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  • Writer's pictureAshley Mongrain

This Golden Flame

Updated: Jul 15, 2021

Rating - ⭐⭐⭐

"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."


This Golden Flame is a standalone YA SFF novel by Emily Victoria.

There was potential for a good book hidden in there somewhere, but this didn't exactly hit the mark. In all honesty, the 3-star rating may or may not be generous because I don't really get what the point of this book was. I have more questions than answers after reading this.

Let's start with the plot and the world. This was a very ambitious book, and I don't know if anything was really accomplished with it. We had a kind of magical element, some cyborg-like beings called automatons, scholar-like figures called the scriptorum, and pirates. As I said, a lot going on.

At first, I thought that having a magic system based on runes and script was interesting, but then that just turned into confusion. I don't think enough information was given about the magic system or anything else for that matter. At the end a new element of the magic system is added with no explanation.

As for the world itself, it was isolated to only two places and was run by the scriptorum and the magistrates, or at least I think it was because, again, we weren't given a lot of explanation as to who they were. I don't even think we really get an explanation as to why the world seems to run around scripture.

As for the actual plot, everything that happened seemed very planned, too coincidental, and rather convenient. Nothing felt like it was happening organically and a lot of what happened was just by pure dumb luck. By the end of the book, once everything was wrapped up, I just didn't really feel like there was a point to what occurred.

Moving on to the characters, we have Karis and Alix as our main POVs, and honestly, I could have done without either of them. Karis felt kind of useless because it seemed like she was only there as a catalyst and not as an actual character. On the other hand, I also felt like it was pointless to have Lex's POV too because I don't think anything was gained from it that couldn't have been from Karis' even though he felt more like the main character than she did. Then you have Dane, Karis' best friend who did pretty much nothing throughout the entirety of the book, so much that there would have been no difference if he wasn't even there in the first place.

Then you have the group of pirates, who were way more interesting than our main characters, and whom we don't learn nearly enough about. There were tiny hints of a backstory but not much else. A minor side character got more back story than most for some reason.

Overall, this was too ambitious and wasn't fleshed out enough (especially for a standalone). I just don't understand what the point of this really was. That being said though, I wouldn't say this is a bad book and I think people would like it.

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