Title: This Golden Flame
Author: Emily Victoria
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Publication date: February 2nd, 2021
Flee across the sun-and-shadow islands of Eratia, where runes have the power to unleash monsters…
Seven years ago, Karis was forced to become an acolyte for the Scriptorium, the rune scholars who rule Eratia. For centuries, these Scriptmasters have sought the key to reanimating the country’s fearsome automaton army, and anyone they deem unable to help them achieve their goal is sent away…including Karis’s brother, Matthias.
Then Karis discovers a unique human-sized automaton and unintentionally wakes him up. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was created. Or why his father—Eratia’s greatest traitor—once tried to destroy the automatons.
Upon learning Matthias is being held by the Scriptorium’s sinister leader, Alix and Karis set out to rescue him and uncover the truth about Alix’s past. But when Karis is faced with an unthinkable choice, betraying everyone she cares about may be her only desperate chance to save their world.
This Golden Flame had a lot of wonderful, unique aspects of YA writing. It reminded me a lot of LIFELIKE and brought up a lot of questions of what exactly it means to be alive, human, and free. Exploring a new world where each country has access to Script, the magic to create endless opportunities, one country uses it for war and creates automatons. When one of the best creators shuts down the use of Script and the automatons, the magistrate will do anything to get it back. Flash forward 200 years and you have our main characters trying to sort out the right and wrongs of history & save the country.
The main characters, Karis and Alix, are both very well developed in my opinion. The chapters are rotating POV’s, which I always prefer, because you get a look into both their minds and personalities. Karis is a young acolyte at the Scriptorium, which she hates. She finds Alix, a sentient automaton (which is basically unique and unheard of). They embark on an adventure to find out who he is, what is he, and what his purpose is (because he was created in the before period). Karis is ace (heck yes, representation!) and Alix is basically a robot so there is very little romance in this book. Background characters are given romantic interests but it is NOT a highlight of the book, which I really appreciate. The YA standard is that there is always a romance and the main characters will always fall in love. It was nice to get away from that.
I wish this book was a series. I truly think the world was developed so well and thoroughly that it had the potential to go even more in depth and create a larger series. Of course, this is always up to the author, but I think it’s a positive to note that the book was so interesting and the world so complex that I wanted more to it. Also, there is no info dumping. The author does an amazing job letting necessary background information join the story when it makes sense to, instead of spending most of the first 5 chapters just setting the scene.
Overall, I truly enjoyed this story from debut author Emily Victoria.
Thank you to Inkyard Press and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Happy reading, folks!