Title: A Spark Of White Fire
Series: The Celestial Trilogy
Author: Sangu Mandanna
Genre: YA, science-fiction, fantasy
Publisher: Sky Pony
In a universe of capricious gods, dark moons, and kingdoms built on the backs of spaceships, a cursed queen sends her infant daughter away, a jealous uncle steals the throne of Kali from his nephew, and an exiled prince vows to take his crown back.
Raised alone and far away from her home on Kali, Esmae longs to return to her family. When the King of Wychstar offers to gift the unbeatable, sentient warship Titania to a warrior that can win his competition, she sees her way home: she’ll enter the competition, reveal her true identity to the world, and help her famous brother win back the crown of Kali.
It’s a great plan. Until it falls apart.
Inspired by the Mahabharata and other ancient Indian stories, A Spark of White Fire is a lush, sweeping space opera about family, curses, and the endless battle between jealousy and love.
I finished this book and was immediately ready to fight everybody who encouraged me to read it, with no warning of the emotional turmoil it was going to put me through. I’m still ready to fight them all! They know who they are and why.
But seriously, this book shoved its hand into my chest, pulled out my heart, and then dangled it in front of me and taunted me with it. It was so powerful and painful, with so much development and build up and payoff in just a few hundred pages.
I spent part of the book trying to figure out which character correlated with which mythological figure from the Mahabharata, and while some are pretty obvious, others are not so much. And after a while, it just did not seem to matter so much, because the author took the story, made it her own and created a world so immense and wonderful.
Before this novel, I never really thought a story with gods and goddesses walking among people could take place amongst the skies. Never imagined you could have gods and spaceships and prophecies in the same story, but wow, am I glad to have been proven wrong. It was so interesting and so immense – it made the story feel like a myth, even as it was set in a more science-fiction setting.
The characters were wonderfully created. Esmae was strong and fierce but so vulnerable and /yearning/, From the beginning, Max seemed like more than everyone thought and I was so glad to see his relationships and real character shine through. And the second he really saw right to the heart of Esmae, I knew I was going to love the dynamics between them. I was not wrong.
The other characters were also very fleshed out, even if we did not see them nearly as much – and I quickly grew attached to them, so every twist that came hurt me as much as it hurt the characters. Selwyn reminded me a lot of Grima Wormtongue and I had to fight back my revulsion at times. He was a very interesting character to pit against Esmae, but I also love that he was not the main antagonist.
I am absolutely sure book two is going to break my heart further, especially with how this one ended – with Esmae against the family she has spent years trying to get to – and I cannot wait to get a copy.