The jacket design is awesome. I fell in love the moment I saw it and now live in my hands it looks even prettier. This new YA novel by Kathrin Lange reminded me a bit of her Heart-Trilogy. The plot is full of secrets, very mysterious, and with two main figures who complete each other perfectly. And yet this novel is different.

Flammende Zeichen*
by Kathrin Lange
Die Fabelmacht-Chroniken #1
Publisher Arena on June 19, 2017
Genre Children 14+
Pages 409
Format Hardcover
Source Publisher

It has long existed in the streets and alleys of Paris: the fabled power, a gift carefully guarded for generations. Anyone who owns them can rewrite reality. But Mila suspects nothing, as she fled after a quarrel with her mother to Paris. Until she meets the mysterious Nicholas, who dominates the gift like no other. And although Mila has never seen him, she knows his innermost. Because she already writes about him as long as she can think. When Nicholas´ family begins to hunt down both of them, she learns that he too has written about her – with dangerous consequences. A battle of stories about love and death flares up. (personal translation ©Vi at Inkvotary)
Mila is so sick and tired of her mother and her never-ending-urge to control everything Mila does, thinks, or writes. And god forbid if Mila thinks that she could do something on her own. And when Mila caught her mother sitting in her room and reading her notes, for Mila the situation is crystal clear. She has to get out and do the unthinkable.

This story is from the beginning to the end all about the power of words. And the French town Paris has a very special meaning. Not only for the figures but also for the story itself. Kathrin Lange wrote this novel with an easy to understand language. Her style is clear, mystic, and with a touch of darkness. Her figures have to go through a lot, suffer a lot, and yet show a strength that is exceptional. Not everything is what it seems at first sight and some figures are more or less intriguing. Good, I had my problems getting warm with Mila´s mother and after reading the end of this book I am not sure what to think of her. 

Mila learns that she has a special ability. A gift, if you like to call it that, that empowers her to change things. Within no time she starts to understand that everything has consequences – at least if she does it in a certain way. And that there are rules to obey. And that those rules are there for a reason. On the other hand, it seems that she is given a power that is different from the one the others have. And while Mila learns to handle and use her power she also starts to see that not everything is changeable and that the consequences are not always foreseeable.  

And for all those, who are asking how that book would sound in the English language, I would say it could be something like “The fabled power chronicles-Flaming signs”.

Teenagers with a lot of responsibility are as always, the main figures. The author gives you at first a little insight into a – what seems – to be a normal teenage life and then changes that very quickly into something dark and arcane. 

Nicholas is not quite honest with Mila. Oh, he is not lying to her, not at all. He´s just not telling her everything. And why? Only because he believes that she´s not ready for the entire truth. That she will see him in a different light when she knows who he is. He learns it the very hard way that Mila prefers the truth no matter what.

And Mila´s mother. What on earth is she thinking? I am not very fond of her and the end of this book made me start thinking of what secret she is carrying around. Because one thing is crystal clear: She´s got something to hide. During the ongoing story, she changed from the all-controlling mother who doesn´t show any feelings towards her daughter to a woman who still needs to be in control but now with a smile and in a very helpful way. This is a woman with two bad faces and I am not sure if I will ever start liking her.

I am quite impressed. The way how Mila solved things, how she reacted and what she did to save herself and Nicholas, was wonderful to read. And that end, seriously?! I wasn´t happy at all when a certain figure had to die. And I am for sure not happy with that cliffhanger. Holy moly, I am still in shock.  

Happy reading

*This book was, at the time this review was published, only available in the German language. The title was kindly provided to me by Arena in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thank you. 

Kathrin Lange
Kathrin Lange ©Susanne Kraus

Kathrin Lange was born in Goslar, in 1969. Although she initially had plans to join the police dog squad, her love for books then won the day and she first became a bookseller and then a writer. Today she is a member of the International Thriller Writers and writes bestselling novels for adults and teenagers. She lives with her husband and two sons in a small village near Hildesheim in Lower Saxony, Germany.


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