Beyond the Flame

A Young Adult Fantasy Adventure (Essence of Ohr Book 3)

Young Adult - Fantasy - Epic
469 Pages
Reviewed on 06/20/2022
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    Book Review

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.

Asher Syed

Book three in the Essence of Ohr fantasy series by Parris Sheets is Beyond the Flame and is the aftermath of the first book, Warden's Reign, and the second, Children of the Volcano. Kole is now in a weakened position and has doubt about the decisions he made, and his uniting of all the Souls. In wavering, his frailty as a teenager is exposed but also endearingly shows the responsibility weighing on one so young. Alternating points of view, especially with Piper, give insight into a universal struggle of loyalty questions only a reader can see. Kole's group makes their way to Zeal. Its proximity to the Black Wall and how it remains intact would be perplexing except Zeal holds the bridle that holds off the Wall...and ready or not, the Black Wall is where Kole is meant to be.

I loved how Beyond the Flame was a journey that actually had Kole and company moving and the interactions with the Souls were part of that, but being along the way to Zeal and not a direct point to point Soul seeking came across as organic. Kole really has trouble with the belief that he might have to give up his own life to save everyone else. Not just his friends and allies but everyone on Ohr. It's not fair and readers know this too, and a child has to contend with this, especially when Vienna and Felix seem ready to throw themselves under the bus without hesitating. The action sequences in the latter third of the book are among the best in any YA fantasy fiction I've read. Sheets' growth as a writer is evident as she moves from strength to strength with each book and that's always exciting to witness. Book three is excellent and book four, when it arrives, will probably be even better.

K.C. Finn

Beyond The Flame is a work of fiction in the fantasy, action, and adventure subgenres. It is intended for the young adult reading audience and contains some moderate explicit language and fantasy-style violence. It was penned by author Parris Sheets as the third novel in the Essence of Ohr book series and picks up where the second in the series left off. Our protagonist Kole is still on his quest to reunite six powerful gods, but the next god on his list is far beyond the dangerous wall of fire that threatens to consume more and more of the continent. Utilizing some incredible new technology to battle the magical forces working against him, Kole will find this part of his journey is the toughest yet.

Author Parris Sheets really knows how to draw a reader in, and YA fans and adult readers alike will certainly be transfixed by this captivating work of fantasy fiction, which also blends some fantastic science fiction and adventure elements into its core worldbuilding. I found the work really easy to jump into and follow, but the plot also grew in complexity and nuance as I got deeper and deeper into the reading experience. There were some very emotional highs and lows for Kole in this work, and the close narration around his actions, dialogue, and inner thoughts made it feel like I knew him personally by the book’s end. As such, I found myself both immersed and totally invested in Beyond The Flame from cover to cover and would recommend it to all fantasy fans looking for a high-quality series to lose themselves in.

Rabia Tanveer

Beyond the Flame is the third novel in the Essence of Ohr by Parris Sheets. Kole's journey continues as he faces new challenges to save Ohr. Reuniting the six gods should not be that difficult, but Kole knows nothing in life is easy. With Felix and Vienna by his side, Kole is ready to do whatever it takes to restore peace. Kole’s next stop is a city that has learned to harness technology and magic together. Kole hopes to use this magical technology as a weapon in his search for the next god. However, when things start to go awry with the weapon, Kole is left wondering if it is a setup or not. What happens next shocks Kole more than anyone else. Will he get to the Soul before it is too late? Or will he succumb to the malfunctioning weapon?

One of the best young adult epic fantasy series of the decade, author Parris Sheets is a master of wordplay in Beyond the Flame. Each chapter reveals something new to readers. The twists and turns are entertaining, and the clues left behind are enough to intrigue readers to want more. I loved the arc Piper’s character takes, and I cannot wait to see what happens next as she continues on the path she has decided for herself. Felix and Vienna are great companions for Kole and help him bounce off ideas when he is indecisive or simply give him support. The ending shocked me. I was not expecting it at all, and now I am even more excited about what the author has in store for readers as the story continues in the next novel. The world-building has gotten better (if that is even possible), and the character development is fantastic. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who loves a good story. Beyond my expectations! Outstanding!

Pikasho Deka

Beyond the Flame is the third installment of the Essence of Ohr series by Parris Sheets. Fifteen-year-old Kole and his friends, siblings Vienna and Felix, embark on a dangerous quest to free the lost gods of Ohr, the Souls, from the imprisonment of Atreus, the betrayer. But Kole continues to struggle with his bond with the tyrannical god. After committing to a deal with Atreus in exchange for Niko's return, Kole and his friends arrive at the city of Zeal to heal Vienna, who was fading by the minute after traversing the Ashland Plains. To Kole's surprise, he finds extraordinary cannons in Zeal, keeping the Black Wall of fire at bay. He must now find a way to free the Soul Vara from beyond the wall of fire. But there is a traitor amongst them, putting everyone in mortal danger.

Beyond the Flame is a stellar continuation of the Essence of Ohr saga that fantasy lovers will devour with relish. Author Parris Sheets's worldbuilding is simply phenomenal. There is an easily discernable quality to the depth and lore of the world that seeps through the pages. Sheets weaves an absorbing yarn full of magic, wonder, and plenty of action that will keep your eyes glued to the pages from start to finish. The characters feel well-fleshed out, with distinct personalities and conflicts that make them stand out. I particularly enjoyed the dynamic between Kole, Vienna, Felix, and Piper. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and highly recommend it to young adult fantasy lovers.