Kalinda is on the run with Deven Naik, her guard and lover, after killing her tyrant husband, Tarek, who ruled the empire of Tarachand through fear. Now, an evil bhuta, a person with magical powers comparable to a god, warlord has invaded the capital city and is holding everybody in it hostage. Keeping her magical powers of being a Burner, a person who can control fire, secret to the empire to avoid an uproar, Kalinda must find Prince Ashwin to convince him to take back the empire. When she does reach Ashwin, a tournament is held to see who will be his bride. With the distance between Kalinda and Deven growing, she decides to enroll and represent the kingdom of Tarachand to help take it back from the usurpers by marrying the prince as she sees him as the only one who can take back the kingdom.
The book was unique. Not many books have been set in ancient India, the country I am from, so I admired how the author took a risk and executed it well. The traditions were nailed down, the names were impeccable, and the setting itself was set up perfectly. There was great character depth and no one felt shallow or stereotypical. The internal conflict in Kalinda was shown greatly and created drama that made the book more interesting. the pacing was also great although the beginning was quite slow but picked up quickly afterward.
The most memorable thing about this book was its setting. It is set in ancient India, my homeland, which is a unique setting that I have not really seen done anywhere before. I found that the author did a great job on the customs and traditions such as henna and saris which made it relatable to me as I am Indian.
Reviewed by Aswin, Grade 8, Twin Hickory Area Library