ARC Review: THIS GOLDEN FLAME by Emily Victoria

I received a review copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Title in white on gold geometric designs on turquoise
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 5 stars
Series: standalone


Book cover for THIS GOLDEN FLAME: title in white on turquoise with gold geometric lines

Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army.

In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible: she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father – their nation’s greatest traitor – once tried to destroy the automatons.

Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn’t just trying to control Karis; it’s hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother . . . and the secret that’s held her country in its power for centuries.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


I always get a bit nervous when starting highly anticipated release in case it doesn’t live up to it, but THIS GOLDEN FLAME was an absolute delight to read. I had intended to read this over a few evenings, but I need a distraction one afternoon, and this book was the perfect thing for that.

The magic was what really captured me in this book. It’s not a power people carry in them and can use as they wish. Instead, it’s a very hard, psuedo-scientific magic based on runes that control the automatons. I loved the rules and the elegance of the gold runes – plus anything that feels vaguely science-y and doesn’t blatantly contradict the law of physics is a win for my nerdy heart! It was a lot of fun, and made the world more egalitarian in terms of who could use magic – until the politics of the powerful Scriptorium came in.

The book is certainly fantasy, and it’s not steampunk at all. Instead, the world is inspired by Ancient Greece. Maybe it’s just the gorgeous UK cover, but the book did feel very turquoise and gold to be – coolly stylish, the world both very advanced but also old at the same time.

There was such a sense of history. With the strong mystery thread about why Alix’s father acted as he did, the world of two hundred years ago was present throughout Alix’s memories. It hung over them, filling out the world so it had some depth.

The main character is ace-sexual! It’s not something focused on at all by the story, just part of Karis’ character that’s raised by a few lines. However, seeing a main character in YA who has no inclination towards finding a romantic partner was so nice. There always seems to be romance in YA, so to have a character be as completely uninterested in it, and not quite understanding the romantic attractions around her, felt like seeing teenage me in the pages.

I cannot wait to see what Emily Victoria writes next!

Read my reviews of other books by Emily Victoria:


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