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Review: Trueflame – Vanessa Ricci-Thode

Trueflame - Vanessa Ricci-Thode

Genre: Fantasy

Reviewer: Linda, Paranormal Romance Guild

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About The Book

Neesha doesn’t care about the affairs of dragons. All she wants is to cultivate her unprecedented pyromantic power, but chafes against her mother’s reputation as a ground-breaking dragon whisperer and against a regressive society that expects her to marry. Escaping not only her mother’s judgement but the attention of family-approved suitors proves difficult, especially when an unplanned pregnancy drastically narrows Neesha’s options and sets a tight deadline for fulfilling her dream of being accepted to the Wizards Guild before motherhood sidelines her.

Just when she thinks she can take no more, her mother’s old foe returns for revenge against her entire family, bringing river monsters, a threat to the dragon city, and tough choices that hold the fate of her city—especially her unborn child—in jeopardy.

She’s going to have to start caring about the dragons and earn their trust in order to succeed.

Trueflame is about a salty bi woman fighting the patriarchy, and how brilliant women are destroyed by the shackles of expectation in a regressive society.

The Review

When I was given this book to review, I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it. It’s the second book in the series, and I hadn’t read the first one. But I was in for a surprise – the author starts the book with a full synopsis of book one. After reading the synopsis, I began book two with enough knowledge to dive right into the story and know the characters and who and what they were.

Dionelle now has three children: two boys, Bly and Breen, and her daughter Neesha, who she was pregnant with in book one. The events that occurred resulted in Neesha being a fireborn, with powers stronger than her mother. Unfortunately, in addition to Neesha’s fire powers, she grew to have a defiant attitude. Neesha’s relationship with her parents is strained and she resents being compared to her mother and her dead aunt, who caused trouble for everyone.

Neesha is studying to get into the Guild, but drinking and sex seemed to take precedence. Even though her mother is the Dragon Whisperer and Neesha grew up around them, she has decided she doesn’t care about them. Then again, she doesn’t seem to care about anything. Her troubled relationship with her parents gets to the point of no return when she finds out that she is pregnant. Her father stops speaking to her, and she is thrown out of her home. She has embarrassed her family, and no one wants her. She doesn’t want a husband in any case If she marries, she wants it to be with a woman.

Marrying would take the stigma of being unwed and pregnant away, and she would once again be accepted into society. Neesha could care less. She is living with her grandmother, and when she has her baby and must leave, she will take care of the child by herself.

Everything changes when an old enemy, Draxli Dunham, resurfaces with an army behind him. Draxli was exiled and his wife was executed for treason, so he wants revenge, and he wants to return to power.

With aquamancers and rogue dragons working on his behalf, Draxli has convinced people that the dragons are responsible for the drought and loss of crops. When the aquamancers bring water, he is considered a hero. Determined to destroy Pasdale and all the inhabitants, he causes uncontrollable rains that start a flood, making travel impossible and causing deaths. Neesha finally realizes what’s happening, and the danger the dragons and her town are in.

Neesha knows that her fire powers are strong, and she convinces everyone that she can end the floods by calling forth the fire demons. Whether she can stop Draxli, save the dragons and Pasdale, and give birth to a healthy baby, I will leave for you to find out.

I recommend Trueflame and would suggest reading book one first. This book is full of amazing characters, betrayals, secrets, and surprises – a war between water and fire. Wow.

Four stars.

The Reviewer

I am an avid reader the mother of 3 sons and grandmother to seven grandchildren. Since retiring I have been doing more reading while volunteering as a CASA worker. CASA is an organization that works with the family court system to ensure that children are in the best living situation. There are way too many children that get overlooked in the foster care system and I visit homes and make visits to the parents. I was born and raised in New York and my husband of 50 years and I live in Upstate New York.

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