• Booktastically Amazing

Together We Burn (ARC Review)

by Isabel Ibañez


Do you hear that? Those are my expectations for romance rising.

 

Spoiler Free- Synopsis:


An ancient city plagued by dragons. A flamenco dancer determined to save her ancestral home. A dragon hunter refusing to teach her his ways. They don't want each other, but they need each other, and without him her world will burn.


Eighteen-year-old Zarela Zalvidar is a talented flamenco dancer and daughter of the most famous Dragonador in Hispalia. People come for miles to see him fight in their arena, which will one day be hers.


But disaster strikes during their five hundredth anniversary show, and in the carnage, Zarela’s father is horribly injured. Facing punishment from the Dragon Guild, Zarela must keep the arena—her ancestral home and inheritance —safe from their greedy hands. She has no choice but to take her father’s place as the next Dragonador. When the infuriatingly handsome dragon hunter, Arturo Díaz de Montserrat, withholds his help, she refuses to take no for an answer.


But even if he agrees, there’s someone out to ruin the Zalvidar family, and Zarela will have to do whatever it takes in order to prevent the Dragon Guild from taking away her birthright.

The first sentence should've already grabbed you by the eyespheres-
 


~👑Special thanks to Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!👑~


Me when I added this book.

Me: Hmm, it has fire.

Might be arson, I like that.

Me: Oh

Me: OH

Me: Oh my arsenic soul-

Me: It has dragons-

Me: Wait, I can't make a decision this abruptly, can you imagine what the other books would say-?

Me: What about that poor book on my shelf that's been begging to be read-

Me: Will I be so cruel to ignore it?

*calmly tries reading the rest of the synopsis*

*calmly closes eyes*

*reads "infuriatingly handsome dragon hunter"*

*with eyes closed because that's a power, nowadays*

Me: HUNTER. DRAGON. MAN. MAN WHO IS A DRAGON HUNTER- THAT WHICH BURNS IS HIM AND THE DRAGONS-


So basically, that was my short and incredibly efficient turn into the neanderthal stage of my existence while adding this book.

Yes, I am indeed aging backward. Is that not normal?


Rating: ✨✨✨✨✨ 4.5

Firstly, I would love to point out that I for once didn't have to use Google translate while reading a book with another language integrated within it.

And that made me a lot happier than I thought I would be.

Secondly, there were some Spanish curse words that I had to frantically cover while people passed behind me.

*forces smile*

It was... enlightening...


And thirdly, Arturo can glare at me and set me on fire any day of the week-

Preferably safe fire.

Because that ish would hurt.


*has violent flashback of that one time she tried to do five-minute crafts by setting hand sanitizer on fire and trying to put said hand sanitizer on hands*

She was above the age of ten.


Chile anyways so, on to the real deal (as real as it can be when I'm running on two teas, a sleeping pill and a list of key things that I will promptly forget).


Beginning with the plot and later deviating from my usual reviewing style (2022 has some changes y'all-), I must say that it was simply charming *bear wiggle*. Although predictable, it left me wanting more and more and- oh, there's not anymore. I shall touch on that in a few moments. I loved (adored, drooled for) the fact about the Gremios de Magia, Sastre, Dragonadores. I have no idea if it's because of the Spanish flair, but I felt my eyes shining as I read through them. The storyline of a flamenco dancer suddenly being forced into the world of dragon fighting was incredibly precious, and I looked forward to how it all would come together at the end. Now, the things that docked half .25 of a star off was that the plot itself, being as simple as it was, failed to bring me to my knees in excruciating pain of wanting to know all the details. At the beginning it dragged on just a tad, leaving me wondering at times whether it would pick up the pace (which it did towards the end, and I loved it) and because of that, the ending felt abrupt and too rushed.


Imagine a beginner driver (ahem, moi) trying to get through a field of mud.

At first, it's a slow, tedious, slightly messy ordeal, yet as the journey progresses in its complexity, you get used to the squishing mud between the tires.

But then there's an obstacle right toward the end of the road, and what does the driver do? Slam to a stop.


That was the gist of the plot in a metaphor that sounds exactly like what a two-year-old would say (remember, I'm aging backwards).

In all honesty, the book could've been longer and even a series! (I never say that, and I scared myself)

Why? Because I was looking forward to seeing more dragons, that's all I currently live for.


Don't get me wrong, I loved all the times they were mentioned, but they felt inconsequential to the story, if that makes sense. Like if you could eliminate the dragons and add some other beast, nothing would change. I would've craved to have seen more scenes with the dragons and the MC. Her battling or simply standing staring at their vicious beauty...

Can you tell I'm *this* close to flying out to Hispalia and getting possibly eaten by a majestic dragon?

In my opinion, it would be a marvelous going away party-


Moving along, before my acute obsession with dragons takes over, I wanted to dedicate a whole section to the romance.

Mayday mayday, Booksy found an enemies to lovers-

ABORT MISSION, ABORT MISSION- mission was not aborted so here we are now, gathered to commemorate how bloody amazing that trope is.

This book had all the components for it.

The tension.

The salivation (mainly by me).

The banter.

The 'I hate you', 'I hate you too', 'We should probably kiss' moments...

The too hot glances that burned through my moral restraints of imagination-


I'm afraid my infatuation with that trope was ever so engulfed in passionate flames.

The chemistry took time to actually grip me, since at the beginning they didn't even feel a smidge of something, so perhaps that's why it's not UP THERE, but dang. I was sweating-

I loved how they got interrupted every time they were about to kiss.

Reminded me of that time someone tried stealing a fruit cocktail from me and I stabbed them with a fork.

*He tried stealing the cherry y'all. THE CHERRY*

I didn't fall in love with the romance in this book, but I do have a massive, definitely one-sided, most likely unhealthy crush for it.

Because it's never going to happen to me.


And you know what? The characters fixed that hole in my chest a little.


Zarela had an honest to Hades transformation in my eyes. And I'm so proud-

At the start she was a bit self entitled (even her adorable dad recognized that), a little too self-absorbed (her dad also recognized that), maybe spoiled (her dad totally mentioned that) but then she evolved. Her stubbornness reminded me of me and I cannot fault her for that, I wish I had her tenacity and strength when facing detrimental decisions. Her willpower to help her family went beyond of what I thought she would give. I liked her character and would've loved to know more of how she really is. Apart from being a flamenco dancer and being in love, what did she like? What did her soul yearn for in the darkest of nights? *sigh* She has so much more potential and in my head, I can picture her being more of an amazing person as the years go by.


Arturo steal-your-freaking-will-to-date-in-real-life husband of mine, he simply was perfection. I truly believe he was more fleshed out than the MC. He played the guitar (hold me, I'm falling), he could tame dragons (this is so rude, why can't I have him?), wanted to write a book about said dragons... basically all you would love in a love interest.

Also, he hated the MC's guts.

Let's take a moment to appreciate this extraordinary occurrence.

You can try to convince me, but I know that underneath that brooding gray gaze, those bulging muscles, the harsh line of his shoulders- he is... waiting to be wed to moi.

*I'm desperate, okay?*


*screams into pillow because why not*


The MC's friendship with her best friend Lola was just hands down, flipping adorable. I enjoyed their chats, their interactions, their banter, their arguments- and I look forward to seeing what Lola lives for herself. What is she personally like, etc. When you know, we get a sequel... *smirk smirk*


Even though I didn't connect with the characters on a personal level, I think it was okay with this book at least. So many things had to be resolved in three hundred pages, betrayal, treachery, love, hate, anguish, grief. That I see why they weren't extremely detailed.


Like me.
I'm in a work in progress.
Possibly a DNF too-

On a closing note, I literally have never felt prouder of having to take a moment and register that I was reading a Spanish fantasy novel. With dragons. And enemies to lovers- I still have not gotten over it.

It's a disease at this point-

Nevermind, I love it.

The book itself was highly enjoyable, I would say low fantasy just because it wasn't as intricate or complicated to unravel. What you see is what you get, and I was okay with it.

I would marry the romance (before the actual 'I love you' part, afterwards it sends to get boring)

And Arturo.

And- I'll stop.

The writing was beautiful, the worldbuiding was a tad rushed, but I understood why.


Those 56 almost kisses though-

I'M DEAD-


But not really because my wedding is in three days, seventeen minutes and thirty-two seconds.

Who wants to be the maid of honor-


HONORABLE MENTIONS:


  • The fact that I almost had a heat stroke reading about the tension really sells it, don't you thinkg?

  • Dragons.

  • Arturo being the sole reason why I didn't give it a three-star rating.

  • My love hate relationship with myself. (too much information-)

  • How I literally dreamed with dragons for three days after finishing the book.