The Burning Chaos (Smoke & Mirrors Book 2 – Review


The Burning Chaos

by Melissa Giorgio


Two months after Bantheir’s betrayal, Irina is learning how to live in a world where magic is not only real, but a part of her everyday life. As a spy for Parnaby, the shadowy president of the city of Dusk, Irina has to pretend Parnaby’s manipulation magic worked on her and she doesn’t remember his horrifying proclamation about Vernen. If her friend, brought back from the dead by an ancient source of magic, begins to show even a hint of magic, Parnaby will kill him without hesitation.

When a mysterious woman named Aeonia confronts Irina, she threatens to tell Parnaby everything Irina is hiding from him if Irina doesn’t steal a magical artifact from the president’s mansion. Knowing she’s the only one who can protect Vernen, Irina agrees to Aeonia’s demands, but she wonders if this ultimate betrayal will destroy her newfound happiness with Leonid—and get her killed in the process.

With elements of magic, mystery, and murder, The Burning Chaos takes readers on a dangerous journey through Dusk, introducing them to new characters and reuniting them with old favorites. Can Irina stay one step ahead of everyone and save Vernen? Or is she doomed to succumb to the magic she once loved but now despises?




5***** A five-star book all around

I’ve received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I keep saying I’m not into YA fiction, but authors like Melissa Giorgio keep proving me wrong. LOL I was pulled into this saga when I read The Fading Dusk and jumped at the opportunity of reviewing its sequel. Melissa doesn’t disappoint in the least. If on the one hand, Irina’s character is evolving at the same time she’s maturing, we can’t avoid rooting for her and wishing her a respite or even a little break. Growing pains is a dull expression to describe how she’s being tested by fire every turn of the way. Since the events of The Fading Dusk, Irina doesn’t know who to trust or who to turn to when she needs help, so she’s forced to rely on herself. Granted, that makes her stronger; but, at what cost?

On the other hand, readers are treated to a solid romance storyline as Leonid and Irina’s love evolve. They’re cute together so at least there we get a little breathing from the mystery and the drama that Irina’s life has become.

Melissa Giorgio’s skills at character development and world building continue to astound the readers as does her artful plot and subplots. Smoke and Mirrors is the name of the series for good reason. You should remember that as you read the books. Moreover, by letting Irina tell the story in first person POV, the author limits what the readers know to only what the character knows, which adds to both our involvement with the story and the sense of mystery and danger surrounding us as we delve into the book.

On a very personal note, my heart went to Irina when she had to pack her bare essentials. Having done so myself exactly one year ago to come to California to take my Master’s degree, I totally relate to her and the odd feeling of having to say goodbye to things. I’m aware this comment seems out of place; but, my policy of not writing spoilers stands so I’m being vague here. When you read the book you’ll understand my meaning. I’m just saying because it’s a poignant scene and one that I cherished.

As I progressed towards the end of this installment of the series, I couldn’t help but feel a bit sad I would have to wait to read the next one. I can’t wait to follow Irina and the gang in their journey into the unknown.

I recommend this book to all fans of good, intelligent fantasy books and anyone looking for an excellent story and a talented author to follow. Don’t be fooled by the YA label. There’s so much more to this series.

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