Incendiary is the first book in the Hollow Crown series by Zoraida Córdova.
I am Renata Convida.
I have lived a hundred stolen lives.
Now I live my own.
Renata Convida was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King’s Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a Robari, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata’s ability to steal memories from royal enemies enabled the King’s Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.
Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown and helping the remaining Moria escape the kingdom bent on their destruction. The Whispers may have rescued Renata from the palace years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred–or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she turned “hollow” during her time in the palace.
When Dez, the commander of her unit, is taken captive by the notorious Sangrado Prince, Renata will do anything to save the boy whose love makes her place among the Whispers bearable. But a disastrous rescue attempt means Renata must return to the palace under cover and complete Dez’s top secret mission. Can Renata convince her former captors that she remains loyal, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.
But returning to the palace stirs childhood memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the entire fate of the kingdom–and end the war that has cost her everything.
This story is inspired by the Inquisition-era Spain and is an epic love and revenge story. Cordova builds such a rich world where the royal family are determined to kill those with magic- Moria. The main characters Renata and Dez are fantastically complex and have rich backgrounds that we only begin to unravel in the book.
Renata and Dez have an amazing relationship, that they aren’t only friends but dating as well as Dez being the leader of the group she is in. I’m looking forward to see how their relationship changes in the next book. Cordova develops all the other characters along with Renata and the supposed villian Castian had a very interesting story arc that looks to set up book two very well as well as hinting of friendship with Renata when she was a child.
I really enjoyed the second half of the book as we learnt more about Renata’s past and not all is what it seems with help appearing from a surprising source. There are so many mysteries left for to be answered in the next book and I’m anxiously waiting for the second book.
I recommend this book to lovers of Serpent & Dove as well as The Black Witch series.