We Are the Fire
We Are the Fire
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: February 16th 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
As electrifying as it is heartbreaking, Sam Taylor’s explosive fantasy debut We Are the Fire is perfect for fans of An Ember in the Ashes and the legend of Spartacus.
In the cold, treacherous land of Vesimaa, children are stolen from their families by a cruel emperor, forced to undergo a horrific transformative procedure, and serve in the army as magical fire-wielding soldiers. Pran and Oksana―both taken from their homeland at a young age―only have each other to hold onto in this heartless place.
Pran dreams of one day rebelling against their oppressors and destroying the empire; Oksana only dreams of returning home and creating a peaceful life for them both.
When they discover the emperor has a new, more terrible mission than ever for their kind, Pran and Oksana vow to escape his tyranny once and for all. But their methods and ideals differ drastically, driving a wedge between them. Worse still, they both soon find that the only way to defeat the monsters that subjugated them may be to become monsters themselves.
At the tower, the messenger led them through the metal doors with iron bars twisted in the shape of a leaping fire demon, the same demon fronting the Tuliis’ uniforms and tattooed onto the messengers’ necks. They climbed three flights of spiraling stairs and stepped into an office where [Commander] Tamm, seated behind a wide steel desk, pointed to a pair of wrought-iron chairs across from her. “Have a seat. Would you care for coffee? We’ve all had a long night.”
Pran had lost count of how many times he’d seen this game from Tamm, opening meetings with pleasantries whether she intended to praise or punish. It kept Tuliis on edge, and even he couldn’t help the way his heart tightened over what might follow. He perched on the offered seat, stretching out his leg, which throbbed after all those stairs—would it kill the Commanders to meet with him on the first floor?—and accepting the cup of coffee Tamm offered. But he didn’t drink it, and neither did Oksana as she settled into the next chair, watching Tamm as if the woman were a viper coiling to strike.
“I confess, Nayar,” the Commander said, dumping sugar and cream into her own cup, “I was astonished to see you in the courtyard. Foul shape you were in, when you returned.”
“All Tuliikobrets were summoned to the courtyard, and I follow every order.”
“I trust you’ll extend that same diligence to your next role.” Tamm took a long swallow of coffee. “We need more trainers. Better trainers.”
“T-trainers?” Before they could rattle in his hand, Pran set his cup and saucer on the desk, because trainers meant— “Congratulations are in order.” Tamm beckoned behind them, and another messenger swooped into the room carrying two tunics, the leather demons on them a harsh orange. The messenger gave these to Pran and Oksana, along with long-handled flint starters.
“Welcome to Hellion rank,” Tamm said. “Effective immediately, you are reassigned to the Bronze Bonfire troop. After your commendable attempts tonight to stop the Scarlet Embers . . . Well, we need Tuliikobrets of your caliber in leadership roles. We must instill in young fighters the importance of following commands. Even when it’s painful.” She glanced blatantly at his bad leg.
What the Commanders needed, really, was to replace the Hellions they’d just cooked alongside the Embers. Hellions were young Tuliis’ first instructors, training them to become emotionless puppets who burned on command.
They did as expected of loyal Tuliikobrets. And if he and Oksana wanted to walk out of this tower alive, they’d embrace this new role.
Beside him, Oksana said nothing, her face a blank mask. But the tips of her ears had gone as red as her hair, as they did whenever she was barely holding herself together.
But maybe, Pran considered, this new rank didn’t have to be a snare that entangled them further in the Commanders’ power. Maybe they could craft it into something else.
Author Bio:Sam Taylor grew up in Arizona’s deserts and now lives among Connecticut’s trees. She spends her days writing, being mom to the world’s cutest boys, whirling through dance workouts, and baking too many cakes. She does not possess fire magic, but does have one fire-colored cat. We Are the Fire is her debut novel.
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