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These Feathered Flames


These Feathered Flames

By Alexandra Overy

On Sale: April 20, 2021

Publisher: INKYARD PRESS

Length: 496 pages


Three Dark Crowns meets Wicked Saints in this queer #ownvoices retelling of “The Firebird,” a Russian folktale, by debut author Alexandra Overy.


When twin heirs are born in Tourin, their fates are decided at a young age. While Izaveta remained at court to learn the skills she’d need as the future queen, Asya was taken away to train with her aunt, the mysterious Firebird, who ensured magic remained balanced in the realm.


But before Asya’s training is completed, the ancient power blooms inside her, which can mean only one thing: the queen is dead, and a new ruler must be crowned.

As the princesses come to understand everything their roles entail, they’ll discover who they can trust, who they can love—and who killed their mother.



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Review


I was really excited for These Feathered Flames because I grew up loving Russian Fairy/Folk Tales. I was excited to see how this retelling would take the stories and make its own. I loved the way it was infused together as well as the strong bond between the sisters.


Izaveta and Asya were such great characters. They are twin sisters that have been separated and then reunited. Living in two very different worlds before coming back together. We get to see them struggle with figuring out who they were before and who they are now and how that plays into their lives. I loved the up and downs in their relationship because it felt real.


Izaveta seems to be the stronger willed and confident of the two. Yet she is trying to find her way around what it means to suddenly be Queen. She is still young and not perfect. The court is a complicated place. I think I felt mixed feelings about her, on if I like her or not. Which made me enjoy her character.


Asya on the other hand had that quality about her that makes you like her right away. She is less confident than Izaveta but also seems to lay her feelings out more. She is not good at putting on the emotional blank mask. Which makes her feel like it leads her to failure but also proves that she is more than just the Firebird. I really liked how she feared her fate at first but found ways to understand it and move towards embracing it.


My Grandma immigrated from Russia and my Grandfather immigrated from Lithuania and I love anything that infuses some of their culture.I have many lacquered boxes and golden images with that Firebird on them. I also love that Asya bears' name is Mishka, ha ha. It made me chuckle when I first read it. I like how this plot took parts of the original story and gave it that nod of appreciation but also crafted this into it’s own thing. It felt like I had stepped through a painting of the Firebird and found the real world behind it. I enjoyed and I love that the plot had an air of mystery and murder to it as well. There were twist that I was like ya okay but there were some good ones that had me thinking. Okay wait, what? So I liked that. I forgot it’s not a standalone so at the ending I was like. Um wait wait I need to know what’s happening here where are you going!!


The romance was great because it did not overpower the rest of the story. It happened so organically that I loved it. I didn’t need it, the plot would have moved forward fine without it but I think it gave the characters themselves a little more depth with their feelings. I was glad it did not take away from the importance of the sisters evolving relationship.


I really liked this and I thought it was a great retelling. I also really like the pronunciation guide at the end and was grateful that pelmeni was mentioned at one the feast because it’s one of my favorite foods. Lol.






About the Author



ALEXANDRA OVERY
was born in London, England. Ever since she was little she has loved being able to escape into another world through books. She currently lives in Los Angeles, and is completing her MFA in Screenwriting at UCLA. When she's not working on a new manuscript or procrastinating on doing homework, she can be found obsessing over Netflix shows, or eating all the ice cream she can.


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