Review: These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy


A queer retelling of “The Firebird,” a Russian folktale.

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.

My review – spoiler-free

These Feathered Flames is a wonderful fantasy book filled with action, family relationships, scheming and court politics. The book is able to make a perfect combination of all of those things. These Feathered Flames was never boring because of how action packed it is. Action/fight scenes were alternated with people betraying one another, by characters scheming and deciding what steps they’re going to take next.

The story was also quite fast paced, which makes it very easy to read. But it especially makes you want to read on and on and on. The book reads so quickly, that you don’t notice you’re reading an almost 500 page book. The writing is easy to read and makes sure that all elements are smoothly interwoven with eachother. The amazing plot twits also make sure you want to continue on reading!

The characters in this book, esepcially the two main characters, are very interesting to read from. They’re all very distinct from one another, which makes it easy to know who’s who, even though there are quite a lot of characters. The relationships between the characters were done so well as well. The family bonds, the friendships and the loving relationships were all very believable. It’s also fun to read a fantasy book where romance is only a small part of the book, because so many fantasy books these days have a huge romance plotline. It’s nice to have a bit of variation from that.

The world in These Feathered Flames is also easy to understand, but that doesn’t make it less of an amazing fantasy world. The firebird is an interesting creature and this book makes you want to read more about the original folktale and makes you want to read more retellings of that folktale. It’s once again nice to see something that isn’t done often: a retelling of the firebird story. It sometimes seems like the same tales get retold over and over again, especially when it comes to Russian tales, so it’s nice to discover a new folktale, that you might not have known, through this book.

Overall I highly recommend These Feathered Flames if you’re a fan of fantasy books filled with court politics and unique creatures, that for once doesn’t have a huge focus on love.

*I was gifted an e-arc of this book by the publisher, but that doesn’t influence my opinion or the things stated in this review. Thank you so much for the arc, Harper360YA!*


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