamon as brother and sister. And even at times, that appeared strained. I felt like I was d r a g g i n g, sloshing through this hot mess just to get to the end and say that I read it. Not to mention that the characters are traveling 99% of the time in this book and it was boring. This book starts right in the action but the thing is, I didn’t want all the action up front. Maybe that’s where my lack of connection to the characters started. I feel like I didn’t know them enough to care about them or their journey. The developing romance between the main character, Ara, and a character she meets on her journey… Again, I couldn’t care less. So dull.
It was very much a chore to pick up this book. I forced myself not to skim it, in case I didn’t miss something important. Wrong on me. I should have just went directly to the end. And the utter betrayal from one of the characters? Excuse me, where in the WORLD did that even come into play and why? It makes absolutely no sense.
We do get a few chapters where that don’t follow Ara but I struggled to see how they fit into the story besides it being from the eyes of the enemy. I didn’t feel like there was a connection between those chapters and what was happening with Ara. I’m sure my dislike of the book is causing me to miss any sort of thread to connect these stories but with everything being a struggle in this book, I don’t really care.
Incredible cover. Lovely comp titles. But an absolute miss with me. It makes me wonder if I should go back and read this author’s previous works.