Happy Thursday and welcome to my stop on the SOUL OF CINDER blog tour! I’m so excited because today I have a guest post by Bree Barton to share with you! This book is truly amazing and I’m so so excited to for you to find out more about it, PLUS enter for a chance to win a print copy!
Soul of Cinder by Bree Barton
Series: Heart of Thorns #3
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on January 12, 2021
Genres: YA, Fantasy
The Twisted Sisters are coming home.
Prince Quin has returned to the river kingdom, ready to spearhead a rebellion and reclaim the throne. He vows to destroy Mia, Pilar, and Angelyne if they oppose him—even if he must use his newfound magic to set the world aflame.
Across the four kingdoms, the elements have been tipped askew. Volcanoes erupt, glaciers collapse, and cities sink into the western sands. After losing Angie, Mia and Pilar journey to the glass kingdom to seek help, though soon their fragile bonds of sisterhood begin to fray. Mia’s sensations are creeping back, and with them, a deep and searing grief. Pilar, terrified of being broken, once again seeks comfort in her fists. But when they hear rumors of a misty island that promises to erase all pain, they suddenly find themselves with an answer—if they are willing to pay the cost.
As tensions mount, the sisters are drawn back to the river kingdom for a final reckoning with the boy they each loved. The shattering conclusion to Bree Barton’s Heart of Thorns trilogy challenges why we grieve, whom we love—and how to mend a broken heart.
If you could trade lives with any YA character for a day, who would it be and why? What about a week? A month, year, or forever?
I’ll answer this with characters from different books in the trilogy, just for fun.
For a day, I’d be Pilar. I love her sharp tongue, badass fighting skills, and the fact that she says and does whatever suits her. IRL I feel like I spend a lot of time tiptoeing around, trying not to bother anyone. So for a day I’d love to be fearless, before retreating back into my delicate introvert shell.
For a week, I’d be Zai (shout out to my boy from TEARS OF FROST). I could live on a houseboat, swim at the White Lagoon, and draw stuff that came to life. I’d also be, well, hot. I wouldn’t want those powers forever, but for a week? Absolutely.
For a month, I’d be Nelladine. Just think of all the beautiful pottery I could make in a month! And she’s so kind, so generous. But she pours herself out taking care of other people, sometimes to her own detriment. A problem I’ve historically had myself. So after a month, maybe I could trade places with a really selfish character (Angelyne?), just to balance things out.
For a year, I’d be Mia. She has grown so much since we first met her in HEART OF THORNS, and I can’t wait to see where the next year takes her. Especially now that she has a new partner in crime.
And forever? I’d have to go with Brialli Mar from SOUL OF CINDER. She’s only twelve, so I basically get extra years if I go with her. Plus she’s smart and spunky and more clear-eyed than people twice her age. It’s really Brialli who delivers the sizzling insight about power, which gets to the heart of what Quin learns in SoC. Bonus perk: she’s named after three of my fave readers (actually, four), so I’d always have a part of them with me!
What was your favorite piece of research you didn’t end up using?
Wow, such a fabulous question. I did a lot of research on the dhow, a particular kind of sailboat commonly used in parts of Africa and the Middle East. For a while I was even considering planning a trip to Abu Dhabi to watch a dhow race! This boat does appear briefly in SoC (styled as a dhou), but two weeks of research basically got boiled down to two paragraphs in the final book.
I spent a week in Bahrain, where I became totally obsessed with pearl diving. Pearls play a key role in the culture and history of the Middle East, especially the Island Kingdom (that sounds like a fantasy name I made up, but it’s literally the Island Kingdom of Bahrain). Thousands of years ago, before there were masks and fancy diving equipment, pearls were collected by something called free-diving: divers would tie a stone to their foot, sink to the bottom of the seabed, grab as many oysters as they could, then swim back to the surface, all in a single breath. As you might imagine, it was a hard gig. Many pearl divers drowned. Sharks were another problem.
I also became fascinated with fulgurite, a vitreous substance that is created when sand or other sediment gets fused together by lightning. You may have seen pictures of fulgurites—they look like jagged bolts of lightning made from crusty glass. Very cool! I loved the idea that something so soft and pliant could be forged by fire into something beautiful and fierce. Don’t mind me, always looking for metaphors.
Ultimately I went with a cinder metaphor instead.
What is your favorite quote, scene, or moment from Soul of Cinder?
There is one scene in SoC that made me cry when I wrote it, and I cried every time I revised it. No spoilers, but it comes toward the end of Act III. I was finally able to give a character something that had been taken from them—something they dearly loved and did not think they would ever see again.
And now that we’re in that part of the book… I think my favorite moment would have to be the final beat of Act III. I didn’t know things were going to go down like that (pun totally intended), not until I wrote my way to it. Then I realized I’d been leaving myself clues all along. It was the only way it could end. It felt exactly right.
As for favorite quote? I’ll go with one that might be a little cheesy, but it feels true to the soul (ahem) of SoC:
“Perhaps, in the end, the greatest love stories are not about our lovers. They are the stories of how we learned to love ourselves.”
Bree Barton is a writer in Los Angeles. When she’s not lost in whimsy, she works as a ghostwriter and dance teacher to teen girls. She is on Instagram and YouTube as Speak Breely, where she posts funny videos of her melancholy dog.
Bree is not a fan of corsets.
3 lucky winners will receive a signed hardcover copy of Soul of Cinder by Bree Barton and additional goodies such as a candle, a bookmark, etc. Must have a valid US mailing address to enter the giveaway and must enter through the Google Form to be considered. One entry per email address.
We are also giving away a customized writing or poem from Bree Barton on any topic of your choice! The prize will be delivered digitally to anyone outside of the US. Only one entry per email address. All participants must enter through the Google Form to be considered.
Have you added this book to your tbr yet? Let me know in the comments and have a splendiferous day!