Together we burn by: Isabel Ibanez

Before I get into my review, I’m going to address something that happens late in the book first. There is consenting sex between the MC and love interest. Lots of asking, making sure the other is okay with it and that’s great. Should be the norm.

What’s not great is him telling her that her first time might hurt.

Barring medical conditions of psychological issues that cause certain reactions, sex should never hurt and someone’s first time should also never hurt. The reason sex hurts for first timers, and honestly for people into adulthood who’ve had multiple partners is because their partner did not do enough to ready them.

I’m talking about foreplay. The reason it hurts is because the person is not relaxed and a certain amount of force has to be used for penetration. And guess what? That’s horrid.

This is fiction. We can create dragons and battles, androids and other worlds but when it comes to sex, the same pervasive myths that cause real-world harm are still being fed to readers.

Young women, AFAB individuals are being told from all kinds of media that sex hurts the first time and that’s just the way it is. It’s not. If their partner takes time to actually do what they need to do then it won’t hurt. And this book was doing great until that part. Because it’s another book that some young AFAB person will read that’s telling them, hey, it’ll hurt, oh well.

Stop that. Do better.

Now, on to the rest of the review.

It was a fast read. I enjoyed Zarela’s personality and the stubbornness she has. It wasn’t impossible to deal with, instead being real. She was a very real character. When it comes to the side characters, they weren’t as jump off the page but they each held their own. I enjoyed them.

When it comes to the romance I’m not sure I’d say it’s enemies to lovers but there’s animosity between Zarela and Arturo. It wasn’t the kind of relationship where the love interest goes all mushy after realizing they’re in love. He kept his prickly personality and that was actually kind of nice to see.

The conflict in the book is good, keeps everything moving and even though I saw the criminal pretty early, his reasoning for it wasn’t what I expected. Although, I will say it was believable and I wont’ say anything more about it so I don’t spoil it.

Flamenco is a big part of Zarela’s life. she dances just like her mother did and when the story starts, although she wants to do her own dances, the people of the town want to see the dances her mother did. She’s constantly comparing herself to her and her growth around that is good.

When it comes to the dragons? I was impressed. It was nice to see them portrayed as actually having intelligence instead of as big stupid lizards. And the dragon-fighting was also interesting.

I love the simple and almost comforting way the author writes. I’ve read some of her previous work and enjoyed it.

This gets a four (4) out of five (5) for me. I’d recommend it to people

I received this eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to them and the publisher.

Author:

Author. Reader. Reviewer. Interested in Sci-fi, Fantasy, and everything in between. Ya, and Adult. Looking for representaion where it matters! BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled, everything! We all deserve stories!

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