August 21, 2020

#BookReview: From Fire and Shadows (A Tale of Six Sources #1) by J.F. Baptista

Synopsis: A girl with a dangerous power.
A warrior they call the shadow of death.
A world divided and slowly dying.
Six-year-old Theodora grew up at the House, a place for girls born without power. Abandoned as a baby, she has no memory of her past beyond the melody that invades her dreams. So when an ancient presence starts whispering in her ear, she answers.
The reward is fire; the price is the destruction of the only life she has ever known. Yet from the loss comes a chance at a better future… if she can learn to control a power that no one seems to understand.
Across the ocean, Death's Arm warrior Kai struggles with the changes forcing him out of the shadows. With the neglect of those in power breeding dissent, he is called to do his job as their occasional assassin: cut it at the root.
But when a strange restlessness makes him question an order for the first time... he finds himself on the path he never wanted, but can no longer avoid. After all, he may be the only one capable of stopping what is coming—a war where death is just the beginning.


Rating: ⭐⭐
My Review: Another beautiful cover that I wished I would have fallen for.  The world building was great and beautiful. The issue I had with this one was the story and how it was told.  The time jumps just didn't work for me at all.  I wished that the author would have better formed. Because it felt sloppy. And I just really felt like it was two different characters.  

From the Author

What was the first inspiration behind From Fire and Shadows?
Scarification. Although I flinched from imagined pain the first time I saw it, I can't deny that the beauty of the result grabbed me. Raised white or flesh-colored marks that almost seemed natural. In the real world, people modify their bodies to express themselves or celebrate important moments in their lives. And I wondered: what if it was the other way around? What if we were born with our lives, our potential, literally written on our skin? How would such a society work? How would it be to have others expect less of you from the moment you were born? To be compared to others and found lacking? Or, on the other end, how would it be to have others fear you for something you cannot control? These questions were and still are at the basis of the development of two of the story's most important characters. Care to guess which? :)
Which character(s) did you have more fun writing about?
Ugmar: I laughed outloud while imagining his expressions in my mind. Looking back, I think he is probably my uncouscious homage to old school fantasy stories. Think Merlin from The Sword and the Stone but without the white hair and beard.
Kai's Anaman: old, dead warriors, unconcerned with other's opinions and too found of meddling into Kai's life. Think Sleeping Beauty's three fairy godmothers...wearing armor instead of dresses and swords and axes intead of magic wands.
There are mostly two type of writers. planners and pantsers. Which one are you?
To my misery, definitely a pantser. I really enjoy the feeling of discovering the story as I move along, almost as if it's already written and I am just waiting for it to be revealed to me. This process, however, makes it harder to be consistent and productive. For the second book, I'm trying a blended approach: I did a general outline of what I already know is going to happen but keep myself open to any unexpected and interesting twists that may make themselves known.
Where would you rather write? Noisy coffee shop or quiet library?
Well, I mostly write sitting on my couch or on the kitchen table :P But, between these two, quiet library all the way. I can get great ideas in noisy places or situations (great way to pass the time), but I like to be alone when I write. I need to get into "the zone" and that means being completely absorbed by what I'm doing and not feel like I have to pay attention to what is going on around me.
Do you have any writing habits that you want to share with readers?
I go over scenes in my mind before or as I write them, almost as if I'm watching it unfold in a movie. I see their body language, posture, I imagine their emotional reactions. Sometimes I do this while jogging or doing exercise (headphones on, cinematographic/epic playlist in the background). 
What's a song that you listened to while writing From Fire and Shadows?
I listened to almost everything from Shawn James. Through The Valley on repeat.

About the Author

J.F. Baptista is a lover of all things fantastic and the author of the new epic fantasy book From Fire and Shadows. When she isn't reading or writing, she is delving into minds of a different-real human-variety as a clinical psychologist. To the absolute perplexity of her family (most avid readers), she showed a passion for writing long before she discovered she actually liked to read books (the shock!). A perfect book later and her Christmas list became a want-to-read one that had all the other children confused beyond capacity. She loves the quietness of the night, the smell of wet earth and lightning storms.

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