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We Are the Fire
As electrifying as it is heartbreaking, Sam Taylor’s explosive fantasy debut We Are the Fire is perfect for fans of An Ember in the Ashes and the legend of Spartacus.
In the cold, treacherous land of Vesimaa, children are stolen from their families by a cruel emperor, forced to undergo a horrific transformative procedure, and serve in the army as magical fire-wielding soldiers. Pran and Oksana―both taken from their homeland at a young age―only have each other to hold onto in this heartless place.
Pran dreams of one day rebelling against their oppressors and destroying the empire; Oksana only dreams of returning home and creating a peaceful life for them both.
When they discover the emperor has a new, more terrible mission than ever for their kind, Pran and Oksana vow to escape his tyranny once and for all. But their methods and ideals differ drastically, driving a wedge between them. Worse still, they both soon find that the only way to defeat the monsters that subjugated them may be to become monsters themselves.
-Excerpt taken from Goodreads
Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.
Did you think we could keep our hands clean? Our choices easy and light?
(3.5 / 5) This is a fast-paced book with such a great premise. Children are taken to be made into fire-breathing soldiers. They are experimented on until they are what is needed. Some don’t make it. The ones that do are ruthless weapons.
Pran and Oksana are our MC’s. They are lovers and best friends. They started out cute and playful but throughout the rest of the book they felt more like best friends. I was a little disappointed in that because I loved them at the start.
The story is full of action. It has a great story line. So why did it fall a bit flat for me? It’s hard to pinpoint. I felt the words on the page should be exciting. I even tried over multiple days. But I never quite “felt it.” Did the story happen to quickly? Did the romance change too much? Was there not enough emotion? Maybe. There were very few times that emotion was described. The story is detailed but it evoked no emotion in me. Many times I wondered why this big moment, like a death didn’t make me sad or cringe. While I read their thoughts, there weren’t a lot of emotions described which maybe accounted for my lack of feeling? I wanted to love this story. It should’ve been everything I love. I’m curious if anyone else feels the same?
I really think most people will love this story. It has so much going for it. Whatever I “need” in a book just wasn’t felt in this one and I’m disappointed. I am actually planning to reread this one or get the audio because I honestly cannot pinpoint why I feel this way.
All in all, this one felt flat. When you have a flat expression, there’s no emotion. I will update my review when I get my hands on the audio.
Thank you to Swoon Reads and Fierce Reads for the gifted copy in exchange for an honest review. This book releases February 16, 2021.
Detailed Content Review
Derogatory terms etc-
Gods (as an expletive)
Saints (as an expletive)
Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking
A young man drinks ale. Many soldiers drink shots. A young man buys 3 beers and another drink.
A man drinks from a flask.
A man forces a syringe into a young woman’s neck. He regularly injects soldiers and kids.
**SPOILER** A serum makes people act aggressively.
A young man is given an injection of pain medication many times for a leg injury. It makes him incoherent.
A young woman forces a syringe into a man’s neck. Poison? Saliva and blood bubbles and he hisses.
Many men take a serum daily to keep strong.
A young woman injects herself with a serum and collapses. “Fire” fills her body as she convulses.
Soldiers (young men and young women) drink ale and liquor.
People sip wine at a party.
Many men drink a serum believing it will heal them, but instead they scream and convulse and die.
A young woman burns the cheek of a man.
Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty
*No LGBTQ+ aspects included*
A young man kisses a young woman. They kiss more, deeper.
A young man kisses a young woman passionately against a wall for some time.
A young man kisses a young woman.
A young man and young woman kiss.
A young woman and young man kiss.
Violence, Weapons, Crime, Blood
A group of soldiers set fire to cottages and cause chaos in the streets. They then set fire to a village, no one escapes. Two teens fight them with fireballs.
As children, many are injected with a serum to make them breathe fire. Many die and are scorched on the inside.
A man shoves a young woman against the wall.
A 10yo girl is dragged to the street by her hair. Her father comes out with a hammer and the soldiers beat him, then kicked her brother in the head who was trying to punch them. They set her house on fire.
Recruits are burned for not being able to make fire. It is a highly emotional scene. Any who voiced protests were burned also. Some are told to jump in the fire or they will “ignite you.” So they jump in, killing themselves.
A man hits a young girl with an object.
Using a substance on gloves, a man causes a man to fall, flailing and foaming at the mouth until he dies.
A man burns a young man on the cheek.
A story tells of a man rubbing poisons on money to kill a man.
A young woman has a bruise from her jaw to collarbone when her commander hit her for being too slow.
A young girl (12) is beaten by soldiers for taking extra food. A young man (13) is hit across the face for spilling food. His lip and nose bleed.
A man holds a woman in a head lock. Another man pins another young woman. They fight back by kneeing them and more.
A soldier burns many villagers with fire. More run through the village torching everything. The villagers fight back with weapons like pitchforks.
A young woman is manacled to a chair. A man slaps her and knocks her chair over then burns her face.
A young woman is bruised and bandaged after a meeting with her superior.
Soldiers are set on fire as a consequence. Screams are heard while roasting meat is smelled.
A man squeezes a young woman’s neck, she punched, kicked, and bit him. He slammed her head against the table. She kicked him and ran but he grabbed her feet, knocking her down. Then pins her down and forces a syringe into her neck.
Two men tie a young man down and whip him multiple times. The table becomes slick with his blood, tears and spit.
A young woman is tied to a pole and fire rages around her. She is burned to death.
A young man wraps his hand around a young man’s throat.
A young man sends fire down a young man’s throat, instantly burning and killing him from the inside out.
A man squeezes a young woman’s throat, bringing her to her knees. A man throws fire at her but she throws an exploding chemical and it explodes and burns his face as he screams.
Many soldiers and commanders fight back and forth with fire. A young man hit two commanders making them unconscious. Many more fight with fire. Many are burned and blistered.
A young woman fights with a man. His teeth are covered in blood. She hit him in the head then injected him with poison, killing him.
A young woman charges a young man, knocking him over. She lights a room on fire then throws fireballs at him. He whimpers in pain and vomits as he kicks an injury. He wrenches her arm and she hits his face, blood filling his mouth. She squeezes his throat.
A young woman is ordered to break a young man’s finger. She does it with no emotion, then continues on to each finger on that hand.
Four teens battle with fire at a young woman. She hits them with fireballs to the chest.
A young woman fights 3 elite soldiers with fire. One shoots her in the chest with fire, burning her. They walk away injured and burned.
Two sets of soldiers fight with fire. Flames devour many of the soldiers.
**SPOILER** A liquid is sprayed on 3 soldiers. When they fight back with fire, the liquid ignites and they are killed.
Many more fight with fire. They are ignited and open their mouths to scream but are burned to nothing.
Potentially Intense Themes
Children are taken from families at a young age to be trained to work for the emperor.
**Any quotes from the book are taken from the advanced copy and therefore may not be fully accurate or correctly compare to the final copy of the book.
**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
It’s hard to know why a book sometimes falls flat for us. I hope your next read is stellar!
This sounds like a fantasy variant of Halo (videogame) – one difference was that the parents didn’t know their kids were replaced with flash clones that would sicken and die 😭 I’m adding this – it sounds interesting
Maybe romance and torturing fire breathing soldiers don’t mix? I would say it sounds amazing if it wasn’t also a romance
I love the cover! I think I’m going to add this to my tbr.