I occasionally get the book hangovers described above… but more often I suffer from the inability to start a new book because I haven’t had time to blog about the one I just finished. See if I start a new book I might lose the urgency and exact words that I want to say about the one I just finished. This is the case with Burnt Devotion and why I have put off starting a new book because there is much to say and it is urgently burning at my heart to convey how I feel.
You might recall that I have been avidly following Rebecca Ethington on her journey called The Imdalind Series. My heart was caught by the first chapter of Kiss of Fire. I languished, rejoiced and even felt terror along with Joclyn in Eyes of Ember. In Scorched Treachery I learned other facets to the story. I grew to love Wyn even more, and my adoration of Ilyan only increased when I got to see inside his head. In Soul of Flame I grew stronger as a person watching Joclyn overcome her fears and hardships and I fell even more in love with Ilyan as Joclyn finally realized how much she loved him (and how much he truly deserved her love). Throughout the series I fell in love and then into hate with Ryland… and then from hate into pity.
I say all this because there have been few series or books that have taken me on such an emotional journey. The highest of highs, and the lowest of lows have lain in these books. And throughout them all so many twists and turns that sometimes I question if even Ethington knew everything that was going on before she wrote it! These books are anything BUT predictable!
So, when you see that I know Ethington can twist a plot with the best of them, how am I so floored? And yet I am! When everything I thought I knew from the first 5 books was turned on its head… blown out of the water… shot back to square one… I’m running out of idioms to explain how one chapter changed everything.
See in Burnt Devotion I was loving getting back into Wyn’s head. I was happy to finally get in Ryland’s head (even though it isn’t a very happy place to be… poor guy). And at first even reading the POV of Ovailia (who I might hate even more than Edmund – there’s a close tie going on there) was interesting and gave new insight into the story. But eventually there came a chapter that changed it all!
Here’s the thing. There are certain themes throughout these books. The most obvious is adversity – do you rise above it or seek to use it. Joclyn, Ilyan, Ryland, Wyn, Thom, Dramin, (and even Cail… in a much less obvious way) all have a battle to fight – literally and figuratively. They are faced with outstanding hardship and must learn to rise above it in one way or another.
The flip-side to that is those who only seek power. Those who don’t rise above adversity, but rather take hardship and use it to trample those around them. Edmund, Timothy, and Ovailia instead of using hardship to help them become better only oppress others and seek power.
There is another theme as well… manipulation. Edmund manipulates everyone he comes in contact with to some degree or another. Timothy manipulates as well, he even manipulated Edmund for a time, so crafty that by his end I’m not sure who was doing the manipulating. And even Ilyan can play the game (as seen in his verbal battles with Ovailia) but it is obvious he doesn’t like doing it. To some extent each character has manipulated someone (even our beloved Joclyn).
But back to the story changing chapter… it is in this chapter we learn the true manipulator. The true puppet-master of the entire, centuries long, saga… and honestly, it’s not who I expected and it’s definitely not in the way I expected. But no more spoilers here… I just hope I’ve inspired you to read this series because it’s definitely worth your time!