Thank you NetGalley and Intermix for providing an e-Arc in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: April 19th, 2016
Synopsis: They call themselves The Fae Ril, or Fair Traders. Elfin-like beings capable of wielding sophisticated forms of magic, they travel between universes exploring new worlds and establishing settlements for their people to live peacefully among the locals.
The humans of the White Sands tribe, refugees fleeing from powerful enemies, see the Fae as potential invaders stealing their newfound natural resources. Jintaya, the leader of the Fae travelers, manages to forge an alliance, promising to trade skills and knowledge–magical and otherwise–to build a lasting community.
But the Circle Fire Tribe has no desire to share those rich valleys and ravines with the people they’ve hunted to near extinction–or the supposed deities they worship…
Although this is a relatively short book, it took me the better part of a week to plow through it. I think part of the problem was that Jean Johnson focused most of her attention on world-building and almost nothing on character development. There are many characters to try to keep track of between the Fae and members of the different tribes, but they all blended into one another. I finished this just a couple of days ago, yet if asked I couldn’t name one single person who stood out to me. The other problem is there’s nothing new here that sets this story apart from the legions of other high fantasy stories out there. I also have to be honest and say I wasn’t fond of the time period, which if I had had to hazard a guess, was around the Bronze Age. This however is purely a case of personal preference. I was never really able to get into Jean Auel’s bestselling Earth’s Children series either. I loved Johnson’s Sons of Destiny series which had incredible world-building and characters you couldn’t help but get attached to but sadly, Dawn of the Flame Sea didn’t have that same spark of originality and excitement. There are at least two more books coming out in this series, but I don’t think I’ll be trying them. While this didn’t work for me, if you are a fan of fantasy and like stories centered around the Fae, please don’t let me discourage you from trying it. You may very well wind up enjoying it far more than I did.