Falling Fire (Part One) by Caroline Peckham, e-book novella, 42 pages, published in 2016.
Set a couple of years before Creeping Shadow, this novella introduces Quinn Thorn and Rogan Ganderfield, two of the most famous young mages in Aleva. To protect the magical line, mages are paired off in arranged marriages. Quinn and Rogan are one such pair, becoming engaged at sixteen because it is expected of them. Now they are starting university, they must develop their magical skills, make friends, and maybe even fall in love.
Novellas are so short, but there is a lot packed into this one. I loved coming back to Aleva! Meeting Quinn and Rogan at a younger age allowed me to know them more thoroughly and to appreciate them for who they are and how they grew up. I found Quinn rather rude and snobby in Creeping Shadow, but now I actually feel sorry for her. Her life is hard, even though it glimmers on the outside. She is famous, rich and beautiful, but she has to act a certain way and there are many expectations placed upon her. She doesn’t really get to be herself because people are always watching (and often staring), and she never knows if people want to spend time with her for her, or because of her fame or money. Rogan also endures similar pressures, but handles them with more aplomb. I really like him as a character. Despite his fame, he is quite down to earth and approachable. I still want to punch Larkin, but I suppose every story needs someone to hate!
It was exciting reading about the magical lessons Quinn and Rogan are taking at university. I wish I had the ability to heal injuries like Quinn! Though using magic to make her hair sit perfectly or move clothes into the closet seems a little overkill, but when you grow up with it, it’s probably just second nature. While magic must make life move more smoothly most of the time, it is also a huge responsibility and in some cases, a burden. I have a much greater appreciation for Quinn and Rogan now.
Falling Fire (Part One) is suitable for high school students and up. If you enjoyed the other books in The Rise of Isaac series, you should definitely check out this wonderful novella. I am very happy I have Falling Fire (Part Two) to go on with!
*I received this advanced reading copy as a digital version from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.