The Dictator is dead; long live the Republic. But whose Republic will it be? Senators, generals, and elemental mages vie for the power to shape the future of the city of Aven. Latona of the Vitelliae, a mage of Spirit and Fire, has suppressed her phenomenal talents for fear they would draw unwanted attention from unscrupulous men. Now that the Dictator who threatened her family is gone, she may have an opportunity to seize a greater destiny as a protector of the people -- if only she can find the courage to try.Her siblings—a widow who conceals a canny political mind in the guise of a frivolous socialite, a young prophetess learning to navigate a treacherous world, and a military tribune leading a dangerous expedition in the province of Iberia—will be her allies as she builds a place for herself in this new world, against the objections of their father, her husband, and the strictures of Aventan society.Latona’s path intersects with that of Sempronius Tarren, an ambitious senator harboring a dangerous secret. Sacred law dictates that no mage may hold high office, but Sempronius, a Shadow mage who has kept his abilities a life-long secret, intends to do just that. As rebellion brews in the provinces, Sempronius must outwit the ruthless leader of the opposing Senate faction to claim the political and military power he needs to secure a glorious future for Aven and his own place in history.As politics draw them together and romance blossoms between them, Latona and Sempronius will use wit, charm, and magic to shape Aven’s fate. But when their foes resort to brutal violence and foul sorcery, will their efforts be enough to save the Republic they love?
From Unseen Fire (Aven Cycle #1) Review
- January 1, 1970NoahWith an original IP consisting of nine fully nuanced elements of magic, Cass Morris takes her place among the master worldbuilders.The genre needs more powerful female leads with more power women writing them.May this fire continue to burn brightly!
- January 1, 1970LexieI received this book free from Penguin Random House in exchange for this review.So this was interesting and I want to thank DAW for the opportunity to read this, I received a free copy at ECCC and honestly this wouldn't have been something I normally picked up. because while I like the cover it is more historical then fantasy like.I was initially skeptical I would care about Latona or Sempronius Tarren. As anyone familiar with my romance reviews can attest, I am STRONGLY anti-cheating. The hint I received this book free from Penguin Random House in exchange for this review.So this was interesting and I want to thank DAW for the opportunity to read this, I received a free copy at ECCC and honestly this wouldn't have been something I normally picked up. because while I like the cover it is more historical then fantasy like.I was initially skeptical I would care about Latona or Sempronius Tarren. As anyone familiar with my romance reviews can attest, I am STRONGLY anti-cheating. The hint of romance between the two, when Latona is clearly married, relayed in the summary had me almost putting it down in frustration.Except...well Latona's husband is not worthwhile and Morris doesn't make the feelings between Latona and Sempronius tawdry or lusty. Plus the romance is so understated as to not be a big deal. In truth I enjoyed their discussions and strategems so much I forgave many things.Raise a hand if your dad spent dinners quizzing you in your Ancient Roman knowledge and would deduct desserts points if you got answers wrong.Just my family? Okay well I'm sorry for what you missed because while I struggle to say Missouri correctly I can say every single name in here perfectly.This could be categorized as alt-history with some magic thrown in since the world is recognizably Ancient Rome. They worship the Roman Deity Pantheon, their laws/justice system is Roman based and the details are clearly Roman.Since I read an ARE/ARC the author's bio isn't part of the book, but a glance at her blog reassured me she was a history nerd. I do so like a book richly realized with history.Latona is...at first glance she is hard to pin. I appreciated how much she sacrificed to protect her family yet still DO something. She wasn't a martyr or a victim, she was a woman with a vision of something better who adapted as much as she needed to in order to keep what she cherished safe.Sempronius Tarren was just as committed but on a wider scale perhaps. Latona was concerned about her family foremost, as she was used to keeping them safe. Tarren was a military man through and through. He saw the larger picture as well as the immediate, trying to weave both as best he could.I was far more intrigued by his Gift (because prophecy, or any approximation there of) is ALWAYS fascinating. He approached his Gift, which he had to keep under even TIGHTER wraps then Latona, pragmatically building his plans around what he saw but not relying on them. I'm interested to see where this goes and what will happen to Latona and Tarren in the future. I want to see them together again, plotting and shaping the future of Aven. I want to see what Latona makes of herself with the firm resolution she had in the end foremost in her mind.Most of all I want to see what kind of place Aven could become, now that they've put into place some strong foundations.more
- January 1, 1970Lara LillibridgeCass Morris is one of my fellow writers on TheDebutanteBall.com, and I was very excited to read her debut novel. It is outside my normal genre, but I quite enjoyed this epic tale of magic, political intrigue, and romance. From the start we are thrust into ancient Aven—a city in the midst of political upheaval after the death of the reprobate dictator—a world so real-feeling that I nearly expected to find it in history books as a predecessor to Rome. The world building is just fantastic, as are t Cass Morris is one of my fellow writers on TheDebutanteBall.com, and I was very excited to read her debut novel. It is outside my normal genre, but I quite enjoyed this epic tale of magic, political intrigue, and romance. From the start we are thrust into ancient Aven—a city in the midst of political upheaval after the death of the reprobate dictator—a world so real-feeling that I nearly expected to find it in history books as a predecessor to Rome. The world building is just fantastic, as are the vivid descriptions of clothing. I could really “see” this story unfold in a way I haven’t in a long time. The complications of magic are well thought out, and I particularly liked the incompatibility of magic with the battlefield. Latona struggles to keep her magic under control—after having to keep it reigned in for so long, her magic is yearning to break free. This struck me as a metaphor for so many women, particularly in the current timeframe. Latona is a hero we can get behind, both understanding her failings at self-control and cheering as she unleashes her power. “’Do not mock the gods of other people,’ Latona cautioned.” Far from the usual idea of one religion is superior, Morris uses her novel to create space for the reader to think hold more than one idea in our heads. One aspect I truly loved was how strong the female characters are from the beginning. This isn’t a tale of empowerment where women in weak or subservient roles learn to accept their power, but rather a book that shows women as strong leaders from the very beginning. They still grow in their strength, but they never simper, even at first. Even though the society is shown to be sexist, with restrictions on women, the female characters don’t seem to internalize the messages. Still, this is not a one-dimensional portrayal of women, either. When Sempronius needs Latona’s magic, she struggles with insecurity. We hear her negative self-talk, and her struggle to believe in herself, and that makes her even more relatable. Even strong women struggle with self-doubt.I loved the interplay with the sisters. They added warmth and humor, which was a nice counterpoint to the political intrigue. So many books rely on the jealous, back-stabbing female trope, and I felt as if Morris resisted this as much as possible, showing women supporting women. Of course all the female characters aren’t well-behaved—that would be unbelievable—but I felt as if this novel had more female cooperation than most, not just with the sisters, but the high priestesses as well. Lastly, I have to comment on the writing as well. The language of FROM UNSEEN FIRE is beautiful, crisp and direct. The classical language lends further authenticity to the work. From the language to the clothing to the mentions of Roman minutia—this book feels like it was torn from history.I can't wait for book two!more
- January 1, 1970BethFrom Unseen Fire is filled with complex imaginings and political magical machinations in a slow building reader's trap.I received this ARC copy of From Unseen Fire from Berkley Publishing Group - DAW. This is my honest and voluntary review. From Unseen Fire is set for publication for April 17, 2018.more
- January 1, 1970StephanieAaaand we have a cover now!(hahah i never leave to-read reviews like this but what else do you do when it's you friend's book?)
- January 1, 1970AlyssaI am ready for this book likerightnow.
- January 1, 1970Iryna KhymychI received a free galley of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you publisher! 4 out of 5 starsFirst I would like to take a moment to appreciate the cover by Tran Nguyen who is one of my favorite traditional artists. Thank you Daw Publishing for always putting a lot into your covers - they’re always INCREDIBLE!From Unseen Fire is an alternative retelling of ancient Roman history with magic. It is a tale of intrigue and love. It is a story of a woman struggling to I received a free galley of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you publisher! 4 out of 5 starsFirst I would like to take a moment to appreciate the cover by Tran Nguyen who is one of my favorite traditional artists. Thank you Daw Publishing for always putting a lot into your covers - they’re always INCREDIBLE!From Unseen Fire is an alternative retelling of ancient Roman history with magic. It is a tale of intrigue and love. It is a story of a woman struggling to contain her magic after so long, and falling in love with another man who is not her husband. I was really skeptical when I picked the book up. I will warn the reader that the first 100 pages is a lot of information and a lot to absorb. However, like Lord of the Rings, if you stick through - you will be rewarded with an incredible tale. I absolutely adored the main character, Latona, - who is a very strong female character. It’s also very refreshing to see a strong female from the beginning of the book, Latona is not one of those characters who is weak in the beginning and then finds her strength. She is already strong and is not afraid of that strength. On the other hand, even she has her moments of doubt and I honestly found that incredibly relatable. While, I do not condone cheating, in this book it simply works. It’s not that Latona is being abused by her husband or has it really bad in their marriage. It’s just that sometimes things do not work out. And while today we have divorce, from what I remember of my Ancient Roman history - getting a divorce then was equivalent to walking on water, especially for a woman. And maybe, maybe, what Morris is saying with Latona’s extra marital affair is that just like any other Ancient Roman man in power, Latona, a woman, can also have lovers. I absolutely love that Morris stayed away from the female on female trope. There is something to be said about the authors today, Morris, Novik, Arden, Taylor, who are pushing the idea of female friendship in their novels, to demonstrate to readers that women should not hate women. Of course, not every woman gets along in this book, that would be ridiculous, but the sisterly affection from Latona and her sisters is refreshing, endearing and encouraging.I understand that this is Morris’s debut, but my god can the woman write. Her descriptions are so vivid that I could almost touch them. The research that went into this book is also staggering. To write an alternative retelling of a time period, demands time, research and patience and Morris completely succeeded in this.I would recommend this book for anyone who read Circe by Madeline Miller, Uprooter and Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik or The Bear and the Nightingale Series by Katherine Arden. You will not regret it, I promise.more
- January 1, 1970Cass
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