ARC Review: A CONSUMING FIRE by Laura E. Weymouth

I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Title in white of orange-red graphic of a girl holding a knife
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: standalone

Blurb:

Book cover for A CONSUMING FIRE: title in white on red with a girl holding a bone knife

Weatherell girls aren’t supposed to die.

Once every eighteen years, the isolated forest village of Weatherell is asked to send one girl to the god of the mountain to give a sacrifice before returning home. Twins Anya and Ilva Astraea are raised with this destiny in mind, and when their time comes, spirited Ilva volunteers to go. Her devoted sister Anya is left at home to pray for Ilva’s safe return. But Anya’s prayers are denied.

With her sister dead, Anya volunteers to make a journey of her own to visit the god of the mountain. But unlike her sister, sacrifice is the furthest thing from Anya’s mind. Anya has no intention of giving anything more to the god, or of letting any other girl do so ever again. Anya Astraea has not set out to placate a god. She’s set out to kill one.

Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Review:

A CONSUMING FIRE is a book about grief, sisters, and the burning fire of those who see injustice and wish to right it. It is about those who stand up in the face of a religion so twisted it forgets everything but domination and control. This is for those who are angry with religion that is desecrating the things they hold as the core of their faith and for those who want to burn down all those who and the institutions that perpetuate injustice and inequality.

The book is set in an alternative England. In this world, the Romans stayed much longer but were chased off by the Brythonic natives when they resurrected an old god. Based on the fact that there’s a university at Oxford, the book is set somewhere in the High Medieval Period, but as it’s clearly a very alternative history, there’s not much point trying to pin the setting down! It’s historical, in the same “very much not supposed to directly real history” of her previous two books.

Even though Christianity was chased off with the Romans, the natives have kept the Bible, renamed it, and twisted it to fit the pagan god. I liked this way of really showing how religion can be twisted for control, by juxtaposing scripture that a lot of people will recognise with a religion that the self-same scripture would absolutely demand a rejection of (were it read right and not by those with agendas! But, of course, the ability to read Latin is highly controlled, just like the Medieval Church did, in order to control the people.)

Alongside this tale of religious corruption is one of family, both blood and found. Anya is trying to avenge her sister and then meets a thief and the family that took him in, seeing what love looks like to different people. It is also about seeing all of someone and how much they try to be the best version of themselves, and loving them even when they falter, even when you see their flaws.


Read my reviews of other books by Laura E. Weymouth:

Standalones:

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