Shimmer And Burn, A Dark Fantasy

Shimmer And Burn, A Dark Fantasy

To save her sister’s life, Faris must smuggle magic into a plague-ridden neighboring kingdom in this exciting and dangerous start to a brand-new fantasy duology.

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

Shimmer and Burn

Series: Shimmer and Burn #1
Author: Mary Taranta
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Page Count: 330
Format: eARC
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
My Rating: ★★★★½

Shimmer and BurnShimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

This full review can also be viewed on my blog along with others at:

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.


Wake up, I think helplessly, but she needs magic for that, and the king keeps it all locked in his castle.

Faris is a girl who knows how tough life can be. Growing up in the slums of Brindaigel, she learned to fight, and defend her family at a young age. She knows that her actions always including paying a price, in some way or another. When her sister Cadence is captured while they tried to leave the city, Faris is faced with making some tough choices. 

She must choose between her own freedom, or her sister’s, and the consequences that come along with either choice when it is made. Forbidden love, menacing magic, and political intrigue are interwoven to create a memorable tale of a girl seeking redemption for those she loves.


“When the gods went to war, they destroyed everything in their battle for dominance. Nothing survived except a single see that a farmer found buried in the ashes. But it couldn’t grow without sunlight or water, so he went to the gods and he made them an offer: If he could defeat their strongest warriors, they would call a truce. Tell would rule the earth and Rook would rule the sky, and neither one would be more important than the other. They would be balanced.”

“Farodeen the First,” I say.

North smiles, pleased that I know his mythology. He wouldn’t be so pleased if I told him the rest of the story we’re taught, that Farodeen was sacrificed by his more powerful brother, Overen, the king of Brindaigel, and that Avinea was a consolation prize to his heirs. They would be destined to be farmers like their father.

“Farodeen wrestled Rook’s giants out of the sky, and they damned Tell’s volcanoes, ending the war. To reward him, the gods threaded their magic through his veins; starlight from Rook and fire from Tell, so if they ever went to war again, man could fight too.”

“Shimmer and burn.”


But this was so good! I’m already yearning for the sequel! 

Despite it’s effervescent title, Shimmer and Burn is dark, draining, and dense. (I mean dense as in, thick, juicy, yummy.)


There is no doubt that the author labored over this work to get everything aligned and perfect. The writing mirrors the plot’s complexity and deep-seated character development throughout the story. There are layers and layers upon scheming, at all levels of society, which totally makes the intrigue of this story, that much better.

Faris is a difficult, yet believable character. She is hard, yet clearly desires (and mettles in) love. However, her hard edges don’t prepare her for when she is coerced into situations that are rather compromising. Being said, she makes mistakes, and is at times reactive rather than pensive. I found her character to be easy to understand, even if the reader didn’t necessarily connect with her.

Cadence, although being a pivotal character in terms of the plot, isn’t present much. It’s difficult to discern from the text her nature, but I believe her role will be much bigger in the book to come.

Bryn, a malicious, rather terrible person, serves as one of the main antagonists. From the beginning to the end, she is manipulative, despicable, and downright difficult to discern. For how much I didn’t like her, there were times where I found myself wanting to–which is an interesting pull toward the antagonist that I definitely didn’t expect. 

North–what can I say that won’t spoil him? I shall say nothing other than he too, is heart-wrenching. 

I thought how magic is used in Shimmer and Burn is clever. I won’t say more for spoilers, but I just wanted to say that I really appreciated this different take on such a popular theme.

However great majority of this story and world was, the ending was somewhat lackluster. While the scheming is at its finest, it just wasn’t the ending I was expecting for having such a tumultuous plot throughout the rest of the story.  

Vulgarity: Some.
Sexual content: Some. Kissing and some suggestive speech.
Violence: I found this book to be rather gory, please keep that in mind when picking it up!

My Rating: ★★★★½

A big thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!

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I am the author behind Foals, Fiction & Filigree. An all-encompassing blog about horses, books, and my art.

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