Thank you so very much to YA Bound Book Tours for hosting this tour, and for having me on it! So excited to be here and share my thoughts on this freaking epic fantasy novel that I got to read. Click on the banner to see the rest of the schedule and to see some other books that will be on tour.
A Circle of Firelight
by Curtis Edmonds
Publisher: Scary Hippopotamus Books
Release Date: February 20, 2020
Genre: NA Fantasy
On the battlefield of dreams, the strongest weapons are imagination–and love.
Ashlyn Revere is a bright, determined and resourceful college graduate trying to get a job in publishing. When Ashlyn and her sister Penny are left comatose after an automobile accident, they find themselves in Summervale, a beautiful and perilous realm straight from the pages of fantasy novels–which is ruled by a mysterious Dark Lord.
When Ashlyn discovers that Penny is being held captive, she enlists the help of a talking black rabbit and a scarlet knight to save her sister. She learns that Penny is deep within her own fantasy of Regency romance—and that she sees being in a coma as a way to escape from her daily struggles with cystic fibrosis. Ashlyn tries to rescue her anyway, but a fire-breathing dragon and a real-world seizure complicate her plans.
As Penny recovers from her injuries and leaves Summervale, Ashlyn is rescued by a servant of the Dark Lord who promises to show her just how precarious her own medical situation is. In the real world, Ashlyn’s medical condition has worsened, forcing her doctors to consider risky surgery. Ashlyn rejects an offer from the Dark Lord to remain in Summervale forever, and chooses to raise an army of knights to fight for her freedom and independence.
Penny must face a choice of her own. As Ashlyn hovers between life and death, Penny learns that Ashlyn would be a good match to provide the donor set of lungs that Penny needs to free her from the constraints of cystic fibrosis.
As doctors battle to save Ashlyn’s life, she leads her forces against the Dark Lord in a desperate conflict in the streets of an imaginary Manhattan—while Penny must find the answer to her own destiny in a dying circle of firelight. Can the sisters rescue themselves—and each other?
A CIRCLE OF FIRELIGHT blends postmodern fantasy and real-world emotional conflict in a daring tale that will delight adult and young adult readers alike.
Curtis Edmonds is a writer and attorney living in central New Jersey. He is the author of two novels, WREATHED, a humorous contemporary romance set in the beach resort of Cape May, New Jersey, and RAIN ON YOUR WEDDING DAY, a literary romance set in the mountains north of Atlanta.
His work has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Untoward Magazine, Liberty Island, The Big Jewel, Yankee Pot Roast, and National Review Online. His book reviews appear on the Bookreporter website.
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Netgalley and Scary Hippopotamus Books for this free copy. All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication.
Man this book got really intense on both sides of the genre spectrum. We have the real world where sisters Ashlyn and Penny are in comas from a really bad car accident – thank goodness they didn’t die but I mean with everything they had to go through, which option was better? – and then the fantasy world where their coma takes them and basically holds them captive in their own right.
It also sucks that Penny sees this journey as a way to escape from her disability, and while I may technically understand the symptoms of cystic fibrosis – I don’t have it so I can’t understand it on that kind of personal level – but I also understand wanting to escape reality because it sounds that much worse. I just wish that she didn’t have to be held captive by some dark lord type of person in a fantasy world to escape from the daily hardships. All the while both of the girls are still in their coma and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better.
I don’t know how I feel about the real world and the fantasy world being tied together like this, but it makes sense that the physical body would start to deteriorate the longer the brain is out of commission like that. I also don’t know if I would have had both worlds in one novel like that, although it does make for a semi-reasonable cause for why the girls wind up in this world. It’s interesting though that both girls end up in the SAME fantasy world while in their comas, so that’s something.
I feel like this book also got a little dense at times with the subject and plot, which probably explained why it took me a while to get through. Nothing wrong with that, but it definitely didn’t make for a light read for me. I was worried about both girls honestly, although I don’t know who I was worried about even more.
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