Review: Cold-Forged Flame by Marie Brennan

ColdforgedBrennanPublished by: Macmillan-Tor/Forge
ISBN: 0765391384
ISBN 13: 9780765391391
Published: September 2016
Pages: 112
Format reviewed: eVersion from NetGalley
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Five out of Five

A woman is called into existence by a clan who have spilt blood in sacrifice to bring her to them. They need her to complete a task for them that others have failed at, and then they promise to release her. However, they won’t tell her who she is or where she’s come from, barely what the task involves, where it is or who it’ll deal with. Only one inexperienced young warrior tells her that it’s best if she doesn’t know… and it seems he’s thinking more for her own benefit and peace of mind, rather than being difficult, which worries her more than anything else.

They take her as close as they can get to the location and then leave her to swim the rest of a way to an island – an island that seems to have the ability to change things at will. The woman, who doesn’t remember her name, discovers that whatever controls the island seems to want to make everything as difficult as possible, so she may as well start by doing things the hard way straight off the bat. If there’s a cliff in the way, may as well climb it as trying to go around it will only lead to trouble, that sort of thing.

Along the way she meets a man who introduces himself as Aadet, who has the same goal as her in order to free his people and hopefully be able to rejoin them thanks to his bravery. Together, they brave the island and find their end goal, whilst counselling each other in survival and ultimately, doing what’s right.

I’ve enjoyed Brennan’s work since discovering her Lady Trent series, and it’s interesting and good to see her other work is just as versatile and easy to lose yourself in. The characters are developed and utterly their own in so few pages, and this is exactly what a novella should be – self contained and satisfying without feeling rushed, but also makes you wish it were longer because it’s just so enjoyable.

What I was most impressed with in this novella, is how everything turned out. Our unnamed main character seeks and strives, yet makes dedicated and impressive choices, that shows she is either vastly intelligent, or of a good heart, or both. This type of thing is warming to read, and you can’t help but smile.

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