Incendiary (Hollow Crown #1)
Author: Zoraida Córdova
Genres: YA fiction, fantasy
Series: Hollow Crown
We are nearing the end of Wyrd and Wonder, and this month went by so fast for me! I'll be able to fit in one more review after this, and then I'll post a recap of my activity. I'm excited to say Incendiary has been one of my favorites for the past month. Here are my thought on the book.
Renata Convida was a young girl when she was taken from her family and used as a weapon for the king. As one of the feared Robari, Renata is able to steal memories from the people she touches, and she used that power against her own people. Years later, Renata is part of the Whisper rebellion against the king, but she can’t escape the memories she’s taken. She struggles to amend her past mistakes despite the mistrust and hatred she receives from the Whispers.
When Dez, the leader of her unit, is taken captive, Renata must return to the place she was held captive. Completing her mission will mean digging up a past she’s kept buried for years, but what Renata finds could end the war.
When I picked up Incendiary, I expected an exciting YA novel. I did not expect a riveting story about guilt, vengeance, and redemption. Renata narrates a fast-paced story full of action, that focuses on her internal struggle to reconcile with her past. Renata was only a child when she was manipulated into stealing other people’s memories, but she still lives with her guilt.
Incendiary has a lot of elements typically found in YA fantasy, but I thought there was enough complexity to interest adults. Not to mention, some of the topics addressed in the book might make it more appropriate for an older audience. Violence, suicide, sex, genocide, and abuse are all topics present in the story and should be considered before picking it up.
I loved that this story is about Renata rediscovering her past. As the reader, we are given limited knowledge based on what she knows in the present because Renata had to lock away her past memories to keep herself sane. I loved the suspense and mystery brought on by what Renata might discover, and what she should already know.
My only criticism for this book is that there is very little strategizing discussed. Renata often takes action with little thought, which seems unrealistic in the context of war. This might not bother other readers and could be attributed to Renata’s tendency to jump to conclusions. Renata is a well-developed narrator, with flaws and a limited perspective that adds depth to the story.
Overall, I give Incendiary a 4 out of 5 stars. I loved this story with all of its twists and turns and can’t wait for the rest of the series to come out. I recommend this book to any fan of fantasy, but readers should be aware of possible triggering content before picking it up.