Etched in Fire
Maelen arrives in Kaelennar with her trader parents a properly naive thirteen year old girl on her first big trip away from home. Her biggest worry is the history her mother keeps teaching her. That is intended only the Esch under the leadership of demons takes the city and begins a reign of terror.
Warning, this is not a children’s book. On the other hand, it is a brilliantly written book for adults and the occasional mature young adult reader. It isn’t that any particular scene, the sex scenes are much less voyeuristic than many YA books I read. It isn’t the violence either, again it is handled with a deft touch which many YA authors could learn from. What makes it adult is the unremitting realism of the emotions and reality of her portrayal of invasion, love, loss and courage.
There are few books that not only were hard to put down, but hard to keep turning the page. Etched in Fire will stay with you for a long time after the ending which left me bereft and satisfied. The book clearly leaves room for a sequel, and likely more. I would have no hesitation buying the next book in the series, because Beth Hudson does what all too few series authors do–prove she knows how to create a riveting conclusion.
I highly recommend this book to epic fantasy lovers, to people who want gritty tales of what life in wartime is like, to people who want a book to move them. In all the years I have been reviewing books, this is one of very few I wish I could give a six star rating.