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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Beyond the Flame by Parris Sheets is a fantasy epic and the third book in the critically acclaimed Essence of Ohr series, preceded by book one, Warden's Reign, and book two, Children of the Volcano. Beyond the Flame picks up where Children of the Volcano left off, with Kole and his rag-tag crew of underdogs having won battles, but now it is up to Kole to win the war and save Ohr and its people. Trust, which has never been something in great supply for Kole, seems to be the only currency he can give or receive—with the exception of his power, and that of the Souls, which is critical to those in a position to circumvent the quest. Just as things begin to finally click into place, trust is once again broken through deception dressed up as an alliance, and Kole must, quite literally, break the shackles and brave the Black Wall on his own. “The spirit of that little boy is gone forever... Everything had been wiped clean.”
Parris Sheets gives us another fantastic book in the Essence of Ohr series with Beyond the Flames, and where I did not think I could be caught off guard with another twist, it happened in a big and crazy way. It feels like Kole just cannot get a break and as a parent to a teenager, it doesn't sit right all of the time. I just want to hug him and tell him that the big bad monsters can wait, but if Sheets has anything to say about it [and Sheets has EVERYTHING to say about it] that's not on the cards. The biggest surprises were two-fold. One is an alliance that feels completely bonkers, and the second is a trust issue that explodes into a genuine what-the-heck-is-happening climax. The twins remain my favorite co-conspirators and you can really see the cast maturing from the angst of the first and second books. I fear what happens in Beyond the Flames might force a relapse but it would be warranted. The writing is visually compelling, clean, and extremely addictive, the pacing is pitch perfect and the overall story is richly fulfilling. Very highly recommended.