OF HONEY AND WILDFIRES by Sarah Chorn (Book Review)
“Some agonies cut right through a body and go spilling everywhere without warning. Sometimes a person just needs to bleed all their anguish into the world.”
We read for entertainment, we read for escape. We read to feel connected to others and sometimes to try to find ourselves. Of Honey and Wildfires did each of these things for me.
It’s a fantasy western setting with a unique magic system based on a type of oil they call shine. In this backdrop, Chorn paints a heartbreaking drama of love, family, inheritance and secrets. Her raw, lyrical style unfurls as the story deepens. This book tore my heart into pieces and laid them out in front of me.
Arlen Esco, heir to the shine fortune, leaves his comfortable upbringing to visit Shine Territory out west. Excited for the journey, he finally gets to see the workings of the empire he’ll inherit. He’s ready for adventure, though a bit out of his element, but no amount of study could have prepared him for what he finds.
When his train is attacked by criminals, Arlen is kidnapped and taken through a different tour of the territory, and given a history of it he never expected.
What risks are worth taking to keep the shine flowing? What lives are at stake and at what cost? Arlen has decisions to face.
Chorn gives the reader a poignant view of the suffering of territory workers, their lives and loves lost, and the dangerous scale of greed in a land where the rich decide the laws and the welfare of others is trapped in the intricate demands of industry.