The Flame Queen by Dax Munro | An absolute, cringe-worthy mess

Posted February 5, 2019 by Sophia
11 Comments

The Flame Queen by Dax Munro | An absolute, cringe-worthy mess

The Flame Queen by Dax Munro | An absolute, cringe-worthy messThe Flame Queen by Dax Munro
The Legends of Peradon #1
Published by Self-Published on January 15, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: ARC, eBook

One woman will take back her freedom. And rise.

Violetta will never forget that day. Guilt shadows her every step as she prepares to take her father’s throne. Sadly, he has other ideas. Violetta must marry or forfeit her royal birthright, but all she wants is to be free, to no longer relive the tragic events of her past. If only she can learn to love again, to put the past behind her and begin anew.

Enter Emperor Ryore Frost. Handsome. Swave. And her sworn enemy.As Violetta feels new emotions stirring within, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to this mysterious man. Could she risk marrying her mortal enemy if it meant a chance at securing her freedom?

Four Magical Realms.One troubled Princess.

One love-starved Emperor.And a trio of assassins, lying in wait.

The author/publisher provided a free copy of the book for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a review copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore do not affect the opinion or content of the review.

The Flame Queen by Dax Munro is one of my most disappointing reads of 2019.

I wanted to like The Flame Queen. The book is basically everything that I would enjoy from a book: royalty, elemental magic, assassins, struggle with destiny, etc. But unfortunately, bookwyrms, that didn’t happen. 😔

This book is an absolute, fucking mess.

I’m writing this review a few days after and I’m still wondering, What the fuck did I read??? There are so many problems within the first few chapters, I stopped at 12% because I couldn’t bear it anymore.

But first, a mini rundown:

All I got from the first four chapters is this: In Year C-4, Emperor Jugan is speaking to his go-to assassin, Arlas, about getting rid of his eldest son, Ryore. Ryore is considered weak to Jugan and he wants to get rid of his son before he marries and gets an heir, thereby securing his spot to the throne. However, it’s impossible to get rid of him.

Reiza, one of the youngest of a rare group of Seers, foretells his son will be marrying Princess Violetta of another realm. Knowing this, Jugan goes to Arlas and asks him to get rid of Violetta before this happens. However, none of this happens and Arlas fails in his assassination attempt, killing someone else instead.

We then go into Chapter 5, bringing us to Year C-7, a few years later. Ryore is now the Emperor of his realm and Princess Violetta has developed a platonic relationship of sorts with Jennise/Jermise. Like Ryore, Violetta has no desire to do her royal duties.

The Flame Queen is a bit problematic.

The emperor grinned when two of his most trusted guards approached the doors to the throne room and allowed the little creature to enter.

I don’t know if this is saying women are creatures or if it’s saying seers are creatures in this world. Why call a seer, “creature?” But hold on, here’s another quote for context on why I’m bothered:

It was strange how one so young could wield such power. She still looked but a novice. Nowadays, even that marked her as a precious commodity as most Seers were long dead, leaving the few who were bom to fend for themselves.

If Seers are considered precious, why are they called creatures? Why are they fending for themselves? What does bom even mean? Is this their way of saying born or is it a typo that happens multiple times? I read it as bomb at first. 🤷‍♀️

(On a side note, we have a character who I assume is Princess Violetta’s new lady in waiting and new “friend” that is introduced as Jennise at first and then Jermise. Somehow I read that Germ Meese?)

Possible typos for entertainment aside, let’s continue with the next quote.

“Please do. I’ve had enough of her visions for one day.”

According to the previous quote, Reiza is a “precious commodity.” If she’s a “precious commodity,” Emperor Jugan wouldn’t have been so dismissive of her in the first place. But then again, I’m assuming he’s also the villain of sorts, at least in the very beginning.

Also why commodity? Commodity means a useful or valuable thing. Reiza is not a thing and from what I can interpret from the novel, she’s considered important. There’s nothing in the text that says anything about Seers being lower on the hierarchy of this world, though. I’m assuming they are based on the amount of fantasy I read that puts certain groups above others, so I let this one problem slide. But we have more.

We have major issues that are contradictory, which makes things confusing.

Ryore made a weak prince and would only make a more pitiful ruler.

Why is Ryore a weak prince? How would that make him a more pitiful ruler? I need more context. Instead, I get the surface thoughts of what one of the characters, Arlas (Emperor Jugan’s go-to assassin?), knows about Emperor Jugan in the couple chapters and Munro is telling me this. I want to know why. I don’t get why.

Let’s bring that previous quote and put it side by side with this quote from Arlas’s perspective.

“If that were to happen, then Ryore would gain a firm grasp on my throne, particularly if he is able to produce a strong male heir. As such, I will be needing you to do me a favour.”

For context here, Munro tells readers that Reiza, the young Seer, has seen that Emperor Jugan’s son, Ryore will fall in love with Princess Violetta from another realm.

I still don’t see how Ryore is considered weak? I don’t see how he would be pitiful? What I do see is how the prince would be a threat, but I don’t think he’s weak. From a fantasy standpoint, court issues are a thing and the one who has the fucking crown generally wants to keep the fucking crown. But what’s so fucking weak about Ryore?

Further on, Emperor Jugan tells Arlas this:

“Alas Arlas, my eldest has quite the few tricks up his sleeve. He will be hard to take out. No, impossible. It would be better to break his soul and ensure that he cannot gain future claims to the throne.”

Again, I still don’t see how Ryore is considered weak. Instead, I’m continuing to get evidence on how he would be a threat. In addition to that, I’m wondering, how is it impossible to kill him? If Ryore is so weak, it should be easy to kill him then?

Like I asked earlier, what’s so fucking weak about him?

We don’t get many contexts for some of the things that appear in the book.

The worldbuilding and character development are both weak. Readers are told one thing but are shown something else entirely. I feel there is so much missing from the beginning of the book when we are introduced to a character (or two) that isn’t even there by the fifth chapter. What’s the point of the beginning chapters then? Who are these characters? Why are they being introduced?

We have so many worldbuilding issues. So many.

In Year C-7, Munro tells us Emperor Jugan is now dead. Arlas is presumed to be alive as Ryore recalls his father’s dying words that tells him Arlas will lead him to his destiny. But what destiny is this? Is Ryore’s destiny with Princess Violetta and producing an heir so no one else in the realm could challenge him?

And why is Jugan important enough to be introduced to readers for four chapters? Because Arlas has his own perspective and is implied to be alive, it is safe for me to assume that he will be playing a key role in The Flame Queen. We don’t know what that key role as much as we don’t know what Ryore’s destiny truly is.

We don’t even know the villain. Emperor Jugan is dead by Chapter 5. Who is evil? Is it Arlas? Who do the characters need to watch out for? Sure, the synopsis says there are three assassins. I don’t expect to know who the assassins are because I want to be surprised.

But what is the destiny we’re talking about? Is there a prophecy? Was it made by Reiza? Hell, we don’t even know what happened to her in Chapter 5 and 6. For all we know, she died an unfortunate death.

Finally, there is creepy stuff in here that made me uncomfortable and was the ultimate “No, thank you.”

In most young adult books, the character is assumed to be in their teens, approximately 16-17 years old. The Flame Queen starts out in Year C-4 for the first four chapters, then goes to Year C-7 by the fifth chapter when we found out the age of the characters.

With the door closed behind him, Violetta was left to her own devices. In her own time, she got to her feet, covering her body as she made for the door. She may only have been twelve years of age, but she would go without a fight.

Y’all, Violetta is 12-years-old. TWELVE. We don’t know this until Chapter 5. Hold on to that thought for a moment as we go to Chapter 6 and enter Ryore’s perspective, who is now the Emperor of his realm.

At scarcely nineteen years of age, Ryore had inherited many responsibilities, most of which he considered unfavourable.

I had to read those two quotes carefully a few more times to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. I even checked the chapter headings to make sure there weren’t any gaps for years so it’s safe to assume Chapters 5 and 6 are set in Year C-7 as Chapter 5 is the beginning of a new year.

This isn’t even the most disturbing part until we go further down into Chapter 6.

If only he could have her. They would produce the perfect heir, from her supple young body and his brilliant mind.

I only have ONE response to this, and it is in the form of a GIF.

Princess Violetta is 12-years-old. Emperor Ryore is 19-years-old. That is a seven-year gap between the two characters. Seven fucking years.  I get it – history has long shown huge age gaps in marriage, but um, it’s 2019. This isn’t historical fiction. I don’t know if this is practice in the world of The Flame Queen because it wasn’t mentioned, but seven years is a huge age gap.

And that comment. Oh my goodness, let’s not even get into the disturbing cringe level of that thought running through Emperor Ryore’s head.

See, if we had Emperor Ryore and Princess Violetta not having any romantic relationships but having a friendship instead while battling an evil force, I would be there for that. I would continue the book. But instead, we have a fucking pedophile who’s mind is in the gutter and just wants to fuck a child to produce an heir. I don’t have time for this.

I am not here for these types of books.

No fucking way. Nope. Over my cute purple dragon flying across the header. And considering how long this review clocked in at, I don’t want to know how long the review would have ended up as if I decided to continue with The Flame Queen.

What a fucking mess. What an absolute, fucking mess.

Sophia is a socially awkward Communications major who has a GIF for nearly everything and is frequently in a Hogwarts House Crisis. More of her bookish reviews can be found at The Arts STL.

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11 responses to “The Flame Queen by Dax Munro | An absolute, cringe-worthy mess

  1. Well….possible child brides and awful world building….I think I’ll give this a hard no and not look into it further. Thank you for letting us know that. I know that some times a book does have a young bride but it’s typically high fantasy and it’s not a good thing, like the author is never like ‘oh yes I did this because it was normal and I thought it would be cool’ ugh. No. 12 and 19. No. 19 and 26? Better, but still….12 a child, 19 still a teen Ughhhhhhhhhhhhh

    • I would have less of an issue if the ages were 19 and 26 and they were consenting adults, but um… a minor and an adult? I’ve got HUGE issues with that. I’m not sure if the author’s intention here is to show it’s not a good thing, but I didn’t get that vibe reading The Flame Queen? I don’t know, honestly (nor do I want to find out).

  2. yikes upon yikes upon yikes. I always want to say I see the potential in a book no matter how problematic the execution turns out to be, but honestly it just sounds like a collection of tropes? so yeah, no. hard pass.

  3. Oh. My. God. I’d been thinking about picking this one up and just…

    I don’t even have any words. Even if I wanted to watch a slow-motion train wreck, the fact that she’s twelve and he’s thinking of basically “breeding” with her. I can’t. I just can’t.

    Thank you for this review.

  4. He’s nineteen, an adult and she’s twelve and he’s referring to her as a ‘supple young body’. I’m sickened. This isn’t a historical retelling, why is a sexual relationship between an adult and young girl that hasn’t even reached puberty being glamorised. Never mind all the other nonsense that you had to read through, there’s no way I would pick this up based on how it sounds as though women and women with power are being treated and seen as little more than objects. I don’t know how you made it through this one.

    • It was gross to read and resulted in a lot of cringing and I’m so glad I stopped at 12%. I don’t want to see anything else that will piss me off and make me cringe at the same time.

  5. Pete

    You come across as a ten year kid having just discovered the “F” word.
    Have you any understanding over the amount of effort required to write a novel?
    Dax has done a terrific job here. Like all of us, she’ll be the first to admit she’s still learning. That particular curve never ends. She has a great future ahead of herself in the literary world. No question. You should be able to see that – and comment on it!
    Just give it some thought, and be a little more polite. That’s all I have to say.