Book Review: The Icarus Aftermath (The Sunfire Saga)

Title: The Icarus Aftermath

Series: The Sunfire Sage (Book #1)

Year: 2020

Author: Arielle M. Bailey

Synopsis: With their best captain gone, Talos steps up to lead the Rebellion’s fighters. First objective: take out the Labyrinth. Only problem? No one can find its key.

Koralia thinks she can find it, or at least an alternative. She didn’t count on uncovering secrets that could rock the galaxy to its core. Now she’s rushing to find a solution before everything blows up in their face.

If they don’t destroy the Labyrinth soon, the Rebellion, the planets they protect, and an entire race of people are all doomed.

Greek Mythology meets Star Wars in this retelling of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth.

Review: I don’t even know where to start with this review. There are just some books you can fall in love with in the moment for the excitement and the adventure, and then fall further in love once you’re done and you’re looking back on everything. I expected only the best from Arielle, and that’s exactly what she gave us.

NOW GIVE US BOOK TWO, ARIELLE.

*coughs*

Talos isn’t sure how the rebellion will continue without Icarus. With everyone’s favorite gone, it’s hard not to let the fight for justice in the galaxy turn into lashing out in vengeance. After all, this is Krete and Minos they’re going after, and the infamous Labyrinth — there’s no time to get sloppy. As much as he misses his brother, Talos has to pick up the pieces and keep moving forward.

For Koralia, moving on isn’t as easy as it sounds. Icarus was more than just a friend. He was her other half, her best friend and fiancee. And now — he’s gone. The brightest light in the galaxy gone, just like that. Even in the midst of grieving, she knows that the best way to remember Icarus is to make sure that he didn’t die in vain.

And that means the rebellion is taking down the Labyrinth.

There were just so many things to love about this book. All at once, from the first page, you’re thrown into the action, and it doesn’t stop once. I really struggled to put the book down. It swallows you, heart and soul.

We know Icarus dies. Sufferin’ cats, it’s in the main synopsis of the book. It’s in the TITLE. This book is what happens after his death. I really thought knowing that already would get me emotionally through this book. Since you know he dies, you don’t have to connect emotionally with him and suffer once he’s gone. And he’s gone basically on page three. I think I can say that safely enough without a spoiler warning. Even though he’s a likable character from the get-go, it’s easy enough not to get attached through just three pages. I thought I was safe.

HA. NOT.

Icarus’s death isn’t just an emotional grab at the beginning of the book. It boils just beneath the surface of the book, and everything the characters do is spurred on by the fact that he’s gone. Despite his having “screen time” for only three pages, we get to know Icarus through the family he left behind, and it’s so rough. This isn’t an idle, read-it-once-and-forget-about-it book. Arielle has a way of making you never forget.

THE CHARACTERS. They were so much fun. I haven’t read many “found family” stories, but I fell in love with this one instantly. The relationships between Talos and his adopted siblings were so genuine. I could see myself interacting with my siblings in much the same fashion (even though we’re not putting our lives in the hands of tiny flying spacecraft every day). The jokes, the hugs, the support… it was fantastic. The characters really made this book come alive. I was NOT OKAY with some big scenes and what Arielle did to these beloved charries. But… spoilers.

Koralia was such a complex character. On one hand, she’s a tough warrior and an Amazon. She’s trained to handle tough situations and battles. But Icarus touched another part of her — a softer side, a side that wanted to love and be loved. And that’s the side she gets to show to his family, the Sunfires, after his death. Bravo, though, for Koralia NOT to immediately rebound after Icarus’s death. Even though a couple of guys on the base develop crushes on her, she remains faithful to Icarus’s memory. Yes, I do want to see her happy again in that respect, but realistically, that sort of thing takes time. I was so happy to see she didn’t fling herself dramatically at the next handsome thing in pants.

[SPOILER] That being said, I am staunchly on the Koralos ship. I WILL GO DOWN WITH THIS SHIP, ARIELLE. [END SPOILER]

It’s hardly fair to write a review and NOT mention Mikon. As the youngest Sunfire, he’s the only half-olympian among them. Mischievous and big-hearted, he’s the “crown” of the found family in some ways, but I thought he rivaled Icarus sometimes for being the glue that bound them together. He was absolutely tons of fun. And I can’t wait to read more of him in later books.

If anyone could put Greek and Roman myths among the stars and have it come out BRILLIANT, it’s Arielle. I am so bitter that we haven’t a book two available to us yet. And believe me, you’ll be bitter about that, too. Even though this book wraps up a perfect episode among the grand scheme of things, we need book two. There’s just still too many questions. Even with the advisory I’ve penned below, this book is a solid five stars of epic proportions.

Advisory: Some swearing; use of “h—“, “a–“, “b—-“, and “d—“. While I’m not comfortable having these words pop up, it was funny to see the flack some characters got for their swearing permits.

Most people probably wouldn’t even notice this, but it took me a bit to get used to it. Ares and Hephaestus are both called Koralia’s “fathers” but they aren’t at all romantic partners. Koralia clearly has a mother, and these two olympians are more acting fathers to her in the absence of her mother. I think her birth father was mentioned, but I can’t remember. Ares and Heph were always an interesting duo in mythology.

Other mentions of flirting/chasing girls, sleeping around, and some kisses; two characters pretend to be in a relationship for an undercover mission. I mean, HELLO, this is a retelling of a Greek myth, and the one thing the Greeks loved better than war was love. Or their skewed version of love, that is.

And then obviously, death and injuries amidst galactic fighting. It will pain you incredibly and emotionally, but there’s nothing graphic.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

*Please note: I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for my honest review.*

2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Icarus Aftermath (The Sunfire Saga)

  1. YOU READ IT. YAY!
    AND NOW YOU CAN SHARE THE PAIN WITH ME. Yay…? *breaks into sobs*

    You described the emotion of this story so well. UGH. THESE CHARACTERS. THE HEARTACHE. IT DESTROYED ME BUT I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT.

    We definitely need book 2 like NOW. *flails*

    Like

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