ARC Review, Book Review

Together We Burn by Isabel Ibañez


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 her father 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.

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.

This story was fresh and rich. Sometimes, while reading the story, I forgot there were dragons because of the real-world feeling. It may not have been as in depth as some fantasies are, but it was a nice change. The story was full of emotion and twists. Some of it may have been predictable, but it was still an enjoyable read.

At eighteen, Zarela Zalvidar is a young woman going into a predominantly male world, a flamenco dancer turning into a dragonador. Trying to save her home and family legacy as her world turned upside down a second time, Zarela understood changes had to be made not only for those she loves: staff and her father, but herself too as she struggles with who she is to herself and what those want her to be. Zarela had a wonderful character arch and was well-written. She is an interesting character, and I liked her stubbornness and determination.

Arturo Díaz de Montserrat is a mysterious character. Not liked by other dragonadors because of his unorthodox method. His attitude does not help. He is just as stubborn as Zarela, but he also has a soft side. Arturo was someone that held a secret and once he opened up, you understood why he held it close. He was an interesting character.

The dragons in this story are interesting. I do not know a lot about the different dragons around the world, so I am not sure if these are the authors’ ideas, cultural, or both. It was interesting how the author described each one and what they can and cannot do. The dragon’s descriptions blended well within the story and did not feel like an information dump.

I enjoyed this story. When I started reading it, I felt the heavy Spanish influence. There was not a lot of world-build, but it did not need it. The world had a real world feeling and you can get sucked into it just fine. The matadors influenced the dragonadors and the arena. Spanish is their main language, but you can get past it when reading the surrounding text.

This story was simple, but it was fun, and I would read it again. I would recommend this to those who like simple fantasy, Spanish influence, and dragons.

*I received an ARC from NetGalley, and this is my honest opinion.

I give this book a 4/5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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