Saturday, May 25, 2024

"Balefire" by Deborah Koren

Balefire centers on a refugee named Rain who has been focusing solely on survival, caring more about finding her next meal than about the fate of her homeland.  But when she finds a magical relic that Crown Prince Orin Balefire is desperate to acquire, all that changes.

Then there's Reece Railey, a loyal guard for Orin Balefire who's faced with a sudden moral choice that puts him on the prince's hit list.  Together, Reece and Rain flee with the magical relic.  They meet an aged enchanter who reveals that, although magic has long been outlawed in their kingdom, it still flourishes unseen.  If they revive old magical practices, they could use the relic to stop Orin's destructive plans.  But that will bring magic back to the surface all across the kingdom, Orin could twist it in ways that would destroy everyone. 

This book is adult fantasy, not YA, but that doesn't mean it's filled with "adults-only" content.  The book centers on a firm, platonic friendship between the two main characters, though there is a romance between some side characters.  There is enough violence that I am not sure I'll hand this to my tween, but I bought my older teen son a copy of his own, and he enjoyed it.  This isn't "Christian fantasy," and does have some bad language, but I can recommend it for older teens and adults without a qualm.

Particularly Good Bits:

"The world is full of people, working together, working against each other, working deliberately, and many times working unintentionally toward ends of which they’re not even aware. You can only be here and now, doing this one thing" (p. 213-214).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG-16 for violence, torture, a sprinkling of cuss words, and very very mild innuendo (such as a man missing the woman who "warms his bed" -- nothing smuttier than that).

Full disclosure: Deborah Koren is my best friend, and I edited and proofread this book.


What do you think?

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