The first book in an epic, heart-pounding fantasy duology about two royal heirs betrothed to be married, but whose loyalties are torn, and a ruthless enemy who threatens their world, perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Hafsah Faizal, and Renée Ahdieh.
Adraa is the royal heir of Belwar, a talented witch on the cusp of taking her royal ceremony test, and a girl who just wants to prove her worth to her people.
Jatin is the royal heir to Naupure, a competitive wizard who’s mastered all nine colors of magic, and a boy anxious to return home for the first time since he was a child.
Together, their arranged marriage will unite two of Wickery’s most powerful kingdoms. But after years of rivalry from afar, Adraa and Jatin only agree on one thing: their reunion will be anything but sweet.
Only, destiny has other plans and with the criminal underbelly of Belwar suddenly making a move for control, their paths cross…and neither realizes who the other is, adopting separate secret identities instead. Between dodging deathly spells and keeping their true selves hidden, the pair must learn to put their trust in the other if either is to uncover the real threat. Now Wickery’s fate is in the hands of rivals..? Fiancées..? Partners..? Whatever they are, it’s complicated and bound for greatness or destruction.
Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours and author Dana Swift for gifting me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. You can check out the full tour schedule here! Also, keep reading to find out how to enter a giveaway for a finished copy of Cast in Firelight!
Cast in Firelight definitely set the tone perfectly at the beginning of the book. We learn that Adraa and Jatin are going to have an arranged marriage once they come of age and as this scene unfolds we get a perfect glimpse of each of the main character’s personalities that flow really well into the rest of the book. As far as MCs go, both of them were wonderful to read about. There were never any dull inner monologue moments that seemed to last forever and it was pretty nice being able to fully delve into their minds while they were on their journey to save their lands.
The story itself was deeply original and the magic system is definitely something that catches your attention in the book. Recently, I have read so many books with unique and different magic systems and Cast in Firelight is no different. The gods and their names were a nice touch to this creativity as well. As the story progresses author Dana Swift does an immaculate job of world-building without huge info dumps. All the information presented was relevant to our MCs and the situation they were currently in. The pacing of this book also allowed for long reading sessions that I low key did not want to end. I can definitely say that this series is going to bingeable whenever Swift has released all of the books and yes I will be reading them again when this happens.
- Where did the idea for Cast in Firelight come from? Do you remember the moment the story came to you?
I don’t think I remember the exact moment the original and first idea came to me. I’ve loved the animated movie, Swan Princess, since I little girl and wanted a whole book encompassing the very first song in that movie, “This is My Idea.” So, I always had the premise and the character dynamic as a book idea.
Then when I was at the gym one day in the middle of sit-ups in fact, the climactic moment came to me and during that whole work out I thought of my ideas until I rushed home and wrote out the first two chapters.
2. What is your favorite part of the publishing process? least favorite part?
I like doing edits and working on making the book the best it can be, but I think my favorite part is the cover process. Seeing the sketches and then the final all while giving my input is such an amazing experience. I wrote and edited manuscripts before getting an agent and editor but getting professional cover art was the first moment everything felt more real.
My least favorite part of the publishing process is the waiting. And with the Pandemic I think the waiting has only increased. However, I do think I’m getting more accustomed to publishing schedules and timelines.
3. What was your favorite fantasy-based story/movie growing up?
As a small child I loved all the Disney movies and fairytales. I still love them truthfully. But growing up I also found the Harry Potter universe, Percy Jackson series, and Lord of the Rings as fantasy classics that resonated with me. I also read a lot of contemporary, but my imagination always included creatures, magic, and new worlds when coming up with my own stories.
4. The magic system you have created is very unique in Cast in Firelight, was it difficult to come up with a magic system that suited your story?
I’d say the creation of the magic system and the creation of the story didn’t happen separately. From the beginning I wanted a more visual magic system and I wanted my characters to fight crime using it. Many of the details were hard to work out like how many colors there would be, and what were the limitations. But in terms of creating a magic system that fit the world it was more like I created the colorful magic system then thought about how that system would affect the world.
5. If you had to choose a song to describe Cast in Firelight, which song would it be?
Oh, I could tell you the top three songs I listened to most on my playlist while writing. They might not fit the story exactly, but I can’t hear these pieces without thinking of CAST IN FIRELIGHT.
- Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys
- Rise Up by Andra Day
- Marching On by OneRepublic
6. How has your experience been interacting with other authors?
I adore interacting with other authors and truthfully, any writer. Fellow writers are the best people. With the Pandemic all opportunities to meet people in person have been lost and for me it’s a little harder to make connections online. But for those that I have met online, like many of the 2020 and 2021 YA and Middle Grade debuts, it’s been such a blessing getting to know them and supporting one another through the chaotic year of 2020.
7. I understand that it is very different to be debuting a book during a pandemic. Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for other authors publishing their books this year?
This is a hard question because I hope some things return back to normal and all authors can get physical ARCs once again and do in-person launches. I guess my main advice is not comparing yourself or your book to others. Advice I’m still working through and is relevant no matter what is happening in publishing or the world.
My other smaller and more practical pieces of advice for launching during a Pandemic are:
One, learn how to make your own graphics.
Two, try to communicate with your marketing team and learn what they are doing for your book so you can fill in the gaps where you want to (want to be being the key word there).
Three, find the joy and celebrate what you can because your book is coming out!
8. What do you want your audience to take away from reading Cast in Firelight?
Overall, I want my story to be fun and an escapist read. But underneath that I hope readers are inspired by Adraa and Jatin’s journey and realize that finding yourself can mean embracing all aspects of your personality.
One US winner will receive a finished copy of Cast in Firelight! Enter here!
Meet the Author
Dana Swift started making up fantasy worlds when she was eleven years old and hasn’t stopped since. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned degrees in English and Advertising. While in college, Dana competed as a saber fencer and learned a thing or two about fighting, parrying and how it feels to fall in love with your sparring partner. She currently lives with said husband in Miami, Florida.
Meet the Cover Artist
Born in the UK, 1988.
Raised on 90’s cartoons and as much Disney as possible, Charlie now lives and works as a full time Lead Concept Artist and Illustrator. She has worked on a variety of projects including concept and marketing art for games, editorial work, tutorials, illustrations and book covers. She also spends as much time as humanly possible with her nose in a good book.
Goodreads Best Young Adult Book Cover of 2017: An Enchantment of Ravens.
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