A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna is the first book in the Celestial Trilogy. This review will be spoiler-free.
Growing up orphaned and far from her home, Esmae longs to meet the family that doesn’t know she exists. When the King of Wychstar finally gives her the perfect opportunity, Esmae enters the competition for an indestructible warship, comes face to face with her family, and reveals who she really is.
Except things are never that simple.
Her family has been betrayed and exiled from their home. It is up to Esmae to help them win back the throne from their traitorous uncle and the jealous prince at his side. Will Esmae be able to maneuver the gods, the curses, and the battles she faces, or will everything fall apart around her?
Heartbroken. That’s it. That’s the review.
I am completely and utterly heartbroken.
No, but really. I loved this book so much. This was not a book I EVER would have picked out for myself. Based on the cover, the title, and the description, it just did not seem like my cup of tea. I’m not a sci-fi person. I’ve never read a space opera.
But I am so grateful that I did pick it up. I got an ARC of the sequel, so obviously, I had to go back and read the first one. But this book was amazing. If the rest of the trilogy is as good as this one, I can see myself adding it to my list of favorite series of all time.
Mandanna created a world that sucked me in and held me from the very first word until the very last. There was so much going on and so much history to this world that I just wanted more and more. I was really able to dive into this world and just experience it. She answered the questions we needed her to, but didn’t bombard the reader with too many details which would have made the story drag.
Esmae is such a cool character to follow. She was strong and determined. She thought she had everything planned out, but when new challenges got tossed at her, she handled them exactly the way I thought she should. Her character arc was one of my favorite things about it. She grew and learned so much throughout the book. She kept her own secrets from the reader until the perfect time to reveal them.
This story just predictable enough to make me excited when I guessed something right, but there were so many twists and turns that I did not see coming that it kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.
The writing of this story was something that I found myself really enjoying. There were a few typos as there are with most books, but there wasn’t anything too major that it ruined the flow for me. The pacing, worldbuilding, flow, and description was all done beautifully.
I don’t know if I have anything negative to say about this book. There were events in this book that I don’t agree with (as in, they ripped out my heart and stomped on it), but that’s all part of a great book.
I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars and HIGHLY recommend it to everyone. This book has completely changed my opinion on sci-fi as a genre and I am so glad I read it.
Also, I have theories about the second book, which I am about to start and a review will be coming soon for, and I really, really hope I am right. We will see.