August 9, 2013

The Flame in the Mist - Kit Grindstaff

The Flame in the Mist - Kit Grindstaff
The Flame in the Mist by Kit Grindstaff
Publisher:  Delacorte Press
Publication Date: April 9, 2013
Source/Format: Netgalley (Thanks Random House!) || e-galley
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

Fiery-headed Jemma Agromond is not who she thinks she is, and when the secrets and lies behind her life at mist-shrouded Agromond Castle begin to unravel, she finds herself in a chilling race for her life. Ghosts and misfits, a stone and crystals, a mysterious book, an ancient prophecy—all these reveal the truth about Jemma's past and a destiny far greater and more dangerous than she could have imagined in her wildest fantasies. With her telepathic golden rats, Noodle and Pie, and her trusted friend, Digby, Jemma navigates increasingly dark forces, as helpers both seen and unseen, gather. But in the end, it is her own powers that she must bring to light, for only she has the key to defeating the evil ones and fulfilling the prophecy that will bring back the sun and restore peace in Anglavia. (from Goodreads)

Most fantasy novels have a serious tone, with skirmishes and situations that offer the harshest consequences and the greatest triumphs imaginable. Reading a book like The Flame in the Mist, however, reminds me of just how fun they can be! While the stakes are certainly high for Jemma and her allies, while there’s gore and blood and death, there’s something light in its tone, perhaps due to its target age group – middle grade readers. With a simple plot and some rather… interesting companion characters, this novel was pretty good.

Jemma Agromond is a character that the reader will feel for, as she seems plagued by endless secrets, life-threatening circumstances and an aggravating family (and that’s being nice).  It’s easy to want Jemma to triumph because she seems like such a nice character. She’s intelligent, witty, brave and very determined to do whatever the right thing might be. She is not a perfect character, however, as readers discover that she harbors doubts, fears and a whole lot of anger. This combination of good traits and bad ones is really what is successful in making Jemma seem real and accessible.

The story is really twisted (in a good way), chock full of shocking revelations and interesting lore. I liked that it felt like Jemma was on a quest (twice) in the novel. It always felt very exciting to see her plunged into action and forced to fight against the evil that threatened to outdo her. I found myself reading quickly whenever big moments happened, curious to see if Jemma would survive it. Plus, the revelations were unexpected and the magic brought things up to an entirely different level! There are so many strong elements to this novel, and Grindstaff did an excellent job pulling it together.

Even though it’s targeted towards a younger audience, The Flame in the Mist was really enjoyable. I wasn’t a big fan of the creepy crawlies that were in the book, and I do think it could potentially be a bit too dark for readers on the younger end of the spectrum. These things aside, this fantasy novel was imaginative, quirky and very adventurous. Readers will enjoy accompanying Jemma on her journey to save the day. I know I did!


  1. Great review, Alexa. I felt the same way and the last few chapters were hard hitting, I sort of sensed what would happen with the twins, but I didn't see it playing out quite that way.

  2. I've been looking forward to reading this novel ever since I first heard of it! :) While I normally don't enjoy high fantasy, there's just something about the story that speaks to me. The fact that you've now mentioned how much fun it was only makes me more excited to read it myself!

    I often turn to middle grade novels when I need a change of pace, and I'll definitely be adding The Flame in the Mist to my TBR list for just such an occasion :D Thanks for the lovely and insightful review, Alexa!

  3. Glad to read some more about this book-I found it way too long for my attention span at the time and was pretty neutral about it. I knew though that other people would like it so I'm happy to see your opinion :)

  4. Oh yay! I'm glad this one was good! I kept seeing it on NetGalley but didn't let myself request it - thought it would just end up being one I wouldn't read. But now I'm really excited about it! I'm needing a good fantasy with a great heroine that ISN'T super heavy!


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