The Roar of Smoke

The Roar of Smoke, by Candace Carrabus, draws you into the kingdom of Cirq, which is dying, drowning in killing apathy. Legend has it that only the return of the horses can reverse the cycle, but with no Horsecaller, Tressida and Galiann, a pair of teens, are the sole surviving females of breeding age in the city. The people around them are fading away. However, Tressida has no plans to become a broodmare for her country or anyone else. Her focus is to join the Horseguard, whether or not there are any horses. It isn’t until the city is attacked that she discovers that plans for her future, whether her own or anyone else’s, might as well be written on air. Fleeing moments ahead of an invading force, she realises that she harbours a strange power, and it’s out of her control.

The Roar of Smoke is a well-written, evocative tale, drawing in the details of a country crushed by despair and invaded by a ruthless army, seen from the point of view of a teenage girl. Tressida’s fear of her own power and her conflicts with authority figures will draw you back to your own teens, and her search for self-determination and a mentor she can trust is compelling subject matter. The story is fantasy at its best, with danger, magic, and fascinating allusions to the ancient Celtic mythology of the horse gods of fertility and protection. Carrabus’s vivid storytelling will keep you turning pages and dreaming right to the end.

Reviewed for Readers’ Favorite.

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