Thursday, April 9, 2020

Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova

Title: Incendiary
Author: Zoraida Córdova
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication date: April 28, 2020
Pages: 384
Source/format: e-ARC//publisher
Rating: ☆☆☆
Synopsis (from

I am Renata Convida.
I have lived a hundred stolen lives.
Now I live my own.

Renata Convida was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King's Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a Robari, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata's ability to steal memories from royal enemies enabled the King's Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.

Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown and helping the remaining Moria escape the kingdom bent on their destruction. The Whispers may have rescued Renata from the palace years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred--or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she turned "hollow" during her time in the palace.

When Dez, the commander of her unit, is taken captive by the notorious Sangrado Prince, Renata will do anything to save the boy whose love makes her place among the Whispers bearable. But a disastrous rescue attempt means Renata must return to the palace under cover and complete Dez's top secret mission. Can Renata convince her former captors that she remains loyal, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.

But returning to the palace stirs childhood memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the entire fate of the kingdom--and end the war that has cost her everything.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

Incendiary, which is the first book in the Hollow Crown series, starts off slowly. Renata is a Robari who has a special power to steal people's memories. She was kidnapped at a young age by the King's justice in order to harness her power and use it for the court's benefit. Renata eventually is able to escape the grasp of royalty and joins the radical movement as a Whisperer, one of the rebel spies working against the crown. The rebel spies seek to help Moria escape the kingdom. However, as a memory thief who leaves victims as a hollow shell once memories are stolen, people are wary to trust her. Justice Mendes and the Royal family of Selvina use Ren to dissolve magic users.

Zoraida Córdova immerses readers in a rich world with fantastic characters and an intricate story plotline. I would love to learn more about how the magic system works in this world and I hope to see more of the evolution of the magic system in future installments of the Hollow Crown series. Ren is in a difficult position where she can get killed fairly easily as she teeters on a thin line between helping the Crown or helping the Whisperers. Furthermore, when she has feelings for Dez, who is the leader of the Whispers, she needs to find where her alliance lies. This complex struggle of doing what is right looms throughout the novel and Ren needs to pave the path by herself.

Incendiary is about revenge, betrayal, figuring out who is trustworthy and fighting for your own rights. I cannot wait to see what the rest of the Hollow Crown series will bring.