Thursday, August 20, 2020

Review - Incendiary (Hollow Crown, #1) by Zoraida Córdova


 Title: Incendiary (Hollow Crown, #1)
Author: Zoraida Córdova
Pages: 464
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release Date: 28th April 2020
Blurb from Goodreads:

I am Renata Convida.
I have lived a hundred stolen lives.
Now I live my own.

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.

My Review:
 *I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley*

Renata Convida is a Robari - she has the ability to take people's memories. This power means that she is feared by everyone, even the other magical Moria.

When she was a child, Renata was stolen from her parents and taken to the royal palace. The King's Justice used Renata to take memories from the king's enemies in the war against the Moria.

Then Renata was rescued from the palace by the Whispers, who are a group of Moria working against the king.

Except for Dez, the commander of Renata's unit, most of the Whispers don't trust her. When Dez is captured by the prince, Renata tries to save him, but fails. Vowing to complete Dez's mission and protect the Moria, Renata finds herself back in the palace in the grasp of the Justice.

Can Renata complete her mission without anyone uncovering the real reason for being at the palace?

Can Renata save the Moria?

Having heard lots of praise for the author, and being intrigued by the Spanish Inquisition vibes of the book, I was very much looking forward to reading this. However, I ended up being disappointed, unfortunately.

Renata was a good protagonist, and I felt sorry for her at times with how mistrusted she was and how she was taken away from her family. However, I did struggle to connect with Renata at times.

Leo was probably my favourite character and his scenes were enjoyable to read. I liked his relationship with Renata and how she wasn't sure whether or not to trust him.

The setting and concept of the Moria was interesting. I would like to read more about the Moria and their powers.

The plot was mixed for me, but I did like it at the beginning. However, after a while I did find myself losing interest once Renata was at the palace. I wasn't as invested in what happened as I should have been, which may be due to me predicting most of the plot twists, which was very disappointing.

The writing style was easy to follow most of the time, but there were a few occasions where I felt that something was rushed or scenes jumped unexpectedly. However, as I read an eARC version of this book that may have changed in the final version.

I'm really disappointed that I didn't enjoy this more as I feel it had a lot of potential, but this doesn't stand out from other YA fantasy books for me.

Overall, this was a mixed read for me.


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