Self-published Authors Appreciation Week- Burn Red Skies by Kerstin Espinosa Rosero

Banner credit: Fantasy Book Nerd

Welcome to the second annual Self-published Authors Appreciation Week (#SPAAW), a weeklong event celebrating self-published authors. Please feel free to join in the fun by shouting about your favorite self-published authors on your various platforms. Twitter hashtags: #SPAAW, #SuperSP, #IndiesAreAwesome.

Burn Red Skies as well as its sequel, Rise Red Kingdom, are available for purchase now.

It starts with a rift that burns a thousand scars into the sky. It makes the winds stop. It makes the stars go dark. It awakens an ancient beast. And with it, a new reign of blood. It is the Summoning. And at the heart of it is fire.

When the Summoner’s army blasts through her village, Dove is forced into hiding. Torn from everything she knows, she begins training in the elements with only one goal in mind: to find her brother. She just needs to get past the Summoner’s army—but how can she slay a dragon that is already dead?

What happens when you mix dragons, politics, airships, fascinating characters, and high stakes? You get the well written adventure, Burn Red Skies!

The first thing I noticed about Burn Red Skies is the regard it has for its readers. The author doesn’t condescend to the reader and give long, over-the-top explanations for everything. Instead, it is assumed that the reader will pick things up as the story moves along. I loathe info dumps, so this approach worked well for me. It might cause some readers a bit of confusion at first, but I liked the way the information was given organically as the story progressed.

The main character is Dove who is separated from her brother and whose only goal is to find him. The magic in this world is elemental (more on that later) and she begins training in it as a means to an end. Dove is mute, which is something I don’t usually encounter in main characters. It was so wonderful to see fantasy being more inclusive as far as different abilities. I enjoyed her determination and her strength.

While there are many characters, and the book is told from several points of view, I have to say that I looked forward to reading about Dicker and Merc the most (sky pirates! How cool!). They were just so much fun! Generally, in a book with multiple viewpoints, there’s a character that just doesn’t interest me, but that didn’t happen in Burn Red Skies. Each character brought something to the story. Another thing to note is that I never found it difficult to keep the characters straight. The author gave each one such an original personality and voice that switching back and forth worked just fine. The characters’ story arcs start out completely separate, with characters in separate areas which of course left me curious to know if and how they would finally meet. It’s an ambitious way to tackle storytelling and the author manages it beautifully.

Burn Red Skies features elemental magic, which gave me pause at first because I (incorrectly) thought there was nothing to be done with it that hasn’t been done before. I really love that I was wrong! The magic did more than just give a person a “point your finger and lightning pops out” sort of skill set. Instead, it was nuanced and affected everything from what a person can do to how they heal, or how they handle the sun.

I only have one small quibble which is that the pacing was choppy in parts. Some things that could have used a little more time or focus seemed sped up, and other parts seemed oddly stretched out. This didn’t happen too often and only in a few places throughout the book.

I enjoyed this highly imaginative fantasy and am excited to see the story continue in Rise Red Kingdom.  

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