Saturday 23 March 2024

Review: The Night Ends with Fire by K.X. Song

The Three Kingdoms are at war, but Meilin’s father refuses to answer the imperial draft. Trapped by his opium addiction, he plans to sell Meilin for her dowry. But when Meilin discovers her husband-to-be is another violent, ill-tempered man, she realizes that nothing will change for her unless she takes matters into her own hands.

The very next day, she disguises herself as a boy and enlists in her father’s place.

In the army, Meilin's relentless hard work brings her recognition, friendship—and a growing closeness with Sky, a prince turned training partner. But has she simply exchanged one prison for another? As her kingdom barrels toward destruction, Meilin begins to have visions of a sea dragon spirit that offers her true power and freedom, but with a deadly price.

With the future of the Three Kingdoms hanging in the balance, Meilin will need to decide whom to trust—Sky, who inspires her loyalty and love; the sea dragon spirit, who has his own murky agenda; or an infuriating enemy prince who makes her question everything she once knew—about her kingdom and about her own heart.

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๐Ÿ“Œ Disclaimer: I received an e-arc for review from the publisher  
๐Ÿ“Œ Publication date: 02/07/2024

The Night Ends with Fire is a Mulan re-telling with a twist. I love Mulan so of course I had to pick it up, and honestly it 100% delivered. I will say that the pacing might not work for everyone, as it jumps from one thing to the next quite a bit. I'm usually not a fan of this as I enjoy the journey, however, it worked here. In my opinion, anything extra added between the time jumps would have felt like filler. Instead the pacing was fast and the action kept me hooked and eager to continue reading.

The main character, Meilin, wants more than the lot women are afforded in this world. What sets her apart from your typical heroine is that she is unapologetically ambition and although she has to save the world, her reason for wanting to do so is not selfless. She doesn't want to save the world for the sake of humanity, she wants to save the world to protect her loved ones.  I really liked her relationship with her stepmum, it was heartwarming and a change from the usual horrible stepmum set up. She also tentatively develops a friendship with another female character, and I hope she encounters more in the sequel as I l love seeing women support women. 

The world building was straight forward with no info dumps, making this the perfect read for fantasy novices. I found the concept of the spirits and the magic tied to them to be fascinating. 

Another aspect of The Night Ends with Fire I enjoyed is the romance. I will say that there is a love triangle, but personally it didn't bother me. I know who I'm rooting for and hope that he is end game. I mean, the development of his relationship with Meilin was naturally paced and such a good slow burn.  

Needless to say, I can't wait for the release of the conclusion to this story! 


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