Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova
Renata was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King’s Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a memory thief, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata was used by the crown to carry out the King’s Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.
Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown. The Whispers may have rescued Renata years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred — or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she drained during her time in the palace.
When Dez, the commander of her unit — and the boy she’s grown to love — is taken captive by the notorious Principe Dorado, Renata must return to Andalucia and complete Dez’s top secret mission herself. Can she keep her cover, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.
But returning to the palace stirs childhood memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the fate of the entire kingdom — and end the war that has cost her everything.
The premise sounded interesting, but I had no idea how captivating this story would be. The world is inspired by Inquisition Spain, yet full of magical mental gifts that are hated by all who don’t possess them.
Renata/Ren is a complex character – gifted and strong, but traumatized with little self-worth. She can read the memories of anyone she touches, with the ability to drain them to empty shells. And she becomes a spy in the place she hates the most in order to find a dangerous weapon and enact her revenge.
Incendiary is the first in a planned duology. Full of intrigue, betrayal, suspense, and drama – this was easily one of my favorite novels this year. There are vibrant characters, a complex and unique world, and an exciting plot that makes this a must-read for YA fantasy fans.