Blazewrath Games released last year (2020) and is author’s Amparo’s Ortiz debut. This novel is perfect for fans of fantasy, magic, chaotic besties, and most importantly-dragons!
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Lana Torres dreams of playing for Puerto Rico in the Blazewrath games, and after their previous runner’s kicked out, Lana just needs to ace tryouts. Then on a trip to Waxbryne, a wand shop, Lana body slams Takeshi Endo, former Blazewrath player turned terrorist and stops him from killing a dragon in the shop’s basement. Luckily Lana’s quick thinking is enough to snatch the attention of the Blazewrath federation and land her on Puerto Rico’s team.
However, winning the games for Puerto Rico turns out to be the least of Lana’s worries. The Sire, a former dragon, cursed into a human body, is burning down dragon sanctuaries all over the world if the games continued. Now Lana must navigate an international conspiracy while also trying to win the cup for Puerto Rico.
Despite other Latinx authors creating awesome magical worlds and communities in Nocturna, Labyrinth Lost, and Cemetery Boys, Amparo Ortiz gives us that and dragons! I especially loved that the different dragon species had unique magical gifts. The dragons in this world hail from different countries around the world and have different strengths. I thought this was a great way to emphasize their power in this world.
Overall, I found the plot of Blazewrath Games engaging as it kept me guessing Sire’s true intentions throughout the novel. I loved that the author interwove the plot and the worldbuilding seamlessly- which kept me engrossed in early chapters. There were some parts of this novel that I found slow and a little boring, but after pushing past those scenes, I jumped back in.
While MC Lana kicks ass and defies the Sire, it’s Lana’s BFF Samira Jones who stole my heart!
Samira is a young black witch who struggles with her magic. This results in some funny moments such, as Samira accidentally setting Lana’s kitchen on fire. But besides providing comic relief, Samira’s also a great best friend and helps Lana defeat the Sire.
And I have to admire Samira’s arc in this story as a struggling witch who broke multiple wands to defeating the most powerful magical terrorist in this world.
Samira’s a fascinating character, and I’d read more about her and her adventures in magic school.
This novel not only has great characters and a fantastic magical world it also highlights imposter syndrome. Lana was born in Puerto Rico but after her parents divorce she moved to the states and never returned to the island. Lana feels like a fraud at times because she was not raised in Puerto Rico and fears she may not be accepted by those on the island Her team mate Victoria even pokes at this fear.
“Your mom has enough money to buy you a plane ticket. You could have reconnected with your roots if you really wanted to. And before you feed me some line about ‘your roots go wherever you are,’ it’s not the same thing. People who think that are trying to justify their indifference.”Amparo Ortiz
I’ve noted this own kind of superiority among the latinx community who were raised in their home countries and those who grew up abroad. It can get ugly as everyone has their own reasons and circumstances surrounding the place of their heritage. But I did admire that Ortiz inserted this comment into the novel because it is part of the latinx disapora and in a book detailing an international magical world it felt like a random mention. But I think that it was a good way to both highlight the tension between Victoria and Lana as well the latinx community in general.
Although there is one glaring plot point in this novel that I don’t understand- and that’s the mystery of violet #43. Violet 43 is a Brazilian dragon that Lana’s father studies and the same dragon that almost killed Lana when she was five. This dragon is mentioned multiple times throughout the stories, so I believed she would make an appearance in the last arc of the novel, but Violet was absent.
I suppose violet #43 could make an appearance in future sequel novels like Dragonblood Ring. However, all the foreshadowing was anticlimactic and a little disappointing. Only a little though, because I ultimately loved the way this novel concluded.
Until next time I’ll be living in libros,
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