Four years have passed since the five royal sisters—daughters of the king—worked together to restore their father to health and to the throne while fracturing the bonds among themselves almost irreparably. Only Bluebell remains at home, dutifully serving as heir to her father’s kingdom. Rose has been cast aside by her former husband and hides in exile with her aunt, separated forever from her beloved daughter, Rowan. Ash wanders the distant wastes with her teacher, learning magic and hunting dragons, determined that the dread fate she has foreseen for herself and her loved ones never comes to pass. Ivy rules over a prosperous seaport, married to an aged husband she hates yet finding delight in her two young sons and a handsome captain of the guard. And as for Willow, she hides the most dangerous secret of all—one that could destroy all that the sisters once sought to save.
This book took me a while to get into but that may be partly my fault as it’s the 2nd book of the series and I hadn’t read the first one so I found it a little tough to connect with all the characters at first. That being said, I honestly think you don’t really need to read the first book to pick up this one, enough background information and context is given throughout so that it’s easy enough to piece together previous events. So, if like me, you want to dive headlong into the story starting with this book, I don’t really foresee many hardships as far as being able to follow along with the story itself.
Sisters of the Fire isn’t really a single story, but rather several different stories as we follow the lives of five royal sisters who are leading very different lives. For various reasons they’re mostly separated and don’t spend much time with each other, some of them not having seen each other for years.
I thought things were great as far as character development, each of the sisters experiences some growth although some more than others. I really appreciated Bluebell’s journey, especially. At the beginning she’s stubborn to a fault and such a tough nut to crack. She obviously does care about people but she finds it hard to be vulnerable. A lot of that changes by the end of this volume as she learns that sometimes loving others can give you strength instead of making you weak.
I also really appreciated that the character arcs were not always positive ones. The stories of Ivy and Willow were definitely fascinating ones. They weren’t characters I wanted to root for, but you at least understood what their motivations were and they both had arcs that put their characters into downward spirals. The thing that I loved most about the characters is that the author showcased women in many different kinds of roles–as warriors, lovers, mothers, sorcerers, fanatics…I loved seeing these varied women and thought each of them was written with a great depth of character.
I have some mixed feelings about the plot(s). On the one hand, things started out extremely slow and more slice of life as we got to see what each of the sisters was up to, now that it’s four years since we’ve last visited them. It took a long time for each story to get going and because of that the pace felt glacial at times. It wasn’t until near the last quarter of the book that things started coming together. The end is where the book really shines, as each separate thread of the story coalesces into an epic finale. I have to say that I really loved the way the author brought everything together and looking back you can see all the threads laid out from the beginning. I appreciate that attention to detail, just wish the pacing had been better in the start of the book.
I liked this book overall, and while I really appreciate what the author did with the end of the book, it was so much of a slog for me to get to that brilliant ending that it wasn’t a very enjoyable read for me most of the way through. Still, I may consider picking up the next one at some point when it comes out to see how things end up. 3 stars.