Aarya Marsden's Reviews > A Spark of White Fire

A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna
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I can’t believe more people aren’t raving about this. It’s absolutely wonderful and I tore through it in three hours. It’s a Mahabharata-inspired space opera, but you don’t need any prior knowledge of Hindu myths to know what’s going on. As someone who grew up with the Mahabharata, I loved finding all the allusions and parallels - but also loved the surprise plot twists that diverged from the original. Just FYI: this is NOT a retelling. It takes common themes and the family warfare conflict, but is *very different* than the actual epic. There is a minor but satisfying romantic element, and I can’t wait to see it move forward in the sequel. I loved this book so much that even though I originally read it on overdrive, I’m planning on purchasing a copy of my own.

It’s weird because even though it’s technically a space opera and more science-fictiony, it *felt* like a fantasy at times. So much of the worldbuilding relies on gods/goddesses and draws upon mythology, so that’s why it felt like a true hybrid between SF and fantasy. I’ve never quite read anything like this before.

Some of my favorite allusions/nods to the original:

- The inspiration of Karna for Esmae’s backstory and characterization
- The scene with Kirrin, Esmae, and the blue flower reminded me of Karna and Indra
- Author really nailed character dynamics of the blind king. He felt *exactly* like the original in so many ways
- How selfish the “Kunti” character was here (same with “Arjuna” tbh). They’re the good guys in the original epic but I’ve always thought they were extremely selfish in their actions
- The One Hundred and One. The interpretation from the original made me laugh
- All the constant tapas (meditation/spiritual practice) and the importance of boons
- The fish/arrow challenge
- Really pleased that the author included the “Drona” backstory plot with the king
- And many, many more

I’m also dying for the next one. That ending was terrific and I have no idea how I’m supposed to wait for the next one. I highly, highly recommend this.
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Reading Progress

February 5, 2019 – Shelved
February 5, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
February 6, 2019 – Shelved as: tag-author-of-color
February 6, 2019 – Shelved as: wishlist
February 6, 2019 – Shelved as: fiction-genre-sci-fi-fantasy
February 24, 2019 – Started Reading
February 24, 2019 – Shelved as: rating-5
February 24, 2019 – Shelved as: year-2019
February 24, 2019 – Finished Reading
February 25, 2019 – Shelved as: owned-in-kindle

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