Flame and Sparrow by S. M. Gaither was so much more than I imagined.

Now I have been very much looking forward to this book since it was announced, but holy moly did it ever knock my expectations out of the park. Prior to starting this book, I have been in a brutal reading slump, particularly directed towards fantasy which is usually my main genre. So talk about making my reading life difficult. Not to mention frustrating. Flame and Sparrow is the fantasy book to finally knock me out of my struggle to read fantasy. It absolutely blew me away. Like I am going to be living in this world in my head for the foreseeable future now because I’m just staggered by what I read.

Karys and her merry band of rebel outlaws have one goal. To destroy the Gods that they so vehemently hate. The Gods have become more enmeshed in society, worshipped by the majority while those who don’t are punished and considered outsiders. The group also fights for Karys’ sister Savna, who is considered dead in pursuit of their cause, though Karys still hangs onto a small, though futile hope that she somehow survived. All she has left of her sister is a sparrow necklace with magical properties she uses to disguise herself. This is because Karys is also elven with powers who must hide what she is more often than not to avoid persecution. The elves lost the majority of their magic in what is known as The Fall, which vastly reduced their power and left many with none at all.

Having had no success in destroying the Gods thus far, Karys comes up with a new plan as she stands on deaths door and is granted the presence of a God himself. Infiltrate the Gods from within by making a deal to serve them. Marked by the God she made the deal with, Karys is summoned one night to finally come to the divine realms to begin her servitude and she sets off on her own, leaving her group of companions behind. Here she is faced with a number of trials from the Middle Gods of the Shade Court so she can ascend in order to join them. This made for exciting adventures and mind stretching riddles which I loved and kept the pacing of the book flying.

Karys was a strong, independent female main character that I really enjoyed. My only potential complaint would be that I wish there were more points of view throughout the book than just hers, but this is more a matter of preference than having a problem with Karys. I really enjoyed her as a character and loved that she was both tough and hung up on her vendetta for revenge against the Gods, while also finding herself torn as she got to know some of them better. It made for great character development and I feel she grew so much throughout the course of Flame and Sparrow.

Then there’s Dravyn. From the moment of his first scene I was immediately a simp for him. I had no idea if he would be a meaningful character at all in this book, but by golly did I hope he was going to end up being the love interest. Sarcastic, broody, and yet hidden layers of softness and caring. Luckily there was plenty of Dravyn throughout the book and I got my fill of him which only served to make him grow on me even more.

And of course I was a sucker for the sarcastic, shit disturbing wench that was Valas. I wish I could say I was surprised but I’m such a sucker for this type of personality and I loved every minute of his presence in this book. He easily ended up being one of my favourites and I absolutely lived for the chaos he exuded.

I also can’t forget Moth because, let’s be real, he’s the drama queen we all needed in our lives. I absolutely adore an animal (or animal-like in this case) companion and Moth stole the show (or book). He was also chaos personified and just the most dramatic griffin imaginable. I loved him and just wanted more of him at every step. He just made my heart so full with his every appearance, especially with how blatantly he showed how much he cared about the people in his life.

I’m including a quote here because it hit me so hard right in the feels and was so perfect in my opinions:

“And that was it for you, hm?” My smile was skeptical. “You really fell for that?”

“Wildfire…” He lifted my hand and planted a soft kiss on my knuckles. “I don’t think I ever stood a chance.”

The awwww that came out of me was rather undignified. As simple as the statement is, it was so perfect for the moment and the characters (I’m not going to elaborate on who for the sake of avoiding spoilers so the anonymity of it is perfect and intentional).

And holy crap the way this book ended. Not exactly a cliffhanger in the typical sense, but I CANNOT WAIT FOR MORE. It absolutely sucked me in and now I find myself more than a little obsessed with this book and where the series might go. I need the sequel and I need it now because I desperately want to see what comes next.


By Danielle Plant

An avid reader and runner. I like to spend my spare time with my dogs Reese and Orion.

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