The Memory of Fire

The Memory of Fire

by Callie Bates

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Overview

Callie Bates’s debut novel, The Waking Land, announced the arrival of a brilliant new talent in epic fantasy. Now, with The Memory of Fire, Bates expertly deepens her tale, spinning glittering threads of magic and intrigue into a vibrant tapestry of adventure, betrayal, mystery, and romance.
 
Thanks to the magic of Elanna Valtai and the Paladisan noble Jahan Korakides, the lands once controlled by the empire of Paladis have won their independence. But as Elanna exhausts her powers restoring the ravaged land, news that the emperor is readying an invasion spurs Jahan on a desperate mission to establish peace.

Going back to Paladis proves to be anything but peaceful, however. As magic is a crime in the empire, punishable by death, Jahan must hide his abilities. Nonetheless, the grand inquisitor’s hunters suspect him of sorcery, and mysterious, urgent messages from the witch who secretly trained Jahan only increase his danger of exposure. Worst of all, the crown prince has turned his back on Jahan, robbing him of the royal protection he once enjoyed.

As word of Jahan’s return spreads, long-sheathed knives, sharp and deadly, are drawn again. And when Elanna, stripped of her magic, is brought to the capital in chains, Jahan must face down the traumas of his past to defeat the shadowy enemies threatening his true love’s life, and the future of the revolution itself.

Don’t miss any of Callie Bates’s magical Waking Land trilogy:
THE WAKING LAND • THE MEMORY OF FIRE • THE SOUL OF POWER

Praise for The Memory of Fire

“Gripping . . . [this] vivid first-person, present-tense narrative [creates] a remarkably mature, balanced addition to the story that avoids the most common flaws of middle books and will leave readers hungry for the conclusion.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
“[Callie] Bates does an excellent job of delving into Jahan’s past and showing his growth. . . . The relatable characters and riveting adventure make this fantasy world very accessible for all.”Booklist

The Memory of Fire is a beautiful expansion of a promising story that delivers something rich and captivating. . . . Putting it down is likely to be the biggest challenge readers will encounter.”—Books, Vertigo & Tea

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399177422
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/05/2018
Series: Waking Land Series , #2
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 104,616
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Callie Bates is a writer, harpist and certified harp therapist, sometime artist, and nature nerd. When she’s not creating, she’s hitting the trails or streets and exploring new places. She lives in the Upper Midwest. She is also the author of The Waking Land.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I still hear her voice. Even in Eren, an entire sea away, Madiya’s whisper flickers into my mind. Jahan. My own name, digging like a hook into my head, insisting that I follow its lead. Demanding an answer. Demanding that I return to her.

Doesn’t the woman have anything better to do? I ran away from home when I was fifteen. It’s been six years since my mother died. Since I fled. Yet even as I try to brush her away, even as I tell myself I’m hundreds of miles from her, that I’m safe, her whisper comes again, more demanding. Jahan! Maybe I should answer. She’s still got Lathiel—­something might have happened to him. If it has, I’ll never forgive myself.

Jahan—­

“Jahan?”

Not Madiya’s voice. Elanna’s.

El’s hand on my wrist, her fingers warm and slightly damp. I see her, now—­bundled in a coat, her chestnut-­brown hair curling loose from its knot beneath her black felt hat—­as I didn’t see her before. Cold terror pulses through me. How long was I oblivious to anything but Madiya’s voice? I shouldn’t succumb so completely. I’ve grown practiced at pushing Madiya away—­or so I thought. After she finally let Rayka come to me, two years ago, her whispers quieted. I thought perhaps she was loosening her grip. That maybe, if I bided my time, I could pressure her into freeing Lathiel, too. I thought . . .

“Jahan.” El’s eyes widen meaningfully. “Are you all right?”

Oh, damn the gods. We’re standing outside a coach on the edge of a winter field. A group of townspeople and farmers have tramped out to meet us, a cluster of brown coats and worried looks. They’re warmly dressed, even though it’s late in the month of Noumion and that ought to translate to spring in southern Eren. But the winter has been cruel—­crueler, the people claim, than in other years. El says the land is trying to regain its rhythm after being woken, but some Ereni claim that the Caveadear, rather than bringing the land to life, has irrevocably distorted its natural rhythm. They’ve been taught to distrust magic for centuries, after all.

So El and I came out here at the crack of dawn, all the way to the border with Tinan, to prove that the Caveadear’s magic can and will help them. We’re supposed to be reassuring them that they won’t starve; that the Tinani won’t cross the river behind us and destroy them.

Instead we’ve stopped dead, and I’ve been staring into space like a lunatic. Reassuring, indeed.

El shakes my wrist, eyebrows lifted, her eyes widening further. She’s getting nervous, though surely her heart isn’t ricocheting quite as madly as mine. She doesn’t hear Madiya. She casts a pointed look at the coachman, who’s coming around to see what’s the matter.

“Isn’t this marvelous!” I say brightly, ignoring the fact that my shirt is soaked with rapidly cooling sweat. I’ll finally catch my death in this abysmal Ereni winter, even though I’m already bundled in twice as many clothes as the locals. “Look at the view!”

Elanna stares from the farm fields, a flat and unrelieved white, to the charcoal smear of trees on the ridge above our coach. The sky lies gray and flat. Nearby, the wide river Ard mutters over rocks. Her eyes narrow. “Indeed.”

She doesn’t believe me—­and she’s irritated that I’m lying to her—­but she’s not going to berate me in front of these strangers. She releases me and strides away toward the gathered farmers.

I flex my hands and swing my arms. If I freeze to death, or fail to hear Tinani charging over the river, it’ll be Madiya’s damned fault. Jahan, she whispers, and I shiver all over. All the same, I manage a grin at the coach driver. “Sorry you volunteered to leave so early, eh?”

The boy, bright-­eyed and eager to impress, visibly stiffens. “No, sir. I’m honored to serve the Caveadear.”

I stifle a sigh. Once again, I’ve said the wrong thing—­and these Ereni take themselves too damned seriously. Those who aren’t grumbling about the crown changing hands follow El with a fervor bordering on worship.

No, I reflect as I tramp after Elanna through knee-­high snow, it’s me no one particularly cares for. When I first arrived with Finn, the people here seemed to think me a kind of exotic legend come to life. I kept my role in the rebellion largely secret, not wanting to advertise my sorcery and put my brothers in danger. And now, on the brink of war with the empire of Paladis, I’m the resident Paladisan. I’m the face of the enemy. It doesn’t seem to matter that Elanna and the new queen, Sophy, trust me. I can always see the moment these people register my accent, my foreign manners. I can see them wondering what I’m doing here. What I want. Whether, and when, I’m going to betray them.

Maybe they’re right. Maybe I don’t belong here. But I fought for their freedom. My friend Finn gave his life for their cause. If I belong anywhere, it should be in Eren.

And yet . . . What good am I doing here? Thanks to the stone circles, my power comes with astonishing ease here—­nothing like the effort it takes in Paladis—­but my magics are still small. I advise Sophy on relations with the empire—­much good though it’s done. I welcome the small stream of refugees to Eren, translating misunderstandings, trying to put the haunted-­eyed Idaean and Baedoni and Tinani sorcerers at ease. But the emperor is still poised to declare war. The Tinani are still attacking our eastern border. The refugees would survive without my help.

And my brothers aren’t here. From here, I can’t get my lawyers to pry Lathiel out of Father’s and Madiya’s clutches. And even though Rayka’s safe at his military academy, every day I’m apart from him I worry that Madiya has found him again. That he’s succumbed to her.

Ahead of me, Elanna’s gesturing enthusiastically at the farmers. Her voice drifts across the snow, bright with the power of the land. “. . . and I will bring you the wheat you need!”

No, Elanna Valtai doesn’t really need my help. She tells me she loves me—­and the tenderness that swamps me when I look at her must be love, too. But love isn’t the same as need.

Jahan. Madiya’s voice whispers again into my mind.

I almost want to laugh, even though my palms are sweating again and my heart beats faster. Of course Madiya thinks she needs me—­to use the sorcery she gave me to carry out her plan to destroy the witch hunters. Even though she spent my entire childhood telling me how inadequate I was.

But if I don’t respond, does it put Lathiel in danger? Something could have happened. She could have gone too far in an experiment. She could have overdosed him with opium.

I tell myself I’m making things up. But her voice follows me, insidious, as I come up behind Elanna and the farmers. And the ache in my chest doesn’t go away.

El stands apart from the group, her hands outstretched. The locals mutter among themselves. A murmur drifts toward me: “. . . can she?” one of the farmers is saying.

I look at them, gathered together in their somber coats. Except for a few daring glances, they all ignore me. Many faces are gaunt from the long winter’s privations. A girl child leans against her mother’s leg, shivering in a too-­thin coat. Guilt stings me. How can I complain about the cold when these people struggle to stay alive? If I need another coat, I merely have to commission it. That’s not a luxury they have.

The little girl sees me watching her. Her gaze flickers from me to Elanna to her mother, who seems oblivious to our interaction. I crouch, gesturing the girl closer. She approaches on hesitant legs. I unwrap one of my three scarves and whisper a little magic into the thick wool. Keep her warm. The power floods through my fingers, buoyant and eager, with an immediacy that still surprises me. It’s as if the magic in Eren is yearning to be used, as if the land has so much to give it’s overflowing.

The girl, casting an uncertain look back at her mother, takes the scarf from me. She frowns a little; it feels like ordinary wool. I gesture for her to wrap it around her neck. She does, and her eyes widen. Its warmth will be heating her now—­but no one else, not even her mother, will feel it.

I put a finger to my lips and wink at her. She gulps and darts back to the safety of the adults.

The wind shifts through the stalks of dead wheat, mingling with people’s whispers. Elanna still stands there, her legs braced. She looks small, unremarkable, under their eyes, dwarfed by the greatcoat she always wears. Unease shifts through me. This is taking too long. In the first few days and weeks after she woke the land, she hardly had to snap her fingers and a plant would spring to life. But now, two months on, the power that made forests walk and rivers change course is less quick to come. The mountain people tell her she’s simply exhausting herself—­and the earth. But the need to provide her people with food, and protect them from the war dogging our borders, has required El to use her power again and again. She’s wearing thin, and if she continues in this way I’m afraid she’ll deplete herself entirely.

And the locals have noticed. I see their glances. This is the steward of the land? they ask each other, unspoken. This girl, hardly twenty, who looks so slight in her too-­large coat? This isn’t the magnificent personage the stories promised them. This is a human girl, and she’s tired.

Come on, El, I think. But nothing happens.

Just as I’m wondering whether I’ll have to try some magic of my own, however, the whispering wind grows louder. The dead wheat stalks flush a brilliant green, shocking against the whiteness of the snow. They begin to grow, climbing higher and higher, verdant in the winter field.

I let out a breath. It’s working. The green ripples out through the fields, until the land is a brilliant carpet. The snow begins to melt as the ground warms.

The locals exclaim. One actually laughs in amazement. A man rushes past me, past Elanna, out into the sprouting wheat.

El glances over her shoulder and catches my eye. I can feel her worry even from here. Maybe the magic worked this time, but what about the next town, the next farm field, the next battle with Tinan? If El can’t make an entire field of wheat grow from frozen ground, will the people think she’s failed, when all she really needs is rest? What will come of the whispers against her, those who say the Eyrlais should never have been toppled by the Caerisians with their savage magic?

I shake my head slightly, trying to tell her she can’t let the worry overcome her, not now. These people need to see a confident Caveadear. We can worry about the future later.

I waggle my hands, trying to make her smile. “I can hardly feel my fingertips!”

She rolls her eyes. But when one of the farmers approaches to clasp her hand, she manages to smile at him. I wait while she talks to everyone who demands her attention, the slush growing softer under my feet. At last the farmers scatter, tramping back along the road toward the village. I offer El my arm, though she scrambles through the slush more nimbly than me. “Where to next, milady?”

“Gourdon, I think. I can do the same thing there.”

But there’s a weariness in her voice. I look down at her. She’s frowning into the distance. As gently as I can, I say, “You don’t have to make every wheat field sprout green, you know. Besides, it’s not terribly exciting. Watching wheat grow . . .”

“But if I do one, I have to do them all,” she says, with an edge of panic. “I can’t just leave one village to starve because I’m—­I’m tired.”

All of Eren and Caeris will starve if she exhausts herself and the land, I think, and then we’ll be even more vulnerable. “It doesn’t have to be today, though. It must be, what, ten miles to Gourdon? We can make the journey last a bit longer, find somewhere to stay the night . . . I know ways to entertain you.”

She sighs. “The ride there will be time enough.”

I raise an eyebrow. “I’m not sure the coach boy is that obtuse.”

She blinks, and a laugh gurgles out of her as she realizes my meaning. I grin. El grabs the lapel of my coat and pulls herself up to whisper in my ear. “Jahan Korakides, when we have a chance, I’m going to show you a thing or two!”

“Well,” I say, smiling into her eyes, “I shall look forward to that very much ind—­”

An explosion of noise interrupts me. Gunfire. It blasts through the trees, down from the cliff above the coach. Sparks flare. I shove Elanna behind me, protecting her with my own body. Who the hell is firing at us? I scrabble for the guns with my mind, reaching for the stocks—­

The coach boy runs out, waving an old musket. The shots catch him. His body jerks. The old musket flies up into the air. No, damn it, no! I’m running toward him like an idiot. A shot wings toward me. I let it dissolve through my chest and out the other side, leaving the sour taste of burning on the back of my tongue. I pump my arms, but the poor, brave fool is already lying there, his eyes wide, blood gurgling through his lips. Above us, the shots have ceased. Smoke hangs on the air.

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The Memory of Fire 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
SecondRunReviews More than 1 year ago
Callie Bates has begun to expand a beautiful, magical, fantastical world with book two in The Waking Land series, The Memory of Fire. As the final page of The Memory of Fire turns, readers will discover that they have only begun to scratch the surface of this world filled with a deep and rich magical history.
readers_retreat More than 1 year ago
Having read "The Waking Land", the first book in this series by Callie Bates, I was very excitable about the prospect of securing an advanced review copy of "The Memory of Fire"to read and review. When my prayers were answered I was over the moon! I have to say, I enjoyed this more than the first one although some of the issues with the "The Waking Land" are still present in this sequel. My main criticism is that the plot is overly intricate with a lot happening and a large cast of characters meaning it takes a good amount of brainpower to keep them all straight in your head. There are a significant number of characters on the periphery too, all with minor parts in the plot and who's development is limited. They are difficult to form attachments to as a consequence. With regard to the ending, I would've expected to have been given more knowledge of The Witch Hunters by the author, seen as they are an integral part of the way the book concludes. Okay, now on to the positives! I thought Bates was extremely bold and brave to dedicate most of "The Waking Land" to Elanna and her development. Here, the POV changes and the story is told from Jahan's perspective. I really enjoyed this aspect as I think sometimes when a story is already very "busy", to change the POV between different characters throughout a book can make it even busier. I appreciated the paranoid undertone to proceedings as you never knew who you could trust, a feature I love and primarily see in crime thrillers. It was also a hell of a lot darker than the series first. Some of Jahan's previous behaviour is explained by learning his history and I appreciated getting his backstory. Bates has created two contrasting main characters in Elanna and Jahan - Elanna is vivacious and strong, Jahan's story is a much sadder one which has a knock-on effect on his thought processes and the way he lives his life. I feel that there is plenty more life left in this tale and the finale certainly leaves open the possibility for a third book in the series. I would definitely pick up the third title to learn more about Elanna and Jahan and follow them on their adventures in this fresh and vivid world. A final note - this is absolutely a book that requires you to have read the first in the series as the plot follows on from what happened previously and won't make a lot of sense to those who attempt to try it as a standalone title. Many thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC. I was not required to post a review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
taramichelle More than 1 year ago
I thought that The Memory Of Fire was better than The Waking Land, the first book in the series. I totally fell in love with Jahan in this one, he was such a wonderfully flawed protagonist. This one continues where The Waking Land left off so definitely read that one before this one. I liked the switch of narrators because it allowed for a greater exploration of the world. It was so interesting to learn more about the political situations. I also loved that Jahan struggled so much with his magic before finding his own path. Even though the romance wasn’t the focus of the book, I was still rooting for them! There is pretty much non-stop action in this one, which kept me glued to the pages far past my bedtime. However, Bates does an excellent job of maintaining the pace while still developing the characters and political situation fully. I also liked how Jahan came to terms with the traumas in his past. There was one scene at the end that gave me chills because it showed how much he’d grown as a character. I’d recommend this one for fantasy fans looking for a book with treacherous politics, magic, and likable characters. *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Arys More than 1 year ago
he Memory of Fire by Callie Bates is The Waking Lands book 2. The story starts out as a flashback to give some additional back story and is written from Jahan Korakides perspective rather than Elanna Valtai's from book 1. I think a lot of liking this book is your opinion of the character whose head you are in. If you like Jahan then this book gives you more of him and really fleshes out the character and the world Ms. Bates creates. Overall The Memory of Fire by Callie Bates is a good continuation of the series and adds details to the story, continuing to build and creates an alternate POV to develop and see things from (I voluntarily reviewed an advance review copy of this book I received for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my open and honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.)
CarolineA More than 1 year ago
Last year I read and fell in love with The Waking Lands. When I learned there was a sequel coming (and a third book next year! SCORE!) I HAD to get my hands on it. The Waking Lands was told from El’s POV and we were introduced to Jahan, who I quickly fell in love with. (He has a bit of an Adrian Ivashkov thing going on, if you’ve read the Vampire Academy and/or Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead you know what I’m talking about. Totally swoon-worth!) So quick recap - this is a fantasy series in which magic is a crime and anyone caught practicing is sentenced to a fate worse than death. The magic of the land was awakened in the first book (get it? The Waking Land?). That’s basically what you need to know. The Memory of Fire is Jahan’s story and picks up after the events of The Waking Lands. We learn so much about his past, especially his childhood. His memories were tampered with by the witch who trained him (against his will) and all he knows is that he has to get his brothers away from her. But when he returns to his adopted homeland in an attempt to act as emissary (CHECK IF THIS IS THE RIGHT WORD) on behalf of El’s land, nothing goes as he expects it to. Due to his alliance with El, he is no longer welcome in his former home. Now he must try to make peace between the two countries and keep himself alive. I absolutely loved the characters and the entire storyline in this series. I plan to get a copy of the books in print for a permanent home on my shelf. Highly recommended!
Jolie More than 1 year ago
I hate it when I can’t think of how to start a review. I hate it, even more, when the review is on a book that I loved. If it was a book that I was “meh” on, then I wouldn’t be OK with it. But I loved The Memory of Fire. This book was as good as The Waking Land. From a fantastic plotline to characters that were relatable, I was taken away by this book. In my experience, I have found that books that were 2nd in a series or trilogy usually drag. I have discussed this in earlier posts, but sometimes the author has used up all their creative juices in book 1 and book 2 gets the shaft. Not in The Memory of Fire. This book kept up the energy from The Waking Land. For an author to be able to carry that tension over from the first book astounded me. I loved it!! The backdrop of the story, the country of Paladis, was perfect for what was going on in the book. This was a country that hated anything to do with magic. With the help of witch hunters and their bells, sorcerers and witches were hunted, captured and put to work in a prison made for them. Over the centuries, the emperors have used the witch hunters as a way to control the population and keep them compliant. But, things come to a head when Jahan is summoned to the palace. A revolution is about to erupt with magic at the center of it. At the center of everything is Jahan. I loved him in The Waking Land. I was expecting to be let down when I realized that this book was his story. Oh boy, was I not!! Jahan was a damaged man. He is missing memories, thanks to the witch Madiya and her experiments on him. His mother was a shell of herself after witch hunter’s attacked his house. He, himself, was addicted to opium. Madiya would douse him with it to do her experiments. I wasn’t surprised by the terror that he felt when in Paladis, knowing that she was around. He remained tortured about Madiya for 75% of the book. She was his Boogeyman. I was surprised when she made an appearance in the last half of the book. I was also surprised by the conflicting signals that she sent out. In the end, though, she did get what she deserved. Which made me happy. There is so much that happened in this book that if I wrote out about it, my review would go on forever. I will say that I was happy when Elanna arrived. Not happy about how she arrived or how she was treated. I also wasn’t happy about certain things that happened that almost broke Jahan but I am happy when things were cleared. The relationship between Jahan and Elanna was one of the best fantasy relationships that I have ever read. Again, not getting into it but I will say is what they have is true love. She is willing to accept him for who he is and vice versa. I won’t go into much about the latter half of the book except to say “HOLY PLOT TWIST!!!!” I was not expecting what happened to happen. It threw me for a loop and kind of messed with my head. But, considering the duress that this person was under, I don’t blame them for doing what they did.
onemused More than 1 year ago
"The Memory of Fire" was an enthralling YA fantasy that continues the world and characters from the first "The Waking Land" novel. However, instead of focusing on Elanna, we get to hear Jahan's story- and it is absolutely as captivating as the first book. The book begins with Elanna and Jahan traveling around Eren/Caeris to win over (and feed) the people- they need to know the Caveadear is alive and wants to help them. However, Paladis will not allow sorcery to go unchecked and sends witch hunters and soldiers to capture Eren/Caeris. Witch hunters carry special bells and stones which can rob a sorcerer of their power and make them lose their minds. The Caveadear is not exempt from their power- however, Madiya, during her cruel experiments claims to have made Jahan immune to the bells. Luckily, Jahan stops the invading force, but he knows that Paladis will just send more. He offers to travel back to Paladis to barter with the emperor to spare Eren/Caeris, and gets Sophy's blessing to be the official ambassador. Going back also has the added benefit that he hopes to save his two brothers, Rayka and Lathiel, who were also experimented on by Madiya. As Jahan returns, so much more than he could have expected awaits him- the kingdom is poised for revolution- or maybe even more than one revolution, but all he wants to do is secure freedom for Elanna and the people in Eren/Caeris. Jahan must dig deep within himself to work towards the goals he and Elanna have set for themselves, and the decisions along the way will not be easy. This book entirely features Jahan, and Elanna takes a backseat. Considering that plus the change in setting, and this book seems like it could be read as a stand-alone. It's been a while since I read the first- which I loved more than I thought I would- and I didn't feel like I needed to go back to know what was happening or to love this sequel! I had a hard time putting this one down, and it was absolutely as enthralling at the first. Jahan is very three-dimensional, and just as in the first, there are so many characters that are built so well you can't help but be caught up in their lives and this unique world. I will say that the ending did not seem conclusive, and I am extremely curious (and hoping oh so much) if there will be another in this series. This is a really fantastic book, and I can't tell you how much I would suggest you give this series a try if you are at all a YA fantasy lover- it's really amazing! Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.