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Book Review: The Fires of Time

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“Young mage Kya has a list of questions she longs to ask her guardian Dwen, who took her from her parents as a baby, allegedly to protect her from the Wooden King. Why can’t she leave the imprisonment of the walls of Raftengrad? Why does he allow her friendship with Thyme, a ghost girl who clearly makes him uncomfortable? Why has he spent her entire life training her to fight with magic? And how did he know the oil mage who tried to kill her?

Then Kya discovers a book about her forgotten home across the Serpent Sea, and she hatches a plan to escape her captor. With the help of a rare cricker and accompanied by Thyme, Kya breaks the seal of the Journey Stones, hoping to find freedom in Myrsguard, where she was born.

But instead of freedom, Kya finds trouble in the land once ruled by the All-Queen. The invasion of the Wooden King is imminent, and her role in the war was put into motion long ago. Before long, she’s caught in the middle of a deadly struggle that can have catastrophic consequences. Now, Kya realizes by trying to run from Dwen, she may have run straight into something far worse.”

Title: The Fires of Time

Series: The Wooden Empire Series #1

Author: Alexander Wyatt

Page Count: 505

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Date Read: July 27th, 2023

I’d be lying if I said the beautiful cover of The Fires of Time isn’t what initially caught my eye. When I was building my SPFBO-9 list it was one of the first ones I added simply from the cover art alone. Not that the story didn’t sound interesting as well.
I was able to fit this one into the month of July because I opted for the audiobook version narrated by Jessica Gurd. I honestly did struggle getting this one started I think because it was both a new to me author as well as a new to me narrator. Not that either were bad but I just had trouble focusing the first several chapters. I was about 8 chapters in and decided to start over now that I was getting more familiar with both. This did end up helping me focus more.
I’d also like to say this story gave me strong vibes similar to Neil Gaiman reads. I went through a bit of a binge on reading Gaiman books a couple of years ago and I just had an overall feel to this worlds magic and characters like those reads. This is a very magical and imaginative story by Alexander Wyatt.
The pacing was good overall. As I mentioned I did struggle a bit with staying focused. But I think that was due to my own lack of familiarity for both the author and narrator. There aren’t really any issues with names or writing style that existed to trip me up. The only thing I will mention is the use of the character name Thyme. I don’t think this would be a very big issue with a visual read but on the audio it did trip me up once in awhile not knowing whether I was hearing Time or Thyme depending on the context.
The worldbuilding but a strong aspect to this story. It was certainly a different type of magical world imagined and explained by the author. I found the crickers and magic of this world in general interesting. But the relationship of the crickers is what stands out the most to me.
The character development was another strong aspect within The Fires of Time. Without doubt Kya was probably the most interesting character being our main protagonist. However, there are some really good supporting characters in The Fires of Time as well such as the previously mentioned Thyme, Dwen and even Rowan. And to an extent even the various crickers. The character development gives an a nice arc for Kya as we see her growth fairly clearly and by the end learn more about her origin and what makes her tick. Another point I’d like to make is a good book will give is not only memorable heroes but also villains and this story has a couple of those!
In the end, I did enjoy the story and it’s characters. It didn’t score higher in my mind simply because it didn’t grab me like some other reads have in the past. This is strictly due to my own personal opinions and preferences and shouldn’t reflect on Alexanders writing ability or imagination. This was a good read!
As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, I think I would recommend The Fires of Time to fans of Neil Gaiman. Not as a simply copy or port of his writings but along those same avenues of imagination and storytelling. I feel it’s worth readers giving it a chance!

World Building 4/5
Pacing 4/5
Character Development 4.5/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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