Embers of Heaven by Alma Alexander
Sky Warrior Book Publishing, LLC. – March 19, 2012
BLURB: The International Bestselling Sequel to The Secrets of Jin-shei
Four hundred years after The Secrets of Jin-shei, the Syai Empire is on the brink of civil war. A new voice preaching equality promises hope for the downtrodden, but the ensuing people’s revolution brings terror, reeducation camps, and death to anyone embracing the old ways. An outsider and a child of two worlds, Amais searches for the magical bond of jin-shei, the women’s oath, in her ancestral home of Syai, unaware that her quest will bring her to the very person who may destroy her and her family. And yet, she must face him, or all hope for Syai will be lost…
HEAT RATING – 1
REVIEW RATING: 4.5 stars
(Note from reviewer: I’m not sure that the romantic elements are quite strong enough for the parameters of this group. Personal rating: 5 stars)
REVIEW BY: Ginger Myrick
EMBERS OF HEAVEN is a work of historical fantasy set in Syai (an alternate China) in the mid-twentieth century during a transitional age between the old and new systems of rule. Amais is the protagonist who has been groomed her entire life by her grandmother, an exiled relic of the Imperial era, for the task of reviving jin-shei. Amais accepts her destiny and returns to her ancestral homeland determined to find the revered sisterhood and everything it entails. There she experiences disillusionment, regret, purpose, fulfillment, and love in all of its forms.
Iloh and Xuan are the two men vying for Amias’s affections. Iloh is revolutionary leader of the Golden Rising and her first love, and Xuan is a chance encounter who becomes co-conspirator and steadfast husband who only wants to keep her from harm. Although the relationship between Amais and Iloh is a constant presence and an entity in itself throughout, in all fairness, I am not sure that the amatory elements between Amais and her male interests are as strong or pervasive as readers in this group have grown to expect. But there is another element of romance that dominates the entire book—the romance of a bygone age—which Alexander brings to life in glorious fashion.
Alma Alexander is not a writer, she is a poet. Her writing is lyrical and mesmerizing, evoking a dreamy, otherworldly feel. Her scenes are so beautifully wrought that, due the sheer musicality of her writing, I often had trouble reading the words through the tears in my eyes. She brings to life all of the passionate zeal and fervor for the concept of idealism, cunningly set against the backdrop of harsh and sometimes brutal reality of rebellion, but also provides a constant reminder that even in the throes of destruction, we are capable of great humanity. Hope, promise, and the sacred, unspoken bonds of humankind can be summed up by this one quote from the book:
“No matter what they put you through, when they break your body or poison your mind—if you can hold on to a single warm memory that you treasure, it can be your passage back to the world of light. Those memories are the embers of heaven, and from them life and love can kindle again.”
–The Song of the Nightingale
I eagerly look forward to reading The Secrets of Jin-shei, the first book of the series.
Thanks to the author for providing an ebook. I was not monetarily compensated for my review.
p.s. This is my first official review for which I had to actually follow a guideline. Please forgive me if I botched it too badly. I promise to get better in time!
**$2.99 Kindle edition
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
Ginger Myrick was born and raised in Southern California. She is a lifetime reader of romantic historical fiction who recently (and quite unexpectedly) discovered a talent for writing it. Although having researched, written, and self-published her first novel, EL REY: A NOVEL OF RENAISSANCE IBERIA, in just under two years, she still does not consider herself a writer. She recently took first prize in the Rosetta Literary Contest 2012 with THE CONVERSO, a novelette chosen from a field of worldwide submissions. Along with the promotion for El Rey, The Converso, and three other TALES FROM RENAISSANCE IBERIA, she is currently crafting her second novel, which takes place in the early 15th century during the reign of King Henry V of England. website: http://gingermyrick.com/ Twitter: @ginger_myrick Facebook: Ginger Myrick