Splendor and Spark by Mary Taranta

Splendor and Spark by Mary Taranta Book Cover

Book Summary

In this exciting follow-up to Shimmer and Burn, Faris has given up love to save her sister’s life and the dying kingdom of Avinea, but will her sacrifices be enough to overcome the poisoned magic and villains surrounding her on all sides?

The fight is just beginning.

Faris has been forced to give up the man she loves for a dangerous but necessary alliance. Her loyalty is bound by a powerful spell to his future bride, the villainous Bryn. And her mother’s powerful spell that could be the key to saving Avinea fights with poisoned magic for control of her heart.

None of that matters though because everything Faris has done has been for Cadence, the little sister she’s been trying to rescue from the king’s slavery. Now they’re finally reunited, but Cadence has a gut-wrenching confession: she remembers everything from while she was under the king’s enchantment, and knows Faris didn’t take her place when she could have. She wants nothing to do with her.

Heartbroken, Faris focuses on tracking Merlock, the king who must be killed to stop The Burn, by manipulating her mother’s spell through her dreams. Before long though, Faris realizes these aren’t normal dreams, they might just be real, and they may show her a way to kill Merlock herself.

But there are things darker than poison that lie in The Burn, and not even the spell deep in Faris’s chest can stop them. Faris will again be faced with impossible choices. Does she risk everything to save Avinea, even if she might lose North and further betray her sister’s trust? Or does she succumb to the poison inside that begs her to think this time, finally, of herself?

Book Details

Splendor and Spark by Mary Taranta
Shimmer and Burn Series Book #2
Young Adult Fiction / Fantasy / Dark Fantasy
Published December 4th 2018 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Hardcover, 336 pages
Source from Edelweiss
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Books in Series


Book Review

SPLENDOR AND SPARK by Mary Taranta is the second book in the Shimmer and Burn series that is filled danger, dark enchantments, and manipulative intrigue!

The story takes place shortly after the ending of Shimmer and Burn as the dangers of the Burn still threatens the kingdom of Avinea. In this book, readers can look forward to discovering the backstory of North’s father and the magic that created the Burn.

Once again, the setting is brimming with darkness and danger as the Burn comes ever closer to the kingdom of Avinea.

Faris begins to have dreams leading her ever closer to Merlock (the king who created The Burn) only she realizes these are not just ordinary dreams but part of her mother’s magic she gave to Faris in order to fight Merlock. I really enjoyed these dreamscapes and the fantastic landscapes filled with strange creatures and magic.

I am my mother’s daughter, and ten years ago she cut me open and made me stronger. I didn’t want to be a fighter, but I became one out of necessity—a consequence of her choice for me, which means my choice is simple.
There are monsters in Avinea, and I have the ability to stop them.
— Splendor and Spark by Mary Taranta
Splendor and Spark by Mary Taranta. Book #2 in the Shimmer and Burn Series. Image by taken by Book Swoon.

Splendor and Spark by Mary Taranta. Book #2 in the Shimmer and Burn Series. Image by taken by Book Swoon.

Taranta expertly weaves complicated relationships like tangled threads in this series, and with Splendor and Spark.

Faris finds herself surrounded by enemies she cannot trust and loved ones she must give up. I love how loyalty plays such a great role in the way Faris handles certain situations, even if it causes her heartbreak.

North is now engaged to Princess Bryn and Faris finds her torn. Her love for North and the magical spell that binds her to Bryn only complicated matters, as already dangerous alliances leave little room for mistakes. Making matters worse is the realization that her sister Cadence remembers everything that transpired during her enchantment and holds Faris accountable.

The ending takes Faris into the heart of danger as she risks everything to save Avinea.

Readers will be on edge wondering if she will lose the love and trust of both North, and her sister Cadence, as she follows the enchantment that leads her into the heart of the Burn as poisoned magic threatens to overtake her.

In the End

Splendor and Spark is an exciting conclusion to the Shimmer and Burn duology.

Mary Taranta creates a world of addicting magic and danger and populates it with fascinating characters. Faris makes a compelling heroine filled with fierce determination and North is still swoon-worthy as a tortured hero. Both characters grow and change so much in these two books, and I enjoyed seeing their relationships evolve and the intricate steps they had to take for it. I can’t wait for more from author Mary Taranta and definitely hope more readers check this unique YA fantasy series out.