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Cold-Forged Flame

(Ree Varekai #1)

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  663 ratings  ·  148 reviews
The sound of the horn pierces the apeiron, shattering the stillness of that realm. Its clarion call creates ripples, substance, something more. It is a summons, a command. There is will. There is need.
And so, in reply, there is a woman.

At the beginning—no—at the end—she appears, full of fury and bound by chains of prophecy.

Setting off on an unexplained quest from which she
ebook, 104 pages
Published September 13th 2016 by
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  663 ratings  ·  148 reviews

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Aug 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-read-on-shelf
Provided that this is a quite short story (about 110 pages) it is actually a great book.
It is a fantasy story, possibly the beginning of something really epic (view spoiler)!

It felt more like a psychological thriller. She wakes up at some point in the middle of no where and she is compelled to complete a quest she does not know anything about. I really enjoyed the mental trip she goes through. It is a really awesome sto
I'd give this novella a solid 3.5*s overall as it's not quite what I expected and it does have some unique moments, but the present tense writing style can be a little jarring at times as it is a little unusual. This is a novella I picked up because I knew I liked Marie Brennan and and so it just seemed like a match I needed to sample. I don't think this is the sort of story you should go into knowing too much, and so I won't tell you much, other than it's exciting, mysterious and defini ...more
Karina Webster
Struggling to find something positive to say. I finished it? That’s why it gets two stars instead of one. The writing was very wooden and it wasn’t compelling or intriguing... sorry, not at all for me.
Nov 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well that was fun! And really suspenseful! When's the next one coming out? Immediately, right? Because that was fun!

A woman wakes on a slab of rock and remembers nothing of her life, although she remembers places and objects and such. She finds that she's essentially been conjured into being and is bound to a quest to obtain some blood from a cauldron on a mysterious island that is only there sometimes. The trip to the cave on the island is full of many traps and tests and it manages to create a
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really interesting idea, but I would have liked this more as the first arc of a novel rather than a stand alone story. Well done, just not really my thing?
Sep 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Review also published here

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this novella from the publisher. Keep that in mind while reading the review.

Cold-Forged Flame is a very different story from Marie Brennan's Lady Trent Memoirs, which I adore (and eagerly await the final book of!). What the story does have in common with the series is that it is about a girl/woman on the journey to self-discovery - although in a different manner than the Lady Trent's.

The originally unnamed protagonist is summoned
Barb (Boxermommyreads)
Jul 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
I'm trying to read a little outside of my comfort zone this year and I thought this novella from was a perfect place to start. A woman wakes up surrounded by a clan of people whom she doesn't know. She doesn't remember her past or her name but suddenly she is given the task of obtaining a few drops of blood from an ancient entity who lives on an island in the middle of basically nowhere. During the way she encounters threats and forges a new alliance. As she struggles to complete her tas ...more
Sep 23, 2016 rated it liked it
This is an interesting story with an intriguing main character. The story's main shortcoming is...that it's short. It comes in at about 60 pages on my iPad mini screen, a long short story or a very short novella. At $2.99, it's a bit pricey for what you get.

The story ends with a promising set-up for further adventures, and this story would work well as a prequel to a series. If this is, indeed, the case and the next book (due out next spring) is a full-length novel, I will look forward to it. If
May 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was a fun little novella. The story follows a woman who wakes up having been summoned to complete a quest, but she doesn't remember anything about who she is or her past. The novella had some good suspense with our narrator trying to figure out who she was, as well as her trying to complete this quest and figure out why she was summoned and what completing the quest will end up accomplishing. This was a fun read that was a nice little intro into this world. I'm definitely interested in foll ...more
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this novella, and what looks like the start to a series. It is only 100 pages, and it is amazing how much Brennan fits into this story.
Just go with it, our lead is missing her memory, so you don't know what is really happening for quite some time. I found the story completely worth it. Just immerse yourself in the rich fantasy trappings, that are surprisingly short on words.
Bring on book 2!
I've heard great things about Marie Brennan's books. My husband has read her The Memoirs of Lady Trent series, and loved it. It was one of his favorite fantasy series that he read in 2016. He has talked so positively about her books that I've really wanted to read them. I was looking through her backlog, and decided to try Cold-Forged Flame. It's a novella, which I've read a lot of recently. It's short, so I figured it would be a quick read to get a taste of her writing style. Unfortunat ...more
Aug 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I much enjoyed this author's A Natural History of Dragons, which some people found dull. This is not dull. It's a fast-moving novella with plenty of action and conflict.

The plot is straightforward and doesn't break new ground (fetch quest with obstacles to overcome), and it begins with amnesia. Neither of these things are promising on the face of it. Main-character amnesia, in particular, is a cliche start, and is sometimes an inexperienced author's way of dealing with the fact that they don't
Sep 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Received to review via Netgalley

I was so excited to receive this: I love Marie Brennan’s work, and by coincidence my request was even approved on my wedding day. So of course I’ve hurried to read it, and I wasn’t disappointed at all — it’s part of’s novella series, so it is short, but for me it avoids the issues of many other novellas by being both a whole story in itself but with scope for more stories. I think that’s partially what makes it satisfying: it leaves space for more without
The Captain
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Ahoy there me mateys! I received this fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .

I had previously read this author’s warrior/witch duology and the first novel in her Lady Trent series. I wanted more of her work and this book sounded amazing. I read this in a sitting and adored it . . .

The worse thing I can say about the reading experience was that I didn’t know it was a novella! I finished the e-book version and was convinced that I had someho
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
4.0 Stars

While I rarely read short fiction, I picked up this novel because the premising sounded so intriguing. I love reading stories that involve unreliable narrators with missing or incomplete memories. Over the course of the book, the narrative slowly unravels the mysterious past of the main character. Despite the short length, this piece of fiction felt memorable, delving deeply into themes of destiny and free-will. This was my first experience writing Marie Brennan's work and I was thoroug
Jan 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
She is summoned, bound to a task and sent on her way with (at first) no idea of who (or what) she is, nor why she has been sent. As she traverses an implacably hostile (and not all that fair-playing) island, she may or may not be discovering some of the answers ...

A shorter novella, this one, but intriguing, and I look forward to the sequel.
I enjoyed the story, but was thrown out by the character's cursing. Not that she was cursing but her curse words felt 20th/21st century American and the story was obviously not located here. ...more
Stefan Fergus
Jun 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Interesting. Feels like the first part of a potential series. A bit strange in the second half. But, interesting.
Aug 21, 2016 rated it liked it
This review was originally posted at my blog: Silicon of the Internet

Title: Cold-Forged Flame
Author: Marie Brennan
Genre: Fantasy
Subgenre: Sword-and-Sorcery
Review by Silicon.


Cold-Forged Flame is the first novella in a series by Marie Brennan which follows this strange woman through her adventures in a Celtic-inspired land. Publication date is September 13th 2016. I received an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a pretty unique story that works
Siona St Mark
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Interesting themes, but very different from The Memoirs of Lady Trent (the only other work by Brennan that I've read). A lot more cussing, namely. I think the world set up in this, but I hope there are more longer works set in this world (I know there is a sequal but it is also only 100 pages long). If you didn't like the Lady Trent books, I would say check this out because it might be more of your liking. ...more
Sachin Dev
Aug 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Brilliant. complex. highly imaginative story of self discovery and survival. publishing schedule has this frequent habit of derailing me from my reading schedule. And they did it yet again – forcing me to pick up Cold Forged Flame by Marie Brennan. Marie Brennan is a name that should be familiar to me, but sadly I haven’t jumped onto the bandwagon of readers, who are enamored by her series, A Natural History of Dragons and the subsequent sequels, detailing the adventures of Lady Trent and
Claudia ✨
May 11, 2018 rated it liked it
If I hadn't known before that this was written by Marie Brennan, I would never have guessed that this book was written by the same author that wrote A Natural History of Dragons. Never.

The writing style is completely different - Cold-Forged Flame is much darker, and if it wasn't such a tiny little novella, I might have enjoyed it even more than I did, and probably more than A Natural History of Dragons.

"There is will. There is need.
And so, in reply, there is a woman."

In Cold-Forged Flame, we fo
Levi Jacobs
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
This feels like a writing experiment gone wrong. The beginning scene, the opening concept of the novella (because at 100 pages this is not nearly a novel!) is compelling: a warrior woman appears, summoned by need, with no idea of who she is or what she is to do. But from there… she doesn’t go on to learn much about herself, or change in interesting ways, or get embroiled in an exciting plot, unravel a mystery, or even wander a fantasy world so unique and richly imagined we don’t really mind ther ...more
Bonnie McDaniel
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, mystery
This is one of's new novella line. This particular story was 100 pages, and for an introduction this format was perfect. Sometimes a book doesn't need to be doorstop size to make its point.

Speaking of "perfect," look at this opening paragraph.

The sound of the horn pierces the apeiron, shattering the stillness of that realm. Its clarion call creates ripples, substance, something more. It is a summons, a command. There is will. There is need.

And so, in reply, there is a woman.

Now that, my
Sep 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
2'5 stars
After reading the book it surprised me how spot-on the synopsis was, as it is really telling all we are going to find on the book.
This is a short story, and while I feel like more of a background foundation might have been handy, I also guess the author could have been bounded by space.
The secundary characters doesn't feel very "alive", but the main one has a very distinctive voice.
I'd probably read more of the upcoming ones as this is an easy but entertaining read.
Jul 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyable and kept me guessing!
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this. It reminded me of the best of old school sword & sorcery without its problems.
S.J. Higbee
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
And this female warrior springs into life, full of fury, not knowing who she is or where she comes from – but bound by magic to the rather frightened mage who summons her. So… as a reader, do I care about her? After all, I haven’t a clue who she is or what she stands for – other than the fact that they are all very frightened of her and she would dearly like to do them bloody harm. What about learning of her backstory to pull me into her world and make me bond with her? Nope – that can’t happen. ...more
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Synopsis: "The sound of the horn pierces the apeiron, shattering the stillness of that realm. Its clarion call creates ripples, substance, something more. It is a summons, a command. There is will. There is need.
And so, in reply, there is a woman.

At the beginning—no—at the end—she appears, full of fury and bound by chains of prophecy.

Setting off on an unexplained quest from which she is compelled to complete, and facing unnatural challenges in a land that doesn’t seem to exist, she will discover
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Marie Brennan a.k.a. M.A. Carrick

Marie Brennan is a former anthropologist and folklorist who shamelessly pillages her academic fields for material. She recently misapplied her professors' hard work to Turning Darkness Into Light, a sequel to the Hugo Award-nominated series The Memoirs of Lady Trent. As half of M.A. Carrick, she is also the author of The Mask of Mirrors, first in the Rook and Rose

Other books in the series

Ree Varekai (2 books)
  • Lightning in the Blood (Ree Varekai, #2)

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