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Of Honey and Wildfires

(Songs of Sefate #1)

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4.30  ·  Rating details ·  61 ratings  ·  36 reviews
From the moment the first settler dug a well and struck a lode of shine, the world changed. Now, everything revolves around that magical oil.

What began as a simple scouting expedition becomes a life-changing ordeal for Arlen Esco. The son of a powerful mogul, Arlen is kidnapped and forced to confront uncomfortable truths his father has kept hidden. In his hands lies a dec
...more
Kindle Edition, 308 pages
Published April 28th 2020 by Sarah Chorn (first published March 31st 2020)
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Sarah This is an adult book, not YA. There are swears and adult issues addressed and etc.

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Average rating 4.30  · 
Rating details
 ·  61 ratings  ·  36 reviews


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Kaitlin
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
*I was sent a review copy by the author but my review is my honest opinion*

This story is beautifully written and harrowing. It's a story of family and friends, community and loss. It's a tale of a sad past and a bleak future. We follow a few different characters, and all of their lives are lies and half-truths. They hide things because the have to, or hide things because they just don't know the reality.

The world we follow uses 'shine' as currency. It's mined and supplied by the Company, and it
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Michael Sliter
May 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’ve been in a major reading slump, of late. Certainly, the excuses are myriad. Pandemic is one. New baby is another. The fact that my last two most anticipated books were big let downs didn’t help (Burning White and Darkdawn).

So, I’ve been finding myself picking up new books, flipping through the first few chapters, and then tossing them aside. Been trying all sorts to pique my interest, and they‘d all failed

Until Of Honey and Wildfires.

Sarah Chorn has been on my radar for a while, and I tho
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Bob/Sally
The best stories are those you experience, the ones that get inside your head and your heart, but it’s storytelling of a whole other level when you know there is heartbreak and sorrow ahead, and yet you feel compelled to see it through, not just to know the ending, but to experience it in all its heartrending agony.

Coming into Of Honey and Wildfires, I already knew Sarah Chorn was an exceptional writer and editor (check out my review of Seraphina’s Lament), but this . . . this is that whole othe
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Lukasz
Mar 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-published, 2020
Review and rating closer to the publication date but I have mixed feelings about this one.
Lynn K : Grimmedian
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
Of Honey and Wildfires is a soul baring story. The characters are broken and remade in so many ways. The author has again poured herself into the story and the result is amazing.
The story is based on magic. Loads of it. The Shine. The wells of crude Shine and the territory where they are found. It comes at a cost though. Powerful in a crude state, addictive to those who drink it, it eventually destroys them. It also contains healing and strengthening properties. A double-edged sword, those who b
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Ria Bridges
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’ve been a fan of Chorn’s writing style since reading Seraphina’s Lament in 2019. She has a brilliant evocative style that drew me in, turning emotions into landscapes in a way that felt downright poetic. That same style is evident in Of Honey and Wildfires, though I found that this one had a much stronger focus on the narrative than Seraphina’s Lament. It might be because her first novel dealt with events happening on a massive scale, changing how the very world worked, whereas here, the story ...more
Mili
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Superb writing and storytelling. So much emotion and hope in these characters. The shine is fascinating. And there is lgbt rep.
A.M. Justice
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Full review to come, but in short, this is a lovely book that delves deep into the mysteries of compassion, love, and the price one pays for both.

My full review can be seen here: http://fantasy-faction.com/2020/of-ho...
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Anna
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Of Honey and Wildfires" is a very first book from Sarah that I read. When I received an ARC, I had no expectations about the story other than an initial indication that it contains queer content, is a fantasy, and was coming out soon.

The synopsis reads: "From the moment the first settler dug a well and struck a lode of shine, the world changed. Now, everything revolves around that magical oil.
What began as a simple scouting expedition becomes a life-changing ordeal for Arlen Esco. The son of a
...more
Calvin Park
May 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Do you want the rugged majesty of the Old West, the sense of exploration—and exploitation—but wrapped in a world filled with fascinating magic? Of Honey and Wildfires by Sarah Chorn is exactly what you’re looking for. This isn’t some Old West inspired action flick, however. There is a quality and depth to the characters that carries the story along and makes it something special.

Chorn’s fantasy yarn is unique and engaging. Set in a wonderfully realized world, it takes many cues from the Old Wes
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Carrie Chi Lough
Jun 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sarah Chorn's lyrical writing style is bold. It is violent. She carves sentences that bleed with emotion. She is an author that not only experimented with concepts beyond her debut novel, but dared to trespass the boundaries of conventional story telling.

The way Sarah continues to betray the norm and win makes her an author I will closely follow.

Of Honey and Wildfires is written across several timelines and changes between deep point of view, first and third person perspectives. This should not
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Sabetha
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you were looking for a typical fantastical read, that has magic, politics, love and heartbreak- I'm sorry to say this isn't it. Nothing Sarah Chorn writes is typical, but it is all must read.

She weaves poetic words into an intoxicating vision that tears your heart out and attempts to put it back in only to rip it out again. I could read this book a thousand times and still be just as affected by the beauty in her words, while taking away different themes and meanings with each read. I cried i
...more
Jason Aycock
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I sat down on a recent Wednesday night to start reading Of Honey And Wildfires. This would be my third read for Self-Published Fantasy Month and the first book from Sarah Chorn I’d ever read. I was relaxed, in a good mood, and looking forward to the read because I’d seen nothing but great reviews for Sarah’s books. But I also knew from those reviews that I might be in for some feels. Reader…I wasn’t prepared.

I only managed to finish a few chapters and had to stop. I couldn’t read anymore. I just
...more
Rebekah Teller
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
We read for entertainment, we read for escape. We read to feel connected to others and sometimes to try to find ourselves. Of Honey and Wildfires did each of these things for me.

It’s a fantasy western setting with a unique magic system based on a type of oil they call shine. In this backdrop, Chorn paints a heartbreaking drama of love, family, inheritance and secrets. Her raw, lyrical style unfurls as the story deepens. This book tore my heart into pieces and laid them out in front of me.

Arlen E
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C.T. Phipps
Dec 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: steampunk, fantasy
http://booknest.eu/reviews/charles/21...

OF HONEY AND WILDFIRES by Sarah Chorn is a steampunk fantasy novel that is a marked contrast to her previous novel, SERAPHINA'S LAMENT. The latter novel was a dark and foreboding story set against a fantasy version of the Ukrainian famine engineered by Joseph Stalin. The former is a fascinating story about company mining town where the poor are forced to labor daily in order to extract a magical liquid called Shine. Of the two, I think I like this one bett
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Mihir
Nov 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Overall rating - 4.5 stars

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Of Honey And Wildfires is the sophomore effort by Sarah Chorn and it’s a vastly different story than her debut Seraphina’s Lament.

OHAW is set in a western setting (circa 1800s of the American West) that’s just about on the cusp of exploration and having new wonders showcased. The story is set from the viewpoint of three characters: Cassandra, Arlen & Ianthe. The story is also set in two different timelines as we get to see Cassandra as a young child
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Paul Genesse
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A POWERFUL WORK OF FICTION

I LOVED IT! Of Honey and Wildfires did what all great works of art have to do: it made me feel something powerful. So many emotions. It resonated with me on a very deep level. Cassandra's chapters as a young girl were especially gut wrenching, but the passion carried throughout.

It was such an extremely interesting world and story, set in magical western frontier, where “Shine” is a resource than can do almost anything, and is extremely valuable. The people who live in t
...more
Corey (grimdark_dad)
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a painfully human, gorgeous story that Chorn has written. It’s a simple tale, beautifully told with some stunning prose. The relationship between Cassandra and Ianthe is, to me, the soul of this book. Equal parts coming-of-age & love story, I just felt my heart getting squished while my stomach did flips whenever these two were on the page. Just…SO MANY EMOTIONS!!!

Full review:

https://grimdarkdad.wordpress.com/202...
...more
Vigasia
Feb 11, 2021 rated it liked it
3,5 stars

This book is hard to rate for me because on one side we have beautiful prose that make the book easy to read and interestingly created world. On the other we have plot and characters that didn't convince me. There's a lot of drama and loss in the book but somehow I wasn't emotionally involved enough to feel something. But I will read the sequel.
...more
Tim Martin
A beautifully written Western tale that is also a fantasy tale, at times it is hard to decide which genre is the dominant one (this not being academia, I can happily answer “both”). The second published novel of Sarah Chorn, she continues to impress particularly with how different the two books are in feel and tone, playing here with a nonlinear storyline (always tricky, but especially tricky for a second novel I would imagine, though I hasten to add she nails it) and though writing very descrip ...more
Kel
Aug 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[ Overall Thoughts ]
This book is a very quick but heartfelt, character-driven read. It is compelling and easy to pick back up for just one more chapter. It is a standalone story of Cassandra - daughter of an infamous outlaw - and Arlen - heir to the empire-like Shine Company - each learning about themselves through different periods of drastic change in their lives. The world is colorful (literally) and interesting, with an "gold-rush" or "oil-rush" element due to the valuable resource of shine:
...more
Kody Boye
Dec 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What if there was a place in the world where a magical substance could change your life forever? Where it could help heal your wounds, restore your food, power your weapons, and most of all, sustain you through lifelong illnesses? This is the concept found in Sarah Chorn’s OF HONEY AND WILDFIRES, and the harrowing story that follows will tear you apart.

Without giving too much of the plot away: OF HONEY AND WILFIRES follows the tales of three people whose lives are irreversibly altered by a man n
...more
Rowena Andrews
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, indie
I have been waiting for this book ever since it was announced, and was staring at my kindle waiting for it at midnight. I have just finished it and I am blown away. It was a beautiful, twisting read from start to finish, and I will be reading this one over and over. I adored the characters, and the ways their stories were interwoven, and gods did I feel for them.

I am going to do a longer review today/tomorrow as it is 3am and I have the book hangover of book hangovers, and my heart is very full
...more
E.M. Hamill
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sarah Chorn’s first novel, Seraphina’s Lament, reinforced my concept of grimdark fantasy as a potential favorite genre. You can see my review of this incredible book here. I now have to add ‘fantasy AU Western’ to that mix.

If grimdark is not your thing, you absolutely MUST read Of Honey and Wildfires instead to get a taste of Chorn’s magnificent, lyrical prose, which flows between the events of this story like its golden, sticky namesake and weaves the events together in an inescapable flood.

It
...more
Yaniv
Sep 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was really terrific, and it put me through basically every emotion humanly possible. When it was sweet, it wasn't too sticky, and when it hurt, the pain was soul deep.

We follow the character of Arlen who's the son of the head of shine company on his voyage to the frontier. Many concepts and ways of life which seemed to Arlen so obvious suddenly were cracked and turned inside out for various reasons. The other MC was young and orphaned Cassandra, who life is full of grit from a very ear
...more
Emma
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazing, heartbreaking, beautiful

Just finished and wow.

To me, I feel this had a somewhat shaky start, but then again I am not well versed in this genre. That, and my only other criticism are that it was a bit cliche at times.

Onto the good stuff: there was a lot of it! The minority representation in this is amazing and a breath of fresh air in these scary times.
The plot itself is so unique, I found myself wishing there would be a sequel, imagining an alternate path for the characters. It is hea
...more
Elly
Slow paced but this book is so beautifully written, I just couldn’t give up on it.
Jason Aycock
I sat down on a recent Wednesday night to start reading Of Honey And Wildfires. This would be my third read for Self-Published Fantasy Month and the first book from Sarah Chorn I’d ever read. I was relaxed, in a good mood, and looking forward to the read because I’d seen nothing but great reviews for Sarah’s books. But I also knew from those reviews that I might be in for some feels. Reader…I wasn’t prepared.

I only managed to finish a few chapters and had to stop. I couldn’t read anymore. I just
...more
Hobart
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-reads
(actually, I don't know how many stars to give it, but it probably deserves 4. I didn't give it a rating on my blog, The Irresponsible Reader, where this originally appeared.
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I will tell you this: Home is not a place. Home is an architecture of bones and a steadily thumping heart. Home is where dreams are born, and monsters are put to rest. It is where the soul can unfurl like the petals of a flower and find succor in the golden blush of each new day.

Home was my father’s arms. When I was in t
...more
Justin
Feb 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Of Honey and Wildfires is a rather short book, by fantasy standards anyway, weighing in at just over 300 pages. That’s not to say that this is a bad thing. Quite the opposite, in fact, because I don’t think I could have withstood reading much more than that. Let me explain. Generally speaking, I am a bit of a bleeding heart. I will be the first to admit that I cry in almost every movie, books often leave me sobbing, stirring mus
...more
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Sarah has been a compulsive reader her whole life. At a young age, she found her reading niche in the fantastic genre of Speculative Fiction. She blames her active imagination for the hobbies that threaten to consume her life. She is a freelance writer and editor, a semi-pro nature photographer, world traveler, three-time cancer survivor with hEDS, and mom to two. In her ideal world, she’d do noth ...more

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