This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria

Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army.

In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible: she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father – their nation’s greatest traitor – once tried to destroy the automatons.

Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn’t just trying to control Karis; it’s hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother . . . and the secret that’s held her country in its power for centuries.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Hodder & Stoughton.
Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own

“Guilt tears me apart. This happened because of me. I caused harm, like automatons always do.”

Today is my turn on the bookstagram tour for This Golden Flame, released just three days ago, so I thought I’d share my review on here as well. I found it to be an engaging blend of Ancient Greek, automatons, pirates, and runic magic. This combination might sound odd at first glance but, trust me, it works.

Karis is the main character, an orphan separated from her older brother seven years ago and forced to work as an acolyte for the Scriptorium. One day Karis accidentally awakens a long-dormant automaton called Alix, who has an artificial intelligence different to the weaponised automatons of the past. I loved the growing friendship between Karis and Alix, and the found family trope is always a rewarding one.

“And if I’m doing this, I’m going all in. If we flame out, we’ll burn like stars.”

As Karis journeys to find her brother, she falls in with a crew of pirates. The crew were my favourite element, especially the cocky and intelligent Captain Zara. There is no main romance in this story (the main character is asexual) but there’s a smaller romantic sub-plot for those who are interested. 

Through the character of Alix, the author explores what makes us human. He is such an endearing character and I want him to be happy. The author has an easy writing style that makes this an accessible fantasy and all the characters felt wonderfully fleshed out and real. The action is well-paced and the final scenes are incredibly tense yet exciting.

“There is a bravery to being kind and gentle, to being helpful.”

There is one moment in the book where I thought everything was going to fall apart (I’ll be vague to avoid spoilers). There seemed no way to recover from what happened and I found that I didn’t want there to be as it was unforgivable. Thankfully the author handles it well without negating the huge impact this action caused and the extreme emotional harm it triggered. 

This Golden Flame is an utterly engaging adventure featuring an endearing cast of characters and an automaton you’ll fall in love with. Exploring what it means to be human, this is a YA fantasy I’d definitely recommend.

(Goodreads | Amazon UK | Book Depository)

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