Introducing the second installment in the Terebinth Tree Chronicles, Flames of Courage by Hannah Heath! This brilliant short story follows the same storyline about Wanderer in Colors of Fear, and fully develops the character of Jayel, a halfblooded warrior elf who seeks to cease oppression and restore justice for the halfbloods.
Jayel constantly faces discrimination for being a halfblood, and firey anger nearly gives away her thoughts on the matter every time. When she is rejected as Hunter and witnesses mistreatment of a halfbood slave, she decides to leave the place of her upbringing and set out to fight oppression and free the halfbloods of Thane. No one will go with her, so she’ll just have to go by herself. But that’s when she realizes that despite her strengths and ambitions, she can’t make a difference in the world alone.
I loved Colors of Fear and Wanderer’s character, but Flames of Courage really hit the jackpot for me. I would credit this to the character of Jayel. Sometimes I have a hard time really connecting with and cheering on the protagonist (which ends up in me favoring a side character and crying when that side character dies––haha, didn’t see that coming), but Jayel is of a different breed. Literally. I think this is because her goals are amply connected to who she was and is as a person and the experiences she has in the narrative prior to setting out to accomplish that goal. Her backstory provided is not an info dump that might fit into a novel-length story, and yet it is sufficient enough for us to understand Jayel, who she is, and what her goal is now and for the future. What’s more, Hannah has successfully mastered the power of deep POV, and she uses this strategically as a bridge between Jayel’s past and what’s going on in the moment simultaneously. This helped me to bond with her character and to understand her problem with the past and present all in just one scene.
Not to mention that Jayel also has fire powers. This superpower is not just an ability, but also a part of her, influenced by her emotions. Anger and determined courage are manifested in the physical feeling of heat, and cold when the warmth of courage deserts her. Where in most cases such details would come across as simply metaphorical, the heat ascribed to Jayel’s feelings is purely physical and literal. Jayel is extremely sarcastic and has some anger issues, so when she’s unable to control her rage, it’s also just as hard to control the literal fire in her veins. Combining her flaming determination with a passionate drive and her bad sense of direction, Jayel sets out to face and conquer her fears as well as the oppression of the halfbloods.
So yes, we get to see some cool fire power action. It’s AWESOME.
On top of all that, Hannah’s writing style is plain, yet elegant. You won’t find wordiness or unnecessarily elaborate language in Flames of Courage, and Jayel’s blunt, sarcastic personality is seen and felt through the storytelling. Like a director attributing purpose to every frame used in a film, Hannah provides her readers with a clean and steady-paced narrative, expressing compelling ideas and emotions that capture the reader’s imagination. What we have is a literary gem about an inspiring justice fighter with fire powers. Honestly, it doesn’t get much better than that.
So what are you waiting for? Flames of Courage is only $0.99 on Amazon (psssst get the paperback because it’s worth the extra bucks just so you can display the beautiful cover on your bookshelf). And, if you haven’t yet read anything by my talented writer friend, check out Colors of Fear (which comes before Flames of Courage) and Hannah Heath’s standalone short story, Skies of Dripping Gold, which is worth hours of reading even though it’ll probably only take you fifteen minutes. If you’re looking for inspiring, quality fiction worth its weight in gold, Hannah Heath is an author whose works you definitely don’t want to pass up.
Okay, I’ll stop pestering you to buy and read Hannah Heath’s books just so that I can close this post. I hope you enjoyed this review! Drop a comment and tell me what you thought about the book if you did read it, and why in the world you have yet to get your hands on a copy if you haven’t. Have a stellar day and face the rest of the week like Jayel would the unforgiving sands of Thane. Cheers!