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This Golden Flame

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Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army. In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible—she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, wi Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army. In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible—she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father—their nation’s greatest traitor—once tried to destroy the automatons. Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn’t just trying to control Karis; it’s hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother…and the secret that’s held her country in its power for centuries.


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Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army. In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible—she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, wi Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army. In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible—she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father—their nation’s greatest traitor—once tried to destroy the automatons. Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn’t just trying to control Karis; it’s hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother…and the secret that’s held her country in its power for centuries.

30 review for This Golden Flame

  1. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    things going for this book: its unique concept and all the representation/visibility. i will always praise an author that can create a well-structured story within a standalone. however, some stories do better with more than one book and this is one of those. this story is arguably too… simple? its nice and easy and really everything that happens is already given in the synopsis. i think if the author was working with more than one book, the characters could be given more depth, the plot could be things going for this book: its unique concept and all the representation/visibility. i will always praise an author that can create a well-structured story within a standalone. however, some stories do better with more than one book and this is one of those. this story is arguably too… simple? its nice and easy and really everything that happens is already given in the synopsis. i think if the author was working with more than one book, the characters could be given more depth, the plot could be given more action, the pacing could be given more attention. i just think as a debut book, EV was too cautious. if she had more than one book to tell the story, she could have had more room to develop her storytelling style a bit more. and its such a cool concept, i dont think readers would mind committing to a series. but overall, this is a very promising start to EVs writing career. thanks inkyard press for the ARC. ↠ 2.5 stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lia Carstairs

    Ahhhh I never thought I'd live to see the day when everyone around the MC gets a love interest except for the MC herself. Beautiful. wish i could say the same abt the book💀 AND THERE WAS STILL NO DEATH aRe YoU kIdDiNg Me?!?! But that's just me. I'm sure anyone who's okay with characters that don't kill their enemies, will love this. this is what happens when you've just read the poppy war Although, I must say it's unrealistic that you go through a WHOLE book dealing with basically a war between team Ahhhh I never thought I'd live to see the day when everyone around the MC gets a love interest except for the MC herself. Beautiful. wish i could say the same abt the book💀 AND THERE WAS STILL NO DEATH aRe YoU kIdDiNg Me?!?! But that's just me. I'm sure anyone who's okay with characters that don't kill their enemies, will love this. this is what happens when you've just read the poppy war Although, I must say it's unrealistic that you go through a WHOLE book dealing with basically a war between team good and team evil and NOT ONE PERSON ON EITHER SIDE IS KILLED. nO CASUALTIES. AT ALL. That's totally realistic. Yup, totally. But again, this might just be me because of how used to I am with death in YA novels but I don't know...you'd think some of them would've died. AT LEAST THE VILLAINS. WHY NOT THE VILLAINS??? ohmygod I cannot with this book- Which brings me to another point—the villain. My dudes, I don't know how anyone would be afraid of this "Magistrate" when he's as bland as a piece of cardboard. Where's the personality?? Where's the evil actions he does?? There was more telling than actually showing . The characters would basically just talk about how much of a monster he is and how anyone who goes into "The Magistrate's Library" (yea I know, very terrifying) didn't come back out normal because the Magistrate was cruel to them. Yes...but what exactly did he do? There were no details -- just "oH he's SO EVIL. thAT MONSTER. hoW COULD thAT mAN do thAT to my brOTHER" etc etc. Tell me, what's the point of a villain if he's doesn't even drop a hint of dread in the reader? (now THIS is what I call frightening) I know I probably sound very salty, but it's just very frustrating. I felt NOTHING at all for the characters. Nothing They're all basic. Ahahaha the plot too -- Karis is looking for her brother after being separated from him years ago. Then one day she discovers an automaton, Alix, that can speak and act of its own will, which of course, is surprising considering automatons haven't been working for hundreds of years, and even before, automatons were always controlled by human beings. He's ~speshul~ Anyways, she uses him to escape from the Scriptorium, the place she was held prisoner-but-also-not-prisoner (if that even makes sense) as a slave (tho she did have some freedom in learning things) and from there things escalate and eventually turns into what? Yup, a rebellion against the Magistrate and those who've been making them suffer for so long. It goes on, and on...and honestly? I'm kind of tired of the basic rebellion plots, with it's basic heroes, basic villains, basic everything. It's been used way too much and at this point, I think most of us can agree that we're tired of it. Or at least it could be used and have some ✨creativity✨. How would you make it creative? I have no idea. I'm sorry. I'm making this out to be worse than it actually is, but there were actually some parts that I liked. For one thing, as I mentioned in the first line of my review -- the main character, Karis, is asexual, which I've never seen in a YA Fantasy book before so that was awesome. Between Alix & Karis and Dane & Karis, it was just platonic love and that is just so beautiful. We don't get enough of that in fantasy novels for the main character and that is not okay. I'm totally a sucker for romance, but this change was nice and I loved it. Also, it was really cool seeing through Alix's POV. The only POVs I've ever read from are through humans, so to see through an automaton's for the first time *mind-blown* Though I wouldn't say there's much of a difference between Karis and his. I'd sometimes have to go back because I'd forget whose POV I was reading from since they were kind of similar. So yeah, other than nobody dying at all during a full-out battle, the bland characters, and basic plot...this was an alright book I guess. I definitely recommend this to those who like all the things I pointed out that I didn't like, or if you're simply looking for a book that's very diverse! This just wasn't for me, and I am sad :(( (2.5⭐) ✦✧✦✧ Eternally thankful to Harper Collins Canada for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    ♠ TABI⁷ ♠

    hey we got another legit ace character AND it's a fantasy??? hey we got another legit ace character AND it's a fantasy???

  4. 4 out of 5

    birdie

    writing reviews truly is hard. especially with books like this. was this book good? yes, i enjoyed it for sure! was it memorable, though? that's another question. aroace rep is much needed in the ya industry so i really wanna thank emily victoria for giving us that (ownvoices too!!!). i just can't help but think that the representation is the best thing about this story. while i would've loved to describe this as "amazing", i left this book just thinking "...great!" and moved on. the more i think writing reviews truly is hard. especially with books like this. was this book good? yes, i enjoyed it for sure! was it memorable, though? that's another question. aroace rep is much needed in the ya industry so i really wanna thank emily victoria for giving us that (ownvoices too!!!). i just can't help but think that the representation is the best thing about this story. while i would've loved to describe this as "amazing", i left this book just thinking "...great!" and moved on. the more i think about this, the more hmm i feel. if you're looking for a quick read, i'd recommend this one, but if you want to be invested in something, this might not be what you're looking for at the moment. that could be just me though, so don't let me stop you! i guess i just expected more from this. luckily i still enjoyed my time with it and i truly believe the author will grow. she has a promising voice, let's hope she uses it to create more depth in the future! i had the honour of interviewing the author for my blog. check that and my review out by clicking here! blog | bookstagram | more

  5. 5 out of 5

    Darce

    Free copy provided in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my rating or review. 4 adorable stars! Literally everyone in this book was a little cinnamon roll. EVERYONE. It was actually astounding, and I loved it! The novel begins with our dear Karis as she tries – and fails, for the nth time – to break into the only place where she can find info on her brother. After this plot is thwarted, a variety of events lead to Karis awakening the only living automaton in the world – our dar Free copy provided in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my rating or review. 4 adorable stars! Literally everyone in this book was a little cinnamon roll. EVERYONE. It was actually astounding, and I loved it! The novel begins with our dear Karis as she tries – and fails, for the nth time – to break into the only place where she can find info on her brother. After this plot is thwarted, a variety of events lead to Karis awakening the only living automaton in the world – our darling Alix. Alix is an absolute sweetheart, and I hope to god that he never changes. He’s brave but sweet and oh-so soft, and I love it! “Your light is stunning. It’s brave and beautiful. So just be you, because that’s enough. It’s always been enough.” Karis to Alix. Yes yes yes, here is where I completely and totally agree with Karis! Alix is pure sunshine, and he deserves to be protected. But more about our MAIN main character. Karis is brutal and tough and fierce and fiery, but she’s really just a loving sister under all that, determined to find her brother. She may act like she doesn’t care, but she has a big heart, and she’ll show it to those closest to her, which I loved. Another thing I loved was the way she accepted and rarely looked down upon herself for being asexual. She knew she’d never have a romantic relationship with anyone, but that was ok with her! Karis accepted herself, and that’s what matters most. “I might not have what Dane and Zara do, but that doesn’t mean what I have is weaker.” Karis thinking about her asexuality. You go girl! Own it! Apart from the characters, I also really liked the worldbuilding and fantasy elements! The idea of scriptwork and automatons and everything was a nice combination between technology and magic, and I found it really interesting. Some concepts were a little difficult to grasp in the beginning, but I soon worked everything out, and loved all the interesting elements of the world that Victoria created. All in all, this was an interesting and creative book, and I really enjoyed reading about the characters and the bonds of friendship that they developed! Lots of fun and really cute. Thank you so much to the author and TBR & Beyond Book Tours for the free review copy!

  6. 4 out of 5

    anniek ☄

    Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the eARC provided in exchange for an honest review. This fun, adventurous YA fantasy novel featuring an aromantic asexual girl and an automaton with a heart of gold is one that I was very much anticipating, and while it wasn’t entirely what I expected, I’m glad to say it didn’t disappoint. This Golden Flame is mainly set in Eratia, a fantastical country inspired by Ancient Greece, and follows eighteen-year-old Karis as she tries to find out what ha Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the eARC provided in exchange for an honest review. This fun, adventurous YA fantasy novel featuring an aromantic asexual girl and an automaton with a heart of gold is one that I was very much anticipating, and while it wasn’t entirely what I expected, I’m glad to say it didn’t disappoint. This Golden Flame is mainly set in Eratia, a fantastical country inspired by Ancient Greece, and follows eighteen-year-old Karis as she tries to find out what happened to her brother after the two were separated seven years prior. Karis is an acolyte to the Scriptorium, an organ mainly comprised of scholars trying to discover how to reanimate the infamous Eratian automatons that were all deactivated a few centuries before. One day, while Karis is busy with her duties as an acolyte, she stumbles upon a still-functioning automaton named Alix, who appears more human than one would expect from an automaton. Together, they embark on a journey to find out what happened to her brother, only to find that their search for her brother comes with unsettling discoveries related to Alix’s mysterious past… The points of view in This Golden Flame are split between Karis and Alix, which was an interesting experience because while I’ve seen non-human creatures like AIs, robots, and automatons questioning whether they are capable of feeling like humans do, I’ve never read this from one of their perspectives before. Throughout the story, Alix is questioning whether he is more than a tool created for a single goal and I think it was refreshing to see this struggle from his own point of view. Karis has been hardened by a difficult life and is surprised by the human softness she sees in Alix, and it was really touching to see these two connecting and learning from one another. Karis is aromantic and asexual and I loved seeing a YA fantasy heroine whose most important relationship is platonic rather than romantic. There are barely any traditionally published YA fantasy books centering aroace characters, so as a reader who is on both spectrums it was incredibly validating to see this experience being represented in one of my favorite genres for once. Aside from Karis and Alix, there is a lovely cast of secondary characters, many of whom are part of a pirate crew Alix and Karis encounter on their adventure. Zara, the captain of the crew, is so confident and badass and so much fun to read about and even though the members of her crew don’t get a lot of individual page-time, they all feel like real people. They hail from many different parts of the world, and the snippets of information we get from them about the countries they hail from gave me the sense that the world is bigger than just Eratia, which is always a good sign. There are also various identities from the LGBTQ+ community represented in the side characters, among which we see a nonbinary character (who uses they/them pronouns) and a male/male couple. None of this is questioned, which is exactly what I like to see in my fantasy worlds. Aside from being queer-friendly, the worldbuilding is fun and original. Ancient Greece has always been a special interest of mine and it was interesting to see a YA fantasy world based on that historical setting. The magic system with runes is intriguingly described, although it’s only explored on a surface-level. At the end of the novel, several questions related to the runic magic system and the automatons remain unanswered, which makes me feel like there is potential for a sequel or companion nonvel, even though it appears This Golden Flame is intended to be a standalone novel for now. If there is anything I would criticize about this novel, it is that perhaps it does not have a particularly original plotline. It follows the generic YA plotline of a character who discovers a dark secret from the past and corruption within the government of their country and joins a rebellion to combat it. Victoria’s writing style also wasn’t anything special. It is quite simplistic and to-the-point, at times leaning more towards telling us about character’s emotions rather than showing them. However, I feel like this more simplistic writing style also opens up the book to a wider audience. Due to the accessible writing style and the minimal exploration of darker topics, this book is also suitable for an older middle grade and younger YA audience. Keeping that and the original setting and interesting characters in mind, these aspects ultimately didn’t take away too much of my enjoyment of This Golden Flame. In summary, This Golden Flame is a YA fantasy story with interesting main characters and a fun, original world that will intrigue readers who are like pirates, Ancient Greece-inspired settings, and stories filled with seamless, casual diversity. While the plot might not be one that readers haven’t seen before, the well-realized characters and world make up for it. This is one of those stories I wish I could’ve given to my younger self; she would’ve been overjoyed to read a book about a girl like her who gets to go on an adventure with pirates and isn’t romantically involved with anyone. I truly hope this book finds the people who need it, the aromantic and asexual teens who need to see a main character like them who gets to go on a typical fantasy adventure. I’m so thankful this book exists, and I can’t wait for it to be out in the world for people, especially aro and ace teens, to read. Content warnings: internalized aphobia, allusions to torture, starvation, and war

  7. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    The author does an incredible job of world-building and breaks YA stereotypes by avoiding love triangles, or really any romance at all (other than between minor characters). It was refreshing to read a book where the main character, a female, doesn't make decisions based on romantic love. Instead, the focus is on family - chosen and biological - and what makes us "human". The author's inclusion of LGBTQIA characters was subtle and well-written - their sexuality was not treated like a "big moment The author does an incredible job of world-building and breaks YA stereotypes by avoiding love triangles, or really any romance at all (other than between minor characters). It was refreshing to read a book where the main character, a female, doesn't make decisions based on romantic love. Instead, the focus is on family - chosen and biological - and what makes us "human". The author's inclusion of LGBTQIA characters was subtle and well-written - their sexuality was not treated like a "big moment", but instead it was simply another facet of their character. I love that this book is a stand-alone, but would've enjoyed it as a series as well. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from this author in the future.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    This Golden Flame is a stunning young adult standalone fantasy with such a tempting premise and richly woven world that I devoured it all in a single gulp. Flee across the sun-and-shadow islands of Eratia, where runes have the power to unleash monsters. The story follows protagonist Karis who seven years ago was forced to become an acolyte for the Scriptorium, the rune scholars who rule Eratia. For centuries, these Scriptmasters have sought the key to reanimating the country's fearsome automaton This Golden Flame is a stunning young adult standalone fantasy with such a tempting premise and richly woven world that I devoured it all in a single gulp. Flee across the sun-and-shadow islands of Eratia, where runes have the power to unleash monsters. The story follows protagonist Karis who seven years ago was forced to become an acolyte for the Scriptorium, the rune scholars who rule Eratia. For centuries, these Scriptmasters have sought the key to reanimating the country's fearsome automaton army, and anyone they deem unable to help them achieve their goal is sent away including Karis's brother, Matthias. Then Karis discovers a unique human-sized automaton and unintentionally wakes him up. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was created. Or why his father-Eratia's greatest traitor-once tried to destroy the automatons. Upon learning Matthias is being held by the Scriptorium's sinister leader, Alix and Karis set out to rescue him and uncover the truth about Alix's past. But when Karis is faced with an unthinkable choice, betraying everyone she cares about may be her only desperate chance to save their world. This is a captivating and compulsive fantasy rich in both danger and magic and written a seamlessly flowing style that dares you to try putting it down before coming to the realisation that putting it down for any length of time without knowing the fate of the characters you've become so invested in, is not about to happen. Its intricate and subtly nuanced worldbuilding shows other YA fantasy novels exactly how sword and sorcery should be done and it takes barely a chapter to become completely immersed in the world which the characters inhabit. There is enough drama, intensity, mythology and action that you fail to recognise the twists in the tale and the unexpected shift of the narrative until it hits you right there and then and you realise you've been had; that Emily Victoria has played a good game! The flawed cast is the icing on the cake for me and most of the characters are so intriguing and engaging that they soon become alive on the page before you - making the transition from paper into your heart. An entertaining, thoroughly gripping and exciting read. Highly recommended.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Fairyloot February 2021 book of the month

  10. 5 out of 5

    Anniek

    This was very solid fun, very entertaining. So please consider this a very positive 3 stars. There's a lot to love about this book. The premisse is amazing: an automaton main character, queer pirates, it's all so fun! I also loved the aroace rep. It's very casual and it's just so refreshing to me to read a book, especially a YA fantasy, without a main romance. I also loved the focus on platonic relationships. That said, I would have just liked to see a bit more in terms of character depth and devel This was very solid fun, very entertaining. So please consider this a very positive 3 stars. There's a lot to love about this book. The premisse is amazing: an automaton main character, queer pirates, it's all so fun! I also loved the aroace rep. It's very casual and it's just so refreshing to me to read a book, especially a YA fantasy, without a main romance. I also loved the focus on platonic relationships. That said, I would have just liked to see a bit more in terms of character depth and development. I feel like I only got to know the characters on a surface level, and for me to really love a book, I have to be able to get to know the characters a little better.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Caidyn (he/him/his)

    My ace ass needs this.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Monogamist

    Thank you Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for an e-copy of this book. I always say that I am a big fan of standalone books, I prefer one-shot stories over duologies or trilogies. Except, on this rare occasion I felt this should have been at least a duology. This story is told from two POVs, Karis and Alix. Karis is an orphan girl, who was forcibly separated from her brother when they were brought to Tallis island. She doesn’t know where they took her brother to or what happened to him. She was fo Thank you Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for an e-copy of this book. I always say that I am a big fan of standalone books, I prefer one-shot stories over duologies or trilogies. Except, on this rare occasion I felt this should have been at least a duology. This story is told from two POVs, Karis and Alix. Karis is an orphan girl, who was forcibly separated from her brother when they were brought to Tallis island. She doesn’t know where they took her brother to or what happened to him. She was forced to work for the Scriptorium, wearing a bracelet to track her all the time. Except for Dane, another orphan who became a soldier for the Scriptorium, she was never able to, or wanted to, connect with anyone else on this island. She never felt like she belonged or wanted to stay as her only purpose in life was to find out where her brother was taken. One day, she accidentally finds a cave where one of the automatons, an ancient and mysterious machine from the past, was hidden. All the automatons stop working for some unknown reason 200 years before and the Scriptorium has been working relentlessly to find a way to wake them up since then. Karis manages to wake the automaton in the cave using its runes and tomes, and she astonishingly finds out the automaton, Alix (he not it), can think and talk. Karis and Alix try to escape Tallis in pursuit of finding what happened to their respective remaining families. In the beginning, we are introduced to an interesting magic system, with runes activated via tomes or through a ledger, which are also engraved in the surface of the abandoned dormant automatons and that made me super excited about the story. And from the very first chapter we encountered Alix, I was absolutely in love with this character. The story continues, told from Karis and Alix’s perspective, and it is fast-paced and easy to read. Other side characters start to be introduced in the story and I suddenly sadly realise that Karis wasn’t bringing anything to the plot. On the journey to find Karis’s brother and more information about Alix’s father, the writer brings into the play this amazing, smart, badass pirate queen, Zara. In my opinion, she absolutely overshadows Karis as the female main character, and I thought Zara had a way bigger story to tell. Continuing with the reading, Karis becomes a bit insignificant, doesn’t add much to the story, doesn’t do anything special to help the development of the story, and I felt the dual POVs wasn’t actually working. Both POVs were just a mix of each other’s inner thoughts. Alix was a very well developed character, with some concrete character development. Everybody sees him as an object, a tool or a weapon and he is struggling to be accepted for someone with opinions, likes and dislikes and feelings. He has to find his place and purpose in the world. Karis, well… we know she is looking for her brother, and that’s the only thing she cares about. It’s mentioned at the beginning she is asexual but even this characteristic ends there. I felt unfortunate that even her being asexual was not explored further, which is a bit of a shame. In the end, Karis’s growth was forced, I didn’t like her as the main character and she didn’t strike me as a vital part of the plot or with exceptional strengths. In general, this story started with a good premise and interesting world-building, with Ancient Greek vibes and AI-like automatons. It’s well written and easy to read, and I was intrigued to see where Alix’s story would go and discover more about Zara’s past. Towards the end, I was a bit confused by the magic-system and the ending left me with lots of unanswered questions and plot holes. Here’s why I thought it should have been a duology, so Karis could have more space to grow and be more the main character that she was supposed to be, and also to fully explore the automatons’ story. I still think it’s worth reading for Alix and Zara – and I wish there was a book only for her. If you like fantasy stories without romance being the main focus you would like this. Unfortunately, I am all for romance in every shade, so I missed that bit in this story. There is in general good diversity representation as well, but it could have been more. This Golden Flame brings in the basics of a fascinating world-building but the plot and pace shift during the second part and the repetitions in Alix’s internal dialogues makes me give it just 3.5 stars. You can read this review and more on the Monogamist Reader Blog

  13. 5 out of 5

    Elliot A

    Thank you to the publisher, Inkyard Press, for providing me with an ARC of This Golden Flame in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. The Gist I have been looking forward to reading a good YA fantasy book for a while. I patiently worked my way through my to-read list until I got to This Golden Flame. And I really very much enjoyed it. The story had a few surprises up its sleeve that added a lot to the fantasy/adventure aspect. Without further ado, let me jump right in. The Details I Thank you to the publisher, Inkyard Press, for providing me with an ARC of This Golden Flame in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. The Gist I have been looking forward to reading a good YA fantasy book for a while. I patiently worked my way through my to-read list until I got to This Golden Flame. And I really very much enjoyed it. The story had a few surprises up its sleeve that added a lot to the fantasy/adventure aspect. Without further ado, let me jump right in. The Details I want to get the one point of critique out of the way before focusing solely on the good stuff. I thought the characters could have benefitted from a little more depth and character development. Some fleshing out of the protagonist and secondary characters would have made This Golden Flame absolutely and undeniably addictive. A few times I caught myself thinking that it was strange how the story was told from both Karis and Alix’s perspectives, yet I still couldn’t fully grasp their personalities. Aside from that, This Golden Flame is a very solid fantasy/adventure read with great world building. They author takes their time with each setting. Enough detail is given to provide a clear picture in the reader’s mind without being overwhelming. I appreciated the distinct stages of this story, so to speak. Especially because this is a rather fast-paced read. It would have been easy to get lost in the whirlwind of the narration hadn’t it been for the careful construction of the different settings. The writing is excellent. It is simple in the sense that it doesn’t get lost in flowery language in order to describe a particular scene. Yet, I can still almost feel the rain, Karis’ cuts and bruises or the ship rocking. It worked beautifully. The Verdict Overall, This Golden Flame was just what I needed: an adventure filled fantasy that took me along on the journey. I have to point out that this story is void of any romantic love, love triangles etc, but contains characters from all walks of life and various sexual orientations. A refreshing change. I would definitely recommend it. ElliotScribbles

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Stoolfire

    I received an ARC from NetGalley i'n exchange for an honest review. This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria is a promising standalone YA LGBTQ+ Fantasy debut. The world-building is truly outstanding and the world comes across as quite vivid and atmospheric. The magic system regarding the Scriptorium and the automatons is also really cool and unique as well. I really enjoyed getting to know both Kara and Alix, but as far as I'm concerned Alix held my attention the most. I think I would have preferred I received an ARC from NetGalley i'n exchange for an honest review. This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria is a promising standalone YA LGBTQ+ Fantasy debut. The world-building is truly outstanding and the world comes across as quite vivid and atmospheric. The magic system regarding the Scriptorium and the automatons is also really cool and unique as well. I really enjoyed getting to know both Kara and Alix, but as far as I'm concerned Alix held my attention the most. I think I would have preferred the novel not to be told in dual perspectives, but to focus specifically on one character or the other. I think the story could have benefited from the streamlining that could have provided regardless whether Kara or Alix would have become the main focus. Either way, I greatly appreciated Kara as our aroace lead. I don't often get to see the A of LGBTQIAP represented at all, so this was refreshingly delightful especially in this fantasy setting. Overall, This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria lives up to the hype and I can't recommend it enough. There's so much potential for this author to become a favorite of mine just based on her debut release. I'm really looking forward to her next #OwnVoices YA Fantasy book, Silver in the Mist, which is due to be released in the Fall of 2022.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard

    Yes, I'd like this. Thank you. Yes, I'd like this. Thank you.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lu

    Thank you so much, Netgalley and Inkyard Press, for the chance to read and review this book! Karis is an orphan and she's forced to serve her country's ruling group of scribes, but she wants to find her brother, who was taken away from her years ago. But the Scriptorium doesn't care about bonds and family, its only goal is to discover the magic of the automaton army. When Karis manages to awake a hidden automaton, intelligent and conscious of himself, Alix, both of them are forced to flee, becaus Thank you so much, Netgalley and Inkyard Press, for the chance to read and review this book! Karis is an orphan and she's forced to serve her country's ruling group of scribes, but she wants to find her brother, who was taken away from her years ago. But the Scriptorium doesn't care about bonds and family, its only goal is to discover the magic of the automaton army. When Karis manages to awake a hidden automaton, intelligent and conscious of himself, Alix, both of them are forced to flee, because the Scriptorium is hunting them. Helped by Dane, Karis' best friend, pirates and rebels, Karis and Alix fight to find her brother, uncover the truth and for freedom. This Golden Flame is a thrilling and brilliant standalone fantasy. The worldbuilding is intriguing and captivating and the story is told by two POVs, Karis' and Alix's and it was really interesting reading about their journey, both physical, from their little island through oceans and psychological. Karis is a stubborn and brilliant character, made cynical by the brutal world she was forced to grow in and she's determined to find her brother and to be free with him. It was amazing reading about her journey, both physical and psychological and her growth. She was taken by the Scriptorium and forced to work for them, but managed to defy their rules, teaching herself the language of runes, curious about the world and fighting to find her lost brother. Alix, on the other hand, is a peculiar automaton, woken up after centuries, finding everything he's ever known dead or lost, like his home and memories. Sensitive, intelligent and stubborn, he's a great character. His relationship with Karis is complex and truly beautiful, if wary at the very beginning. Karis and Alix grow so much in The Golden Flame, through their experience and their relationships with other characters. Karis' relationship with her best friend Dane is intricate and I love how much they help, support and rely on one other, growing up in the Scriptorium and then, when they are forced to flee and make choices, choosing to fight for the freedom and their future and for the truth about their country. It was interesting realizing, through Alix and his memories and the present, how much the story was written by winners and how much the ruling group is hurting people. I really loved reading this book, not only for the amazing worldbuilding, but also for the characterization. The characters are complex and well written, relatable in their fears, desires and mistakes. Karis, Alix, Dane and Zara are such brilliant characters, it's impossible not to love them. Like Zara. I love her so much. She's a great character, sassy and brave and I love reading about her ship, her crew and their fight and rebellion. I loved that Karis was aromantic and asexual (it's so rare reading books with aro characters) and I love her growth and her relationship with Alix, Dane and the others. I've also loved the cute and romantic moments between side characters. I've also loved Matthias with his low vision and cane, his disability never a hinder to his stubborness, bravery and fight. It's a story about freedom and the fight for it, about the strength in be oneself and the importance of family and relationships.

  17. 5 out of 5

    ND

    Good: There was an aroace protagonist! That never happens! Bad: Literally everything else. Wow. This book sucked. There are no other words for it. It sucked. It was a bad book. Writing? Terrible. I've read fanfic by ten year olds that was better written. If you're going to insist on writing in alternating first person, your narrating characters need to be distinguishable from each other. These weren't. Nor were either of them particularly likeable (though Alix at least had better reasoning). And do Good: There was an aroace protagonist! That never happens! Bad: Literally everything else. Wow. This book sucked. There are no other words for it. It sucked. It was a bad book. Writing? Terrible. I've read fanfic by ten year olds that was better written. If you're going to insist on writing in alternating first person, your narrating characters need to be distinguishable from each other. These weren't. Nor were either of them particularly likeable (though Alix at least had better reasoning). And do not get me started on how trite everything was. "She's a she and I'm a they"? Seriously? Have genderqueer characters in your books, that's great, but no one talks like that. There are better ways to be inclusive than sounding like you're working from the Tumblr School of Creative Writing. Plot? Less terrible. Unfortunately, also meandering and poorly paced. It read like an unedited Nano novel: things happened because the writer needed to make word count, not because they made any sort of in-world sense. World building? So terrible I want to throw things. There was no point to it! You don't get to just randomly decide that your story is going to take place in a vaguely Greco-Roman-fantasy-steampunk abomination of a thing without explaining why this maybe Ancient Greek world has automatrons. World building is not just set dressing! It has to make sense. It has to be immersive and logical within the constraints of the world, not just fulfilling your need for aesthetic. Characters? Painfully terrible. They can barely properly be called characters, they lack any and all dimension. This is especially true of the characters around Alix and Karis, including the main villain. Team Rocket was more frightening than the big, scary Magistrate who apparently wields supreme power and tortures everyone in his path...until he's taken down by a ragtag group of kids in the course of a few weeks. There was no build, no demonstration of why this man is so terrifying. The group just plods their way into a victory that was entirely unearned. Relationships? I wanted to throw the book across the room, they were that terrible. This was a book told in alternating first person. The human character is aroace. The other is an automatron. You'd think that would mean we would all be spared the frustration of an unnecessarily inserted romantic subplot, but no. It just means we have to put up with an unnecessary subplot as watched from the side-lines. It was bad. It was painful. It was superfluous. And, more importantly, it was between (view spoiler)[a kidnapped boy and his kidnapper (hide spoiler)] . That last point isn't likely to bother as many people as it should because it's written off as "but they're the good guys", but that doesn't make it any better. I am so horribly disappointed by this book. I wanted to like it. I was excited to read it, even more when I realised one of the main characters was ace. YA never has ace characters. Representation cannot make up for flat out awful writing though. I have to wonder how this managed to get published, it's just that bad. That it was picked for my LitJoy box just irritates me more. The physical book itself is too pretty to deserve the words printed in it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lousbookstuff

    For my full review and thoughts on the story, characters and ending completely spoiler free please visit my blog here Thank you to Netgalley for providing this free ARC in exchange for my honest review. I am in awe, honestly. I was absolutely blown away by this book. For a debut novel, it is so well-written, the story is incredibly unique, the pacing feels perfect and the characters are all well-developed and just wonderful. In order to get 5 stars I think the book really needed to expand a bit on For my full review and thoughts on the story, characters and ending completely spoiler free please visit my blog here Thank you to Netgalley for providing this free ARC in exchange for my honest review. I am in awe, honestly. I was absolutely blown away by this book. For a debut novel, it is so well-written, the story is incredibly unique, the pacing feels perfect and the characters are all well-developed and just wonderful. In order to get 5 stars I think the book really needed to expand a bit on the script and the rune system as there were quite a lot of unanswered questions and you are left wondering a bit as to how it all works by the end. I also didn't really like Karis as a main character, she felt quite weak and her chapters didn't add a huge amount to the story. I would have loved for some chapters to be told from Zara's POV because she was far more fun and interesting. I also found some of the decisions that characters made to be a little bit strange and left me wondering why they did certain things. Overall though a very solid book and one that I really enjoyed reading.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Sweeney

    This Golden Flame is the fun and fast paced adventure of a young orphan woman named Karis who is forced to serve at the Scriptorum for the rest of her life. All Karis wants is to be reunited with her brother, but he was shipped away by the scribes and she has no idea where. In her search for answers she uncovers a hidden automaton with a mind of his own. This discover rockets Karis onto a path of danger and rebellion as she attempts to find her brother and stop the Magistrate gaining unlimited p This Golden Flame is the fun and fast paced adventure of a young orphan woman named Karis who is forced to serve at the Scriptorum for the rest of her life. All Karis wants is to be reunited with her brother, but he was shipped away by the scribes and she has no idea where. In her search for answers she uncovers a hidden automaton with a mind of his own. This discover rockets Karis onto a path of danger and rebellion as she attempts to find her brother and stop the Magistrate gaining unlimited power. This Golden Flame is set in a really fascinating world and I really liked the Greek inspired setting. The idea of automatons was really interesting and I enjoyed learning about their lore and history. The story is a bit on the predictable side but nonetheless it was well paced and enjoyable to read. Victoria has a really nice writing style and the story is well structured. The thing that most intrigued me about This Golden Flame was the characters. There’s great representation in this story and it was really great to read a story that focuses on platonic friendships rather than a romance. The story is told in alternating POVs from Alix and Karis and I liked them both as main characters. Although they were interesting my favourite character was Zara, the pirate Queen turned rebellion leader. I would love to read more about her and it would be fascinating to read a story from her perspective. Overall This Golden Flame is an exciting adventure and a solid debut from Emily Victoria. If you love fast paced YA stories with fascinating worlds, this could definitely be one for you.

  20. 4 out of 5

    thewoollygeek (tea, cake, crochet & books)

    This book was an absolute delight to read, this is why I read, these are the worlds and words I want to be absorbed in. Emily is an amazing writer, so beautiful is her prose and world building. This is such a wonderful addition to the world of Fantasy and Science Fiction. The characters and their relationships just feel so real and true to me, these characters are diverse and so inclusive, this really is a joy to read. I don’t think my words do this book justice, or can emphasise how good this r This book was an absolute delight to read, this is why I read, these are the worlds and words I want to be absorbed in. Emily is an amazing writer, so beautiful is her prose and world building. This is such a wonderful addition to the world of Fantasy and Science Fiction. The characters and their relationships just feel so real and true to me, these characters are diverse and so inclusive, this really is a joy to read. I don’t think my words do this book justice, or can emphasise how good this really is. All I can say is pick it up, you will not regret it . It’s one of my favourites of 2021 and I know will be still at the end of the year. Amazing Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    "This Golden Flame" is a great read. It's a fantasy story aimed at young adults, without some of the things that can make YA books a bit annoying! The plot is a fantastic concept that is held together by solid characters and beautiful writing. About halfway through, I was disappointed to find out that this isn't part of a series, but there is another book by Emily Victoria due next year (2022), so it's all good! My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley. This review was written voluntaril "This Golden Flame" is a great read. It's a fantasy story aimed at young adults, without some of the things that can make YA books a bit annoying! The plot is a fantastic concept that is held together by solid characters and beautiful writing. About halfway through, I was disappointed to find out that this isn't part of a series, but there is another book by Emily Victoria due next year (2022), so it's all good! My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley. This review was written voluntarily and is entirely my own, unbiased, opinion.

  22. 4 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    why did my first negative read of the year have to be one of my most anticipated releases 😭 ➸ Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[amnesia, nightmare, nonconsensual branding & scars, human medical experimentation, death of a mother & father recounted, murder, knife & sword violence, explosion, disappearance of a sibling, and kidnapping (hide spoiler)] . Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram why did my first negative read of the year have to be one of my most anticipated releases 😭 ➸ Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[amnesia, nightmare, nonconsensual branding & scars, human medical experimentation, death of a mother & father recounted, murder, knife & sword violence, explosion, disappearance of a sibling, and kidnapping (hide spoiler)] . Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram

  23. 4 out of 5

    Inkyard Press

    Categories Young Adult Action & Adventure, Young Adult Fantasy, Young Adult LGBT, Young Adult Family

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Lynn Lano

    Queer rep: aro-ace (specifically addresses this in thoughts several times but does not use the language), non-binary (they/them pronouns, not explored beyond that, but maybe that’s good because it feels normal), gay/mlm (addressed and fully accepted) and disability (visually impaired/ very low vision - who turns out to be badass and also is in a healthy relationship) 👍🏻

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kal ★ Reader Voracious

    Very excited for this #Class2K20Books debut: "an Own Voices YA featuring asexual rep. Karis, a servant to the mysterious Scriptorium, accidentally awakens long-dormant golem Alix, initiating an epic adventure full of magic, rebellion, and self-discovery."Blog | Twitter | Pinterest Very excited for this #Class2K20Books debut: "an Own Voices YA featuring asexual rep. Karis, a servant to the mysterious Scriptorium, accidentally awakens long-dormant golem Alix, initiating an epic adventure full of magic, rebellion, and self-discovery."Blog | Twitter | Pinterest

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amanda (MetalPhantasmReads)

    An ancient scriptorium, autotamoton and magic?! Plus an asexual main character and this cover! NEED NOW

  27. 5 out of 5

    Inkslinger

    ARC provided by Inkyard Press and Emily Victoria via TBR and Beyond Tours. All opinions are mine and freely given. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | BookBub "quote" 02-18: 'This Golden Flame,' the debut novel from Emily Victoria, is a tale of rebellion amongst the almost single-minded determination of the Scriptorium. Eager to unlock the magic of an ancient automaton army littered throughout the land of Eratia, they're quick to send away those who may get in their way. For Karis, t ARC provided by Inkyard Press and Emily Victoria via TBR and Beyond Tours. All opinions are mine and freely given. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | BookBub "quote" 02-18: 'This Golden Flame,' the debut novel from Emily Victoria, is a tale of rebellion amongst the almost single-minded determination of the Scriptorium. Eager to unlock the magic of an ancient automaton army littered throughout the land of Eratia, they're quick to send away those who may get in their way. For Karis, that means her brother is long gone.. and she'll do anything to find him. While seeking her brother.. Matthias' whereabouts, she awakens a hidden automaton. Seeming to have sentient intelligence, Alix seems to have a moral compass.. but no idea why he was created or why his father once tried to destroy them all. Suddenly, control isn't enough for the Scriptorium. They're on the hunt. Leaving Karis and Alix to find her brother and the secret surrounding the automatons. I found it interesting that though the lead is just trying to find her brother, for the most part.. she's kind of outcast.. even by the others like her. Though, Dane is actually really lovely. Karis is a bit of a screw-up, but her heart is in the right place and I love that sense of loyalty within her and it's nice to see the Aroace rep in a fantasy MC. It feels like little by little our stories are becoming a bit more diverse.. too slowly.. yes.. but I'll take the forward progress. Alix has a lot of inner-conflict to deal with, largely due a lack of coherent memories and it doesn't help that those in power want to leverage him. He's a darling though.. despite having a lot of baggage and I found myself forgetting that he was really different in the first place, as automaton or not.. he felt so vulnerably human in some ways. Like many, the magic system was rune based and I always enjoy magic that requires some kind of tangible focal point. What I found interesting was that it wasn't just about the result either, the process of making the rune mattered. Though the Scriptorium thing very reminiscent of the Magisterium for me, they were similar.. but still different. The general feeling of oppression was there, though the scribes weren't just members benefitting from their participation. Emily does a great job of letting the reader experience the world around them, rather than just telling them everything.. which is something I appreciate. There's nothing that can ruin immersion faster for me than being given a tour like the story is more of a verbal open house. It is a fairly simple story that's easy to read and maybe lacking a little in the complexity department, but not every book has to be an epic 800 page story either. It's very enjoyable and a good first showing for an author with a promising future. PURCHASE LINKS: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSAMILLION | GOOGLEPLAY BOOKS | INDIEBOUND | INDIGO | KOBO | WATERSTONES

  28. 4 out of 5

    Liz (Quirky Cat)

    I received a copy of This Golden Flame in exchange for a fair and honest review. Emily Victoria's debut novel, This Golden Flame, is making waves and touching hearts. It's one of those books that immediately caught my attention thanks to the description and promises, but then went above and beyond in impressing me. Karis was orphaned at a young age, and soon after taken in by the Scriptorium. To be clear, they didn't do this out of the kindness of their hearts. They bound her and bade her to wo I received a copy of This Golden Flame in exchange for a fair and honest review. Emily Victoria's debut novel, This Golden Flame, is making waves and touching hearts. It's one of those books that immediately caught my attention thanks to the description and promises, but then went above and beyond in impressing me. Karis was orphaned at a young age, and soon after taken in by the Scriptorium. To be clear, they didn't do this out of the kindness of their hearts. They bound her and bade her to work for them, alongside all of the other orphan children they've collected. While some may find it possible to be content with this life, that is not an option for Karis. It never would have been an option, even if she hadn't been separated from her brother in the process. That is why she's been seeking every avenue for freedom. “Besides, some risks you have to take.” This Golden Flame is going on my list of books that you absolutely have to read in 2021. It's every bit as brilliant as the title and cover suggest, with lots of pleasant surprises woven in throughout. The end result is a memorable experience. One that has a lot of representation along the way. It isn't every day you get to pick up a book with an ace main character, especially not in the world of fantasy. Yet that is exactly what happened here, and it is a delight. Karis' character is bold and tough, but she also knows what she wants. And more importantly, what she doesn't want. Her honesty is refreshing, and it adds so much to the way she navigates this world and all of its problems. At least, it did for me. “Even after all these years I'm still not used to it. To the quiet.” This is a fun read, one that has a distinctly steampunk feel to it, as well as several other surprises up its sleeve. It made it an absolute delight to read, and I for one would give anything to see this as part of a series. Though that's just my greedy little heart talking, I know. If you're looking for a clever fantasy novel with an ace lead, then please take some time to read This Golden Flame, as it is that and so, so much more. Check out more reviews over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks

  29. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    I really enjoyed this book! I didn't know too much going into it (I knew a very basic plot summary where Karis wakes an automaton and is looking to find her brother, but that was about it) but I did know that the main character identifies as aroace and it's a standalone fantasy, both of which made me very interested in reading this. I am always looking for more ace rep, especially since most books these days are always so romance focused, that it's harder to find books without a focus on romance I really enjoyed this book! I didn't know too much going into it (I knew a very basic plot summary where Karis wakes an automaton and is looking to find her brother, but that was about it) but I did know that the main character identifies as aroace and it's a standalone fantasy, both of which made me very interested in reading this. I am always looking for more ace rep, especially since most books these days are always so romance focused, that it's harder to find books without a focus on romance. So it was really nice to have this rep, and to really get to explore some other types of relationships. That being said, I do think the relationship development could have been stronger overall, but we did get a nice view of Karis and Alix's growing friendship, and them learning to trust one another. I thought the world building was also nicely done - I feel like I had a pretty good understanding of the world, without it feeling like an infodump. I wonder if the finished copy has a map though, because that was one thing that I struggled with - I had a bit of a challenge figuring out where things were in relation to each other, which is probably mostly because I rely on maps too often for that sort of thing. As for the characters' themselves, I really liked all of them. I think Karis had the most development throughout the book, especially as she is introduced as someone who only really has one friend because she never wanted to lay down roots, knowing she'd one day leave to find her brother, but I really felt for Alix as well. I also loved the side characters, especially Zara, and I loved them coming together and figuring out how they all fit together. It was a great found family story, and I am really glad I read it. Thank you so much to netgalley, the publisher, and TBR Tours and Beyond for providing me with this arc in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Hayward Pérez

    Karis is aromantic and asexual. She's eighteen and an orphan. Her mission: to find her brother who went missing seven years before. Eratia is a fantasy world most closely inspired by ancient Greece. The Scriptorium was an interesting place and Emily Victoria makes this and the whole world in the book atmospheric which I liked as it drew me in. The book is full of action although some of the landscape descriptions at the beginning seemed repetitive. Nevertheless, I wanted to find out where Karis Karis is aromantic and asexual. She's eighteen and an orphan. Her mission: to find her brother who went missing seven years before. Eratia is a fantasy world most closely inspired by ancient Greece. The Scriptorium was an interesting place and Emily Victoria makes this and the whole world in the book atmospheric which I liked as it drew me in. The book is full of action although some of the landscape descriptions at the beginning seemed repetitive. Nevertheless, I wanted to find out where Karis would go. I was intrigued how she met Alix, an automaton. Alix really has such a good heart and is immedately likeable. There's an extensive cast of secondary characters. This Golden Flame has the mystery and worldbuilding of Harry Potter and the journey was one I wantd to be on. I was curious about the platonic relationship between Alix and Karis. Karis's brother is visually impaired and I was very concerned for him as I am visually impaired too. I was constantly wondering what would happen next. My first novel by Emily Victoria and one I enjoyed. The writing style was simple but really evolved an interesting, original world. It will appeal to younger and older adults. A lesson in discovery, acceptance trust and friendship. Great for fans of the movies Artificial. Intelligence, I Robot and Chappie. If you like well-thought-out worldbuilding, this is for you. There is different gender representation in this book. Thanks to Emily Victoria and Algonquin for my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. 4 stars.

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