Once upon a time, there was a thing called the sun…
Welcome back for another blog tour, this time my first one with TBR and Beyond, and what a beautiful book to start with. Just the title is captivating, and with the cover added in, it is a book that easily earns its place on the shelves both of book shops and book lovers everywhere.
Ignite the Sun by Hanna C. Howard
Publishing Date: August 18, 2020
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Once upon a time, there was something called the sun… In a kingdom ruled by an evil witch, the sun is just part of a legend about light-filled days of old. Luckily for everybody in the kingdom, Siria Nightingale is headed to the heart of the darkness to try and restore the light–or she will lose everything trying.
Sixteen year-old Siria Nightingale has never seen the sun. The light is dangerous, according to Queen Iyzabel, an evil witch who has shrouded the kingdom in shadow.
Siria has always hated the darkness and revels in the stories of the light-filled old days that she hears from her best friend and his grandfather. Besides them, nobody else understands her fascination with the sun, especially not her strict and demanding parents. Siria’s need to please them is greater even than her fear of the dark. So she heads to the royal city–the very center of the darkness–for a chance at a place in Queen Iyzabel’s court.
But what Siria discovers at the Choosing Ball sends her on a quest toward the last vestiges of the sun with a ragtag group of rebels who could help her bring back the Light … or doom the kingdom to shadow forever.
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About the Author:
Hanna C. Howard spent most of her childhood wondering how she might avoid growing up, and eventually solved the conundrum by becoming an artist and a writer. She considers tea an essential food group, has more books than shelf space, and thinks the ultimate geek triumvirate is Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Doctor Who. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with her husband and son, their Disreputable Dog, and a cat skilled in the martial arts.
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I was so excited to read this book when it first came up as a possibility, based on the immediate strong cover and the truly unique storyline that the summary offers. It really is a wonderfully individual tale, taking the childhood fear of the dark to the most extreme; an evil witch, capable of blocking out the sun, so that for fifteen years, no one has seen it. It’s an entrancing – and terrifying – idea.
Siria has been scared of the dark and encouraged to be ashamed of her red hair since she can remember, and as a fellow red head who is scared of the dark, I was immediately inclined to be sympathetic towards the character. Linden and Yarrow, who we meet from page one are endearing characters that capture your heart straight away, and all the more so as you follow their adventures throughout the journey of the book. Siria is forced to reconsider everything she has ever known, and ever been taught, and the journey she goes on as a person from what is considered a normal sixteen year old to being who she truly was born to be is one that anyone can fall in love with.
There is always a power in journeys of self discovery, and this is an extreme version of that. Beautiful, powerful, and terrifying, this novel takes you through the fear of being someone different, to the pride of being who you are.
TBR and Beyond asked me to share some key quotes (all spoiler free, as always!), and these are just a few of the lines that captured my heart.
Merrall’s palms glowed blue, and the snow began to drift upward from the ground around her as though it were falling in reverse. At first the flakes were lazy and sparse, merely floating. But then they swirled faster, thickening, and after a moment the naiad had surrounded herself with a miniature blizzard.
“Sometimes,” she said, without looking at me, “life can be overwhelming, and sometimes it catches up to you.”
Chipped and weathered, it bore a sphere of yellow on a red field, with a number of thin yellow brush strokes stretching out from the sphere to the edges of the sign.
The same design Yarrow had taught me to draw when I was eight.
But – I felt a rush of exhiliration as I realized it – something had changed in me, and I no longer wanted to be perfect. I was glad to be what I was. Because I liked me.
It was overwhelming, I thought, to have felt so much for a person for so long, to have kept it hidden – and then suddenly to let it stretch inside your heart like a freed captive. I had never known anything more terrifying, or more wonderful.
I focused with obsessive intensity on the enchantment below me, marking its changes to determine how close to Umbraz I had come. It was like following the landscape of some enormous, gruesome wound: the closer I came to the Royal City, the more the Darkness seemed to fester and boil.
These quotes capture some of my favourite moments in the story, all full of emotion and power, demonstrating the skill of the author at work. I would give this three and a half stars and a lot of enthusiastic love in my recommendations for it.
Thank you to the author, and to TBR and Beyond for my early access to this book.