**I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review**
Before I start this review, let me just say that I am a hopeless romantic at heart. So, while there are a million different and equally amazing aspects of this book (and this series), the romance part of it is what speaks to me the most. So there will probably be gushing and maybe some blabbing on about the hero. That's not to say that there aren't many more things to love about this series. It really is incredible and I'm a bit obsessed at this point! Also, in true Rebecca fashion, this installment is full of twists and turns and lots of surprises, so I won't be getting into the storyline very much at all. I would hate to spoil anything for anyone.
While re-reading the first three books in this series, in preparation for Soul of Flame-- and obviously knowing more this time around-- I was able to see things from an entirely different perspective. So many little things had an even bigger impact the second go around, and it just solidified how much I absolutely love this series! In the third book, Scorched Treachery, I fell madly in love with Ilyan. I was on the fence about him up until that point, but no more. The unconditional love he has for Jocelyn, even at the risk of his own happiness, is heartbreakingly beautiful. He is one of my favorite literary men ever and I so loved being inside his head during that book.
Of course, since the ending of book three, I've been on the edge of my seat, anxiously (and not so patiently) awaiting this next book in the series, which starts off right where Scorched Treachery leaves off. Thank goodness!! From the very first page, this book had me! I sat there wearing a goofy grin, while tears streamed down my face while reading the first pages. Because FINALLY! Finally Ilyan gets what he's waited 800 years for. Sweet, wonderful Ilyan finally has his moment and it. Is. Perfect. It's beautiful and well worth the wait.
"I have waited eight hundred years to hear you say such things. I thought I had understood the love I felt for you before, but until now, I didn't fully know how amazing it was. I didn't know how unworthy I would feel of it. I am lost to you," Ilyan whispered, his voice breaking as tears threatened.
In Soul of Flame, many of the characters are still struggling. Ryland is still desperate to get close to Jocelyn, while dealing with the aftermath of what was done to him at the hands of his father. Wyn is busy trying to recover. Thom is angry at the world. And Jocelyn and her father aren't having quite the warm reunion that she had hoped. She's still dealing with the effects of Cail's torture and trying to come to terms with what will soon be required of her, her true purpose. Of course, through all of this, Ilyan is still putting his people's, and especially Jocelyn's needs above his own, no matter how much his heart aches for the things he's sure he cannot yet have.
They're essentially trapped in the abby, surrounded by Edmund's ever expanding army, waiting for the time when Edmund will make his move and this final battle will begin. This book takes place in the span of just a few days, so you really feel like you're experiencing everything, minute by minute, right along with the characters. As I said before, there are plenty of surprises-- something this author does so well-- including one huge twist-- something that the entire series has been leading up to. I wasn't sure how I felt about this particular turn, but it brought about even more questions and endless possibilities as to where this story can go in the final book, so I'm very excited to see what will come of it.
As always, the supporting characters blew me away. They all bring so much to the story and, love them or hate them *cough* Sain *cough* the book wouldn't have been the same without them, and I'll be sad to say goodbye to them when this series is over. Ryland's struggle absolutely broke my heart. The few moments that he and Jos had together were pure torture, but so beautiful, and I really hope they're able to continue some kind of relationship in the future. I have my fingers crossed for that. As for Jos, she made me proud in this book. She had a rough time at the start, understandably, but she came into her own quite a bit as the story continued, and just keeps getting stronger.
"You are stronger than any, my love. Your power stretches into the very core of the world, your heart dictating all that you are. I know you feel broken, but this... This is proof that you are not. You are perfect and stronger than anything that my father has imprinted you with. You will always rise up above it. And if you stumble? I will be here to pick you up, to help you bring beauty back to the world."
I cried through just about this entire book. I'm a huge crybaby, so it's not that surprising, but this was an extremely emotional read for me. Whether they were happy tears, or completely heartbroken tears, they were unavoidable. I felt every emotion right along with Jocelyn; her fear, her anxiety, all of it. And by chapter 19, I was squealing like a little girl because I couldn't contain my excitement. After going through so much pain, Jos finally gets a moment of peace and happiness, and it was lovely. Of course, her struggle is far from over, but I was so happy to see that. This book was one huge emotional rollercoaster. It's the type of book that makes you forget you're even reading, that you're not going through everything right along with the characters. This is the kind of book that makes you forget to make dinner, put your kinds to bed early, and want to put a big, fat "I'm reading, leave me alone!" sign on your front door, because you won't want to put it down. In true Imdalind fashion, we are left with things unfinished. No cliffhanger, so don't worry, but you'll definitely be counting down the days until the next book. I know I am. As much as I'm anticipating the final book already, I'll be very sad to see the series end.
"You are my forever. My beginning and my end."
Rebecca Ethington has been telling stories since she was small. First, with writing crude scripts, and then on stage with years of theatrical performances. The Imdalind Series is her first stint into the world of literary writing. Rebecca is a mother to two, and wife to her best friend of 14 years. She was born and raised in the mountains of Salt Lake City, and hasn’t found the desire to leave yet. Her days are spent writing, running, and enjoying life with her amazing family.
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