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Together We Burn

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Eighteen-year-old Zarela Zalvidar is a talented flamenco dancer and daughter of the most famous Dragonador in Hispalia. People come for miles to see her father fight in their arena, which will one day be hers. But disaster strikes during their five hundredth anniversary show, and in the carnage, Zarela’s father is horribly injured. Facing punishment from the Dragon Guild, Z Eighteen-year-old Zarela Zalvidar is a talented flamenco dancer and daughter of the most famous Dragonador in Hispalia. People come for miles to see her father fight in their arena, which will one day be hers. But disaster strikes during their five hundredth anniversary show, and in the carnage, Zarela’s father is horribly injured. Facing punishment from the Dragon Guild, Zarela must keep the arena—her ancestral home and inheritance —safe from their greedy hands. She has no choice but to take her father’s place as the next Dragonador. When the infuriatingly handsome dragon hunter, Arturo Díaz de Montserrat, withholds his help, she refuses to take no for an answer. But even if he agrees, there’s someone out to ruin the Zalvidar family, and Zarela will have to do whatever it takes in order to prevent the Dragon Guild from taking away her birthright. An ancient city plagued by dragons. A flamenco dancer determined to save her ancestral home. A dragon hunter refusing to teach her his ways. They don't want each other, but they need each other, and without him her world will burn.


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Eighteen-year-old Zarela Zalvidar is a talented flamenco dancer and daughter of the most famous Dragonador in Hispalia. People come for miles to see her father fight in their arena, which will one day be hers. But disaster strikes during their five hundredth anniversary show, and in the carnage, Zarela’s father is horribly injured. Facing punishment from the Dragon Guild, Z Eighteen-year-old Zarela Zalvidar is a talented flamenco dancer and daughter of the most famous Dragonador in Hispalia. People come for miles to see her father fight in their arena, which will one day be hers. But disaster strikes during their five hundredth anniversary show, and in the carnage, Zarela’s father is horribly injured. Facing punishment from the Dragon Guild, Zarela must keep the arena—her ancestral home and inheritance —safe from their greedy hands. She has no choice but to take her father’s place as the next Dragonador. When the infuriatingly handsome dragon hunter, Arturo Díaz de Montserrat, withholds his help, she refuses to take no for an answer. But even if he agrees, there’s someone out to ruin the Zalvidar family, and Zarela will have to do whatever it takes in order to prevent the Dragon Guild from taking away her birthright. An ancient city plagued by dragons. A flamenco dancer determined to save her ancestral home. A dragon hunter refusing to teach her his ways. They don't want each other, but they need each other, and without him her world will burn.

30 review for Together We Burn

  1. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    such a unique and interesting concept, but the execution just never quite managed to draw me in. and i think its because of how basic the story feels. its very surface level with too many predictable conveniences. this is great storytelling if you are wanting something that is quick and easy, but i was personally hoping for a little more depth. a little more visible world-building, a little more complex characterisation, and a little more action-packed plot. i mean, all the basics are there, it j such a unique and interesting concept, but the execution just never quite managed to draw me in. and i think its because of how basic the story feels. its very surface level with too many predictable conveniences. this is great storytelling if you are wanting something that is quick and easy, but i was personally hoping for a little more depth. a little more visible world-building, a little more complex characterisation, and a little more action-packed plot. i mean, all the basics are there, it just would have been nice to experience a more developed execution. so overall, not a bad book by any means. its just not one i loved, unfortunately. thank you st. martins press/wednesday books for the ARC. ↠ 3 stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Oh boy: it is absolutely impossible not to love this book so much! A fiery, determined, powerful heroine who dances with dragons: ( seems like she’s great combination of Daenerys Targaryen and Shakira) - a brooding, tough, hard working tamer who can whisper to the dragons- hottest enemies to lovers trope- an impressive world building where the dragons fly around and their magic help them heal the people- a hateful revenge plan- mystery behind the carnage at the arena belong to Zalvidar family for Oh boy: it is absolutely impossible not to love this book so much! A fiery, determined, powerful heroine who dances with dragons: ( seems like she’s great combination of Daenerys Targaryen and Shakira) - a brooding, tough, hard working tamer who can whisper to the dragons- hottest enemies to lovers trope- an impressive world building where the dragons fly around and their magic help them heal the people- a hateful revenge plan- mystery behind the carnage at the arena belong to Zalvidar family for 500 years! Yes: this is heavenly package for the fantasy lovers like me who keen on reading about resilient, tough heroines and forbidden love stories with a touch of magic, action packed chapters, mesmerizing Latin culture. 18 years old Zarela Zalvidar can do anything to save their arena she’s inherited from her ancestors, the life of her father in expanse convincing the meanest dragon hunter Arturo Diaz de Montserrat. They team up together to save the arena, inheritance and ancestral home of Zalvidar family but somebody out there is too bloodthirsty to destroy family’s reputation and everything they’ve worked for centuries. And Arturo has so many secrets that ruin everything they built together! Could that brooding, hostile man rock Zarela’s entire world! Go on and read it! Even though the big revelations of the book were a little foreseeable, I loved the tension, I loved the magical world, I loved the passion between MCs that put the pages of hard copies into fire! So I’m rounding up 4.5 stars to 5 dragon lady who should be winner of dancing with stars! Special thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press/ Wednesday Books for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts.

  3. 4 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    Eighteen-year-old Zarela Zalvidar is the daughter of famous parents. Her mother was the most cherished flamenco dancer in Hispalia prior to her death and her father is the most celebrated Dragonador. For a time, the family seemed to have it all. Their own arena, their own dragons and flocks of adoring spectators arriving for all of their shows. After the tragic death of her mother, however, things begin to spiral for the Zalvidars, made worse after another tragedy strikes during their 500th-annive Eighteen-year-old Zarela Zalvidar is the daughter of famous parents. Her mother was the most cherished flamenco dancer in Hispalia prior to her death and her father is the most celebrated Dragonador. For a time, the family seemed to have it all. Their own arena, their own dragons and flocks of adoring spectators arriving for all of their shows. After the tragic death of her mother, however, things begin to spiral for the Zalvidars, made worse after another tragedy strikes during their 500th-anniversary show. Zarela's father is seriously injured during the incident, as well as many others, and since it involved some of the Zalvidar's dragons, the family is being blamed. Now they face punishment from the Dragon Guild and could potentially lose their ancestral home, as well as their livelihood. Zarela must keep the arena running on her own. She has to keep money coming in. In order to do so, she decides she needs to take her father's place in the ring. She needs to become a Dragonador. To prepare herself for the ring though, she'll need training, and more dragons. Therefore, she ends up reaching out to dragon hunter, Arturo Díaz de Montserrat, to basically beg him for his help. While at first Arturo turns Zarela away, she is determined and not taking no for an answer. Ultimately, after an amazing show of will, he's impressed by her stubbornness. It's clear she's not leaving without a yes. Arturo agrees to help and along with two dragons, they return to Zarela's home to train and prepare for the show. During all of this, Zarela also has suspicions that the tragedies involving her family and their shows haven't been accidents. She thinks someone is purposefully trying to bring them down and she means to get to the bottom of it. Sweeping through this intricate and wonderfully-developed world, Together We Burn had me completely entranced from start-to-finish! I absolutely adored this. It's not a very complicated story, but what's here is beautifully done. It's a story of family, tradition, legacy and a new generations forging their own path while simultaneously paying tribute to those who came before. ❤️‍🔥❤️‍🔥❤️‍🔥❤️‍🔥❤️‍🔥❤️‍🔥❤️‍🔥❤️‍🔥❤️‍🔥❤️‍🔥❤️‍🔥❤️‍🔥 I found the world to be extremely creative. I don't think I've ever read anything quite like it. The whole concept of the dragon fights, that practice, the similarities to traditional bullfighting, was very interesting to read about. I liked that Ibañez gave her two main characters opposing views on the practice, as that let her give voice to both sides of the controversial issue. Personally, I thought that was handled very well. At first I was a little concerned about that aspect of the story. I mean, even though dragons are fictional, I love them and don't want to see them harmed. I also enjoyed the characters so much and the mystery that ran throughout. Zarela was a great character to follow and the dynamic between her and Arturo gave the story just the right amount of humor and romance. Finally, I really loved how this wrapped-up. I am more of a series girl, overall, as I feel some standalones leave me wanting more, but I was so pleased with the way this concluded. I walk away a happy girl! Thank you so much to the publisher, Wednesday Books and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. I can't wait to read more from Isabel Ibañez!!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lucie V.

    I received a copy of this book via NetGalley (thank you St. Martin's Press). All thoughts and opinions are my own. ✅🆗 World-building ✅🆗 Characters ✅🆗 Plot 🆗 Pace 🆗 Dragons. I was expecting more dragons. 🆗 Love interest and romance 🆗 Predictable twist at the end 2.5 stars I really wished I could give this book a higher rating, but I had to force myself to continue reading it and overall it was okay. The concept is unique and interesting, and the world-building was well done, but I just wasn’t really suc I received a copy of this book via NetGalley (thank you St. Martin's Press). All thoughts and opinions are my own. ✅🆗 World-building ✅🆗 Characters ✅🆗 Plot 🆗 Pace 🆗 Dragons. I was expecting more dragons. 🆗 Love interest and romance 🆗 Predictable twist at the end 2.5 stars I really wished I could give this book a higher rating, but I had to force myself to continue reading it and overall it was okay. The concept is unique and interesting, and the world-building was well done, but I just wasn’t really sucked into the story. It was overall quite predictable and basic. I hated taking my gaze off Mamá when she was performing, even for a moment, but I did it anyway because there’s only one thing better than watching her on stage: the look on Papá’s face. He was bending forward, elbows on his knees, slack-jawed, and dark eyes intently focused on Mamá. He knew every step of this routine, every turn her head made. She danced the way she loved: steadfast, gracious, wildly, and slightly aggressive. Zarela comes from a famous family: her father is the best dragonador in all of Hispaniola (like a matador, but he fights dragons), and her mother was the best flamenco dancer, until the day she tragically died, killed by a dragon. After a disastrous performance that leaves her father seriously injured, Zarela has no choice but to take matters into her own hand if she hopes to save her family’s arena, and also to figure out if someone is trying to sabotage her family. There are good ideas in this book, but I feel that they were not really explored and developed. I’m thinking here about the magic system and the “guilds” that were mentioned, but not really developed (and the magic did seem interesting and different from the usual YA books). The writing was good and the story easy to follow, but the dialogues between Zarela and Arturo made me roll my eyes a few times. This book has a strong Spanish influence, which I don’t mind at all, but all the Spanish words thrown in the dialogues and descriptions might make it a little hard to fully understand every word for someone who does not have a basic knowledge of Spanish. It will not prevent you from understanding the story or the dialogues, but there is no glossary at the end of the ARC to help you if there is a word that you don’t get (I am thankful now for the Spanish lessons I took many years ago) The characters are okay, but they lacked depth, as did the story overall. I would have enjoyed a little more action and more dragons too. While being an easy read, the middle of the book felt long. I had to force myself not to skim at times. Then everything happens in the last 30%. The ending was also weirdly done in my opinion… There is a “twist” but it was cliché and easy to see it coming so it didn’t shock me or create a strong emotional reaction. The love interest had potential at first. I thought he would be a grumpy-but-likable character like Maxantarius in Daughter of No Worlds, but he ended up just being a boring grumpy-and-kinda-mysterious man that I didn’t care much about. The romance was also very predictable. I knew from the very first moment they meet that he would end up being the love interest. Follow me on Instagram 🙂

  5. 4 out of 5

    Isabel Ibañez

    Hi everyone! I can’t believe we are so close to the pub date! I just wanted to hop on here to let you all know a few things. ❤️‍🔥 TOGETHER WE BURN is a stand-alone! I don’t have an plans on writing any more books set in this world, even though I love it so much. But I won’t say never, either. ;) ❤️‍🔥 I consider this book to be a smidge more spicier than my first two books. There’s a short spicier scene toward the back half. If that’s not your cup of tea, skip it! ❤️‍🔥 as an FYI, Together We Burn Hi everyone! I can’t believe we are so close to the pub date! I just wanted to hop on here to let you all know a few things. ❤️‍🔥 TOGETHER WE BURN is a stand-alone! I don’t have an plans on writing any more books set in this world, even though I love it so much. But I won’t say never, either. ;) ❤️‍🔥 I consider this book to be a smidge more spicier than my first two books. There’s a short spicier scene toward the back half. If that’s not your cup of tea, skip it! ❤️‍🔥 as an FYI, Together We Burn is sometimes comped with How To Train Your Dragons. The actual dragons in the book were inspired by the very teeth-y and dangerous dinosaurs from the original Jurassic Park. 😂 (The scene when Laura Dern is running for her life from the raptors as she’s trying to restart the breakers still makes me do a full body shudder). That said, there are some rough moments toward the dragons! I didn’t want anyone to be caught unaware. ❤️‍🔥 I’ll be announcing book tour details over on Instagram! You can also find all the preorder gift information, too! Come find me there 😍 Whew! I think that’s everything! If I miss anything or if something comes up, I’ll update this post. Thank you all so much for the love and support! ❤️‍🔥

  6. 4 out of 5

    Booktastically Amazing

    ~👑Special thanks to Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!👑~ Me when I added this book. Me: Hmm, it has fire. Might be arson, I like that. Me: Oh Me: OH Me: Oh my arsenic soul- Me: It has dragons- Me: Wait, I can't make a decision this abruptly, can you imagine what the other books would say-? Me: What about that poor book on my shelf that's been begging to be read- Me: Will I be so cruel to ignore it? *calmly tries reading the rest of the synopsis* *calmly closes eyes* *reads "infuriatingl ~👑Special thanks to Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!👑~ Me when I added this book. Me: Hmm, it has fire. Might be arson, I like that. Me: Oh Me: OH Me: Oh my arsenic soul- Me: It has dragons- Me: Wait, I can't make a decision this abruptly, can you imagine what the other books would say-? Me: What about that poor book on my shelf that's been begging to be read- Me: Will I be so cruel to ignore it? *calmly tries reading the rest of the synopsis* *calmly closes eyes* *reads "infuriatingly handsome dragon hunter"* *with eyes closed because that's a power, nowadays* Me: HUNTER. DRAGON. MAN. MAN WHO IS A DRAGON HUNTER- THAT WHICH BURNS IS HIM AND THE DRAGONS- So basically, that was my short and incredibly efficient turn into the neanderthal stage of my existence while adding this book. Yes, I am indeed aging backward. Is that not normal? |Rating: 🐲🐲🐲🐲4.0 Firstly, I would love to point out that I for once didn't have to use Google translate while reading a book with another language integrated within it. And that made me a lot happier than I thought I would be. Secondly, there were some Spanish curse words that I had to frantically cover while people passed behind me. *forces smile* It was... enlightening... And thirdly, Arturo can glare at me and set me on fire any day of the week- Preferably safe fire. Because that ish would hurt. *has violent flashback of that one time she tried to do five-minute crafts by setting hand sanitizer on fire and trying to put said hand sanitizer on hands* She was above the age of ten. Chile anyways so, on to the real deal (as real as it can be when I'm running on two teas, a sleeping pill and a list of key things that I will promptly forget). Beginning with the plot and later deviating from my usual reviewing style (2022 has some changes y'all-), I must say that it was simply charming *bear wiggle*. Although predictable, it left me wanting more and more and- oh, there's not anymore. I shall touch on that in a few moments. I loved (adored, drooled for) the fact about the Gremios de Magia, Sastre, Dragonadores. I have no idea if it's because of the Spanish flair, but I felt my eyes shining as I read through them. The storyline of a flamenco dancer suddenly being forced into the world of dragon fighting was incredibly precious, and I looked forward to how it all would come together at the end. Now, the things that docked half .25 of a star off was that the plot itself, being as simple as it was, failed to bring me to my knees in excruciating pain of wanting to know all the details. At the beginning it dragged on just a tad, leaving me wondering at times whether it would pick up the pace (which it did towards the end, and I loved it) and because of that, the ending felt abrupt and too rushed. Imagine a beginner driver (ahem, moi) trying to get through a field of mud. At first, it's a slow, tedious, slightly messy ordeal, yet as the journey progresses in its complexity, you get used to the squishing mud between the tires. But then there's an obstacle right toward the end of the road, and what does the driver do? Slam to a stop. That was the gist of the plot in a metaphor that sounds exactly like what a two-year-old would say (remember, I'm aging backwards). In all honesty, the book could've been longer and even a series! (I never say that, and I scared myself) Why? Because I was looking forward to seeing more dragons, that's all I currently live for. Don't get me wrong, I loved all the times they were mentioned, but they felt inconsequential to the story, if that makes sense. Like if you could eliminate the dragons and add some other beast, nothing would change. I would've craved to have seen more scenes with the dragons and the MC. Her battling or simply standing staring at their vicious beauty... Can you tell I'm *this* close to flying out to Hispalia and getting possibly eaten by a majestic dragon? In my opinion, it would be a marvelous going away party- Moving along, before my acute obsession with dragons takes over, I wanted to dedicate a whole section to the romance. Mayday mayday, Booksy found an enemies to lovers- ABORT MISSION, ABORT MISSION- mission was not aborted so here we are now, gathered to commemorate how bloody amazing that trope is. This book had all the components for it. The tension. The salivation (mainly by me). The banter. The 'I hate you', 'I hate you too', 'We should probably kiss' moments... The too hot glances that burned through my moral restraints of imagination- I'm afraid my infatuation with that trope was ever so engulfed in passionate flames. The chemistry took time to actually grip me, since at the beginning they didn't even feel a smidge of something, so perhaps that's why it's not UP THERE, but dang. I was sweating- I loved how they got interrupted every time they were about to kiss. Reminded me of that time someone tried stealing a fruit cocktail from me and I stabbed them with a fork. *He tried stealing the cherry y'all. THE CHERRY* I didn't fall in love with the romance in this book, but I do have a massive, definitely one-sided, most likely unhealthy crush for it. Because it's never going to happen to me. And you know what? The characters fixed that hole in my chest a little. Zarela had an honest to Hades transformation in my eyes. And I'm so proud- At the start she was a bit self entitled (even her adorable dad recognized that), a little too self-absorbed (her dad also recognized that), maybe spoiled (her dad totally mentioned that) but then she evolved. Her stubbornness reminded me of me and I cannot fault her for that, I wish I had her tenacity and strength when facing detrimental decisions. Her willpower to help her family went beyond of what I thought she would give. I liked her character and would've loved to know more of how she really is. Apart from being a flamenco dancer and being in love, what did she like? What did her soul yearn for in the darkest of nights? *sigh* She has so much more potential and in my head, I can picture her being more of an amazing person as the years go by. Arturo steal-your-freaking-will-to-date-in-real-life husband of mine, he simply was perfection. I truly believe he was more fleshed out than the MC. He played the guitar (hold me, I'm falling), he could tame dragons (this is so rude, why can't I have him?), wanted to write a book about said dragons... basically all you would love in a love interest. Also, he hated the MC's guts. Let's take a moment to appreciate this extraordinary occurrence. You can try to convince me, but I know that underneath that brooding gray gaze, those bulging muscles, the harsh line of his shoulders- he is... waiting to be wed to moi. *I'm desperate, okay?* *screams into pillow because why not* The MC's friendship with her best friend Lola was just hands down, flipping adorable. I enjoyed their chats, their interactions, their banter, their arguments- and I look forward to seeing what Lola lives for herself. What is she personally like, etc. When you know, we get a sequel... *smirk smirk* Even though I didn't connect with the characters on a personal level, I think it was okay with this book at least. So many things had to be resolved in three hundred pages, betrayal, treachery, love, hate, anguish, grief. That I see why they weren't extremely detailed. Like me. I'm in a work in progress. Possibly a DNF too- On a closing note, I literally have never felt prouder of having to take a moment and register that I was reading a Spanish fantasy novel. With dragons. And enemies to lovers- I still have not gotten over it. It's a disease at this point- Nevermind, I love it. The book itself was highly enjoyable, I would say low fantasy just because it wasn't as intricate or complicated to unravel. What you see is what you get, and I was okay with it. I would marry the romance (before the actual 'I love you' part, afterwards it sends to get boring) And Arturo. And- I'll stop. The writing was beautiful, the worldbuiding was a tad rushed, but I understood why. Those 56 almost kisses though- I'M DEAD- But not really because my wedding is in three days, seventeen minutes and thirty-two seconds. Who wants to be the maid of honor- ........................... This book was literally the cutest. I know, I know, weird thing to say about one like this, but it was!! I just need a minute to cope with the fact that nobody will ever be like Arturo and I'll never be able to meet a dragon. 🥲

  7. 4 out of 5

    em ♥

    I was a lucky b to read a super early version of TWB and boy. The treat that's coming your way is ACTION PACKED, SWOONY, RICH and WILDLY UNIQUE. I was a lucky b to read a super early version of TWB and boy. The treat that's coming your way is ACTION PACKED, SWOONY, RICH and WILDLY UNIQUE.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shauni

    Dragons, dancing, forbidden romance. This book was so good! I didn't want to put it down. Lush and filled with adventure, it exceeded all my expectations. Go get it! This is not one to miss! Many thanks to NetGalley and Wednesday books for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Dragons, dancing, forbidden romance. This book was so good! I didn't want to put it down. Lush and filled with adventure, it exceeded all my expectations. Go get it! This is not one to miss! Many thanks to NetGalley and Wednesday books for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Hoover

    Together We Burn is a magical, intimate dance beautifully orchestrated by the author as she directs characters, as well as readers, through the steps of this complex story. Red capes and dresses swirl, feet prance and glide while dragons breathe fire in this age old dance between man and beast. Like medieval Spain where matadors enticed the bulls and flamenco dancers enchanted audiences, Together We Burn is rich in Latin history, seeped in the culture and social beliefs of the times. Readers wil Together We Burn is a magical, intimate dance beautifully orchestrated by the author as she directs characters, as well as readers, through the steps of this complex story. Red capes and dresses swirl, feet prance and glide while dragons breathe fire in this age old dance between man and beast. Like medieval Spain where matadors enticed the bulls and flamenco dancers enchanted audiences, Together We Burn is rich in Latin history, seeped in the culture and social beliefs of the times. Readers will find themselves totally submerged in this exquisite world of scintillating colors, magical beings and larger than life characters in battles of life and death. Zarela Zalvidar and her father are carrying on a five hundred year old family tradition of entertaining audiences as she dances the flamenco with beauty and grace, and he faces down fire breathing dragons with courage and skill in their famous dragon fighting arena. Things are looking up until part of their stable of dragons escape during the anniversary show, killing several audience members and gravely injuring her father. When Zarela is summoned before the Dragon Guile to defend her family's honor and involvment, she understands just how dire their situation has become. The Zalvidar family is being held accountable for all damages, and they stand to lose their ancestral home and livelihood unless Zarela can prove someone sabotaged their estate and dragon ring. Who has reason to execute a dragon trainer and ruin their family name? A rival ring owner? One of the political groups protesting the killing of dragons in the ring? Zarela is determined to find out who murdered their only remaining dragon trainer as well as the rest of their fighting dragons. She will prove her family's innocence - even if it means she has to set aside her fear to become a Dragondor and fight in the ring herself. To do so, she must solicit the help of the baddest, most skilled dragon hunter and trainer in the land, Arturo Diaz de Montserrat. Together We Burn is a compelling story that will draw readers in and hold them in a trance until the end. The setting is quite simply mesmerizing - it's picturesque, alive and humming with age old melodies and tradition - one of the most original fantasy worlds I've ever been privileged to reside in even briefly as a reader. The culture of medieval Spain is embraced and celebrated in brilliant, vivid color with no stone or detail left unturned. Ibanez's control of dialogue and symbolism is quite simply brilliant as it serves to drive this story forward at a fast clip. Character development is out-of-this-world amazing. Sparks erupt into flames as Zarela and Arturo come together in a dance of forbidden love - bantering back and forth, teasing and antagonizing one another while hiding true feelings. They're fire and ice with denied desire as Arturo trains Zarela for the ring in spite of his disgust at the killing of the dragons that he respects and secretly trains for other purposes. Zarela stands in defense of her family traditions and culture just as Arturo counters with all the reasons it's time for change. Their chemistry ignites the pages. A menacing tone persists throughout, reemphasizing the danger Zarela and Artula face as they investigate a murder and prepare for judgment day at Zarela's first fight as a Dragondor. A complex plot line overflowing with lies, secrets, betrayals and sabotage will keep readers burning through pages of twists and turns to the final death defying performance. One of the things I love most about Together We Burn is the overall balance the author achieves across the board. While one can argue that this story is fantasy or a mystery or romance but also historical, it's such a perfect blending of genres sure to satisfy the palette of all readers. No one part overshadows the other. This phenomenal story addresses conflicting ethical, political and cultural beliefs. Zarela and Artura each represent opposite sides in an age old battle between tradition and the need for change with family, tradition and honor weighing heavily in both defenses. The author has woven a magical tapestry with an abundance of threads representing the many sides of social beliefs and traditions and a couple's journey to find a common ground. Together We Burn truly has it all. The fantasy is magnificent, the murder mystery dark and dangerous and the love affair scorching hot. I will be singing the praises of this book for months to come . . . and who knows, one day I may also get the chance to dance with a dragon. I highly recommend this book to everyone. It's not to be missed. *Special thanks to Wednesday Books for an arc of this book. **Reviewed at Cross My Heart Reviews

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kasia

    **ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review** I'll admit it - I've opened this book with bad attitude. The prologue starts with murdering MC's mother and it rubbed me the wrong way. Like, seriously, can we stop with killing off mothers? It's one of the laziest ways of adding some depth to the character and at this point is getting more annoying than its helping. So around page 3 I found myself thinking "Oh, am I going to hate this" and attempted to hate-read it but by the page 50 **ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review** I'll admit it - I've opened this book with bad attitude. The prologue starts with murdering MC's mother and it rubbed me the wrong way. Like, seriously, can we stop with killing off mothers? It's one of the laziest ways of adding some depth to the character and at this point is getting more annoying than its helping. So around page 3 I found myself thinking "Oh, am I going to hate this" and attempted to hate-read it but by the page 50 I discovered that I can't. Because I started enjoying it too much. The idea is very simple but very potent - Imagine middle ages Spain but instead of a tradition of bullfighting, the matadors are facing dragons in the ring. Zarela Zarvidal is a daughter of one of the most famous matador (or dragonador) and she is preparing to take over her fathers ring. Until one day a terrible accident happens and Zarela is forced to fight for her family and find out who and why is trying to disgrace their name. Technically it's a very typical YA with painfully typical spunky heroine and yet, instead of being repetitive, it manages to be fresh and intriguing. Don't get me wrong - there are going to be scenes where everything feels tropey - like a villain revealing all his motives in one scene or suddenly stumbling upon the love interest - but instead of rolling my eyes at those moments somehow they made the story even more charming. To sum up: It's a fun, standalone romantasy with a lot of action, fun banter and some minor flaws. Great beach read, perfect entertainment when you need something light.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alaina

    I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Together We Burn reminded me of Disney. Mostly because violence is always chosen in the very beginning of the movies. Meaning there's always a dramatic death of a parent. This one event tragically shapes how the main character grows up. So, yeah, watching her mother die from the fire of a dragon would be pretty tragic for Zarela. Or anyone really. Does this make her hate dragons? Nope, not really. She's actually pretty fasci I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Together We Burn reminded me of Disney. Mostly because violence is always chosen in the very beginning of the movies. Meaning there's always a dramatic death of a parent. This one event tragically shapes how the main character grows up. So, yeah, watching her mother die from the fire of a dragon would be pretty tragic for Zarela. Or anyone really. Does this make her hate dragons? Nope, not really. She's actually pretty fascinated by them but still is hesitant since they are dangerous creatures. At eighteen years old, she is a talented flamenco dancer. Well, she was (and still is) but the day her father gets injured is the day she decides she wants to train to become a Dragonador. Enter her trainer, Arturo. Now he's a fine specimen and I loved their bantering. Their chemistry was on fire and hard to contain. I wouldn't necessarily say things moved fast between them because he did hold her at arm's length for a while. After the first kiss, though, I don't think he could keep his hands off of her. It's just that, he really needed to tell a deep dark secret before things moved any further between them. Then there's the villain. Ugh. Super gross and don't want to think about it anymore. Not a fan of what happened but he deserved all the karma that came his way. Seriously, he was gross and needed to go. In the end, I definitely enjoyed the heck out of this book. I loved the world, the characters, the drama, and even the dragons. Everything flowed quite well together and I'm happy with how things ended. If this ever became a movie, I would watch it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    EXCELLENT STORY THAT SUCKS YOU IN FROM THE FIRST PAGE WITH HIGH STAKES AND SWOONY ROMANCE

  13. 5 out of 5

    abigail ❥

    2 stars for DNF @13% - Skimmed to the end. Thank you St. Martin's Press & NG for this ARC. This will be published May 31st, 2022. This was disappointing for a book that could have been soo good and super interesting. The pace was entirely too slow for me and I just couldn't get hooked on. I skimmed the rest of the book to know what it was about though. It's such a unique concept for high fantasy and I kept trying to push myself to fully read it because of how much I wanted to enjoy it. The writing 2 stars for DNF @13% - Skimmed to the end. Thank you St. Martin's Press & NG for this ARC. This will be published May 31st, 2022. This was disappointing for a book that could have been soo good and super interesting. The pace was entirely too slow for me and I just couldn't get hooked on. I skimmed the rest of the book to know what it was about though. It's such a unique concept for high fantasy and I kept trying to push myself to fully read it because of how much I wanted to enjoy it. The writing was repetitive and gave "trying too hard". Additionally, I just love dragons, and just reading about sooo many dying was breaking my heart. Set in Hispalia we are thrown into the world of Dragonador's slaying dragons. Each show starting with a traditional flamenco performance by our fmc Zarela. Chaos breaks loose on the 500th anniversary at La Giralda leaving her father, the dragonador, severely injured and unable to continue. Zarela must then take over the business herself. This also has a romance plot but this was just from the parts I skimmed. When I skimmed the ending, it was incredibly lackluster and left me satisfied with not fully reading the book. I wish I could have loved this.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Asia (semi–hiatus)

    27 May 2022 4.5 stars! Well, it's been quite a long time since I've read this. While that does bring the cons of not remembering certain details, it does mean that I've had more time to think about them. And I think 3 months is certainly enough time for my review to be honest. If you scroll down past this lengthy review, you'll notice that I have docked a half star. Why? Not entirely sure, to be completely honest, but just let me clarify why. My reviews are strongly influenced by how I felt reading 27 May 2022 4.5 stars! Well, it's been quite a long time since I've read this. While that does bring the cons of not remembering certain details, it does mean that I've had more time to think about them. And I think 3 months is certainly enough time for my review to be honest. If you scroll down past this lengthy review, you'll notice that I have docked a half star. Why? Not entirely sure, to be completely honest, but just let me clarify why. My reviews are strongly influenced by how I felt reading it, especially how I feel after finishing it. That's often why I rate books so leniently. I think that I just loved reading Together We Burn so much that I was really lenient with the rating. Well, it's been 3 months, and I'm being a bit pickier. Still, for TWB to only "lose" half a star should be pretty telling. This book is amazing, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it! So now, without further ado, on to the review! World Building ~ 9.5/10 Truth be told, I see no reason to score the world building any lower. I docked 0.5 simply because my memory is slightly fuzzy, so I might be forgetting some things. Think of it as me taking into account wiggle room. Anyways, I thought the whole setting was so cool and so inventive! I love the idea of dragon fighting and how it put a fun spin on bull fighting. I especially love that it takes place in a Spanish–inspired world. I think that just works perfectly. Any other country or culture, and it just wouldn't have felt authentic, . . . well, as authentic as dragons and dragon fighting can be, lol XD I'm going to be completely honest, but I found it rather difficult to remember the names of the dragon breeds. I constantly had to refer to the glossary in the front, and as I was reading an e–copy, this got rather annoying. This wasn't as major, but I also could barely remember which guild was which. I suppose knowing some Spanish might have helped with that, but still ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Nonetheless, I felt that the world building was just spot on. *chef's kiss* Characters ~ 8.5/10 There were a ton of great characters in TWB. I'll spotlight the MC and the love interest below, but let me just chat more about the character list in general. Gosh, I wish I could remember more details, but I LOVED Zarela's best friend. I can't for the life of me remember her name, but I absolutely loved her! She was such a great friend and was just so witty! I just gotta love Zarela's dear father. I rather liked her uncle, too, until he did some things that made me rather upset with him. Zarela's other friends were amazing, too! ~Zarela~ Okay, so Zarela is our MC. She's firey, strong–willed, and determined. More importantly, she's not the obnoxious "I'm a strong–willed female MC, yay me" type. We all know those MCs that say they're tough but are about as tough as a puddle of water; they're annoying, and we hate them. But let me tell you this: Zarela proves her strength. And not the "tell, but not show" proof, but both! (So yay to author Isabel Ibañez!) Zarela is so determined to prove her worth and to save her beloved dragon fighting ring that she'll quite literally do everything it takes to do so — even conquering her fear of dragons to become the first female Dragonador (dragon fighter). Her strength, her bravery, her determination bordering on stubbornness are what make her a tough bada**. But more importantly, we see her unyielding care for her best friend and father, whom she adores. This shows us that she's not just a tough jerk; she's real. She's a well–rounded person, emotionally. And even though we can't relate to being a Dragonador, this characterization helps us (or maybe it's just me) really relate to her. And that's great. ~Arturo~ Arturo is your typical broody, slightly jerky love interest. This includes all the pros and cons that come with it. We definitely see him being a "jerk" to Zarela initially. By "jerk," I don't mean mean or cruel, but more standoffish and borderline rude, if you get what I mean. In fact, he laughs at her for wanting to attempt to become a Dragonador. However, this rudeness is juxtaposed with real care, like when he saves her from a dragon attack. The actual saving isn't what demonstrates true caring, but rather a sacrifice he made to do so. No, it's not his life or someone else's, but something else. I'm not going to say, because I don't want to ruin that moment for you. :) Overall, he had a pretty good character arc. He definitely reminds me a lot of Zuko from ATLA, but let's be honest. No one will ever be as great as Zuko. End of story. Plot ~ 8/10 As I've been hinting so far, the whole plot revolves around Zarela trying to save her dragon ring. You'll get no spoilers from me (at least here), but I really did enjoy the whole plot line. However, something about the plot and the pacing of it just didn't feel right. When I was reading it, I really saw no problem. But now, looking back, I feel like more could have happened. That's not to say that nothing happened, because a lot did. But maybe, a bit more? I'm not sure. Anyways, all that aside, I really enjoyed the whole plot, and I found it rather fascinating. Relationships ~ 8/10 So many great relationships! I think I'll only spotlight Zarela and Arturo's relationship below, but I'd be remiss if I didn't highlight her relationships with her best friend and father. I just LOVE the amazing relationship Zarela has with her best friend. They're such a fun duo, and the care and respect for each other is just #friendgoals, lol. But in all seriousness, they're just so fun and goofy, and you really have to read TWB to get all of it. I just cannot do justice to this friendship, especially with my crappy memory. :\ I love Zarela's relationship with her father almost as much I do her relationship with her best friend. Zarela absolutely adores her father, and the time and attention she takes caring for him is just so pure! And the lengths she'll go to uphold her family name and her father's honor is just so admirable! It's great! ~Zarela & Arturo~ I'm going to be slightly harsh, but this relationship needed work. It was a slow burn instalove. I know that makes no sense at all, so let me explain. So, we knew Zarela and Arturo would be a couple from the very start, even before reading it. Otherwise, what type of YA book would this be; like, c'mon, this is just standard for YA fantasy. (This is the instalove part.) However, they barely had any on–screen chemistry. (That's the slow burn part.) Sure, we get a couple of lingering glances and brushes, but that's about it. Now, I'm not saying that we need steam or spice to be believable; we don't. There are plenty of great YA books with a believable relationship without resorting to either. However, I think we should have had a bit more, but maybe that's just me. I don't know. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Prose & Pacing ~ 8/10 I said earlier, and I'll say it again: the pacing just felt off. While reading it, it was fine, but now, looking back, I feel like it was missing something. I'm not sure what that something is, but I feel like more should (or could) have happened. Pacing aside, I loved the prose. Isabel Ibañez has such a great writing style, and I absolutely devoured it! Her words just flowed right off the page. Spoiler Section ~ not rated It should be obvious, but there will be spoilers. Proceed with caution. (view spoiler)[ WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD! So, I liked the uncle, but not anymore. He got what was coming to him. I can't believe he killed Zarela's father! And all for Zarela? Pfft, sure. (sarcasm) (hide spoiler)] And I think that's all I'll say, spoiler–wise, since my memory's so spotty. :\ Overall Okay, overall, I really enjoyed reading TWB. Great book, great plot. And can we talk about that cover?! AMAZING, AND ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!!!! 😍 Was it perfect? No, but it was close enough. Would I recommend it? Absolutely! 4.5 stars! ~~~~~ Major thanks to St. Martin's Press/Wednesday Books for the free eARC in exchange for an honest review #TogetherWeBurn #Netgalley -------------------------------------------------- 23 February 2022 5 amazing stars!!!! I SO loved this book, and I wish there were a second! RTC! Major thanks to St. Martin's Press/Wednesday Books for the free eARC in exchange for an honest review #TogetherWeBurn #Netgalley -------------------------------------------------- 14 February 2022 *To Read* I was provided a free eARC from Netgalley on behalf of Wednesday Books, in exchange for an honest review #TogetherWeBurn #Netgalley ~~~~~ Want more bookish stuff? ・ Comment below to discuss this book more. I'd love to hear what you think! ・ Send me a private message on Goodreads to discuss this book and other books! ・ Join Book Nerds Unite to get involved in all things bookish with fellow book nerds! ・ Like this review, and follow me for more book reviews. ・ Subscribe to my blog, Adventures with Asia Minor! https://www.adventureswithasiaminor.com/ Happy Reading!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Julie - One Book More

    Zarela Zalvidar is a popular flamenco dancer and the daughter of a famous Dragonador, which is similar to a matador except with dragons. When tragedy strikes during one of their shows and her father is injured, saving their home and the arena falls to Zarela. But as another accident occurs, Zarela suspects that foul play is involved. Many people would love to see the Zalvidar family fail, including political enemies, activists, and more. But who targeted her family? Zarela knows she must open the Zarela Zalvidar is a popular flamenco dancer and the daughter of a famous Dragonador, which is similar to a matador except with dragons. When tragedy strikes during one of their shows and her father is injured, saving their home and the arena falls to Zarela. But as another accident occurs, Zarela suspects that foul play is involved. Many people would love to see the Zalvidar family fail, including political enemies, activists, and more. But who targeted her family? Zarela knows she must open the arena as quickly as possible in order to earn enough money to pay their debts or risk losing everything. She decides to take her father’s place as Draganador, but with little experience and in need of new dragons, Zarela needs assistance. She enlists the begrudging help of dragon hunter Arturo Díaz de Montserra, but their growing and contradictory relationship complicates things. Will they be able to save Zare;a’s home and arena before it’s too late, and will they figure out who is targeting the family? Plus, what secrets is Arturo hiding, and how do they connect to Zarela? I loved this book! It was one of my most anticipated YA fantasy reads of 2022, and it surpassed my expectations. I love the author’s writing style and how the story pulls you in from the very beginning. Set in a unique fantasy world inspired by medieval Spain, the story is rich in culture and super immersive. The story is so vivid and detailed, and the author’s use of dialogue, symbolism, and sensory and figurative language is exceptional. I found myself writing a lot of notes and highlighting many poignant and thought-provoking passages throughout my reading because I enjoyed the writing so much. I also like how balanced the book is. The world-building, plot, and character development are all well-developed and intriguing, yet none detracts or overshadows the others. Ibañez has a gift for storytelling, that’s for sure! The plot is well-developed and intriguing, and betrayals, life-threatening situations, and several twists and turns create a suspenseful and exciting story. Between dragons escaping, underhanded politicians threatening Zarela’s livelihood, and Zarela’s dangerous mission to save her family, there is never a dull moment in the book. Zarela is such a compelling protagonist, and I loved her story. Smart, determined, and driven, Zarela will do whatever it takes to keep the family business afloat and protect her family’s reputation. Zarela is fiercely loyal to her family, and she loves her parents more than anything. She grieves the loss of her mother deeply, which is something I totally related to. I thought her feelings about her mother and the grief she is burdened with were very realistic, and it resonated so much with me. Zarela often lives in the shadow of her parents’ fame, and I liked seeing her slowly define herself as an individual and not just as her parent’s daughter. She is tested and questioned and doubted, but she faces all obstacles and roadblocks with grit, passion, and a drive to prove herself and save her family. Arturo is super swoon-worthy!! He is so mysterious and secretive, yet beneath that prickly exterior, he is also good and kind and ethical. I always love a handsome, conflicted, brooding hero, and Arturo is all that and more. He is an amazingly talented dragon trainer, and he has very strong views about dragons and their treatment. Though he has a gruff, closed-off demeanor, he slowly reveals the complex and dynamic man he is. I love his quiet strength, patience, and how he slowly changes as he grows closer to Zarela. The slow-building, enemies-to-lovers romance between Zarela and Arturo is one of my favorite parts of the story (no shock there!). This pair has so much chemistry, and I love how their love story unfolds and grows. They have a fantastic love-hate connection, and their relationship is emotionally charged from their first meeting. So many secrets stand in their way, but there is also a ton of passion between them. And they have such fabulous banter. Whenever they’re together, whether they’re working or arguing or doing something mundane, the sparks always fly. They antagonize each other, commiserate together, and show each other possibilities they never anticipated. And when Arturo plays the guitar for Zarela – sa-woon!!! The secondary characters are great too, and I especially like Lola. Lola is a good friend, and she has an intriguing story too. She is so witty and protective, and I loved the scenes with her in them. The story also includes a complex social structure, conflicting political and ethical beliefs, the battle between tradition and the desire for change, and themes of family, honor, forgiveness, identity, and more. There are so many thought-provoking and relevant topics woven into this layered, magical, and captivating story. I adored Together We Burn (Ahhh – that title!! One of my favorite parts of the book has this line in it, and it’s fan-tastic!!). It’s a unique, magical, and intriguing story, and I loved the characters and the romance! I highly recommend the book to readers who enjoy rich, immersive, and romantic YA or NA fantasy. Thanks so much to NetGalley, Wednesday Books, and the author for providing a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mallory

    When I read the description of this one I was captivated by the unique story, but I found myself having to push through it. I think a large part of it is that the book is focused on the main character Zarela is determined to save her family’s legacy which is capturing dragons and then killing them slowing for entertainment. Sure they are a menace to the villages but it doesn’t reach excusing killing them, and despite the twist at the end I had a very hard sympathizing with her or wanting her to When I read the description of this one I was captivated by the unique story, but I found myself having to push through it. I think a large part of it is that the book is focused on the main character Zarela is determined to save her family’s legacy which is capturing dragons and then killing them slowing for entertainment. Sure they are a menace to the villages but it doesn’t reach excusing killing them, and despite the twist at the end I had a very hard sympathizing with her or wanting her to succeed. Zarela’s mother was a dancer like she is - entertainment before the dragon fights. Her father is a famous dragonador and when her mother is tragically killed by a dragon Zarela steps into her role wearing her dresses and dancing her dances. A tragic accident leaves her family legacy in question and she will do anything to save their name. I will say I did like the cultural pieces and that it felt like How to Train Your Dragon in Spain and I did like the comparison to the bull fighting.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    I definitely lost brain cells reading about Zarela and some of the decisions she made and I'm so disappointed because I feel like Together We Burn had so much potential to be something better...but it wasn't. This doesn't even have anything to do with the author as a writer, because I thought the writing was fine and easy to read and stay engaged. The concept of the story was also intriguing enough for me to pick it up. it's a Spain-inspired world and culture (Hispalia, which like...honestly, th I definitely lost brain cells reading about Zarela and some of the decisions she made and I'm so disappointed because I feel like Together We Burn had so much potential to be something better...but it wasn't. This doesn't even have anything to do with the author as a writer, because I thought the writing was fine and easy to read and stay engaged. The concept of the story was also intriguing enough for me to pick it up. it's a Spain-inspired world and culture (Hispalia, which like...honestly, there could've been a more creative name for the country) and after disaster strikes at the 500th-anniversary celebration at Zarela's family's arena, she has no choice but to give up her flamenco dancing and become a Dragonador (which is basically like the book's equivalent to being a bull-fighter and just the idea of bullfighting in modern-day Spain). Shortly after, she finds out her family is also broke and tries to scrape together money to keep the arena going, being able to put food on the table, and provide retribution for the people affected by the disaster at the arena, all while trying to find someone to train her to become a Dragonador before the arena's next event. Instead, we got a story with a stupid main character (I'll get into that in a bit), side characters who I felt like had SO much more potential than what Isabel Ibañez gave them, and a romance that didn't make me feel anything at all. Let's get into each of these points: 1. Zarela as a character: I get that Ibañez described her as headstrong and stubborn, and she wasn't wrong- she was definitely both of those things throughout the story. It's just that some (read: most) of her decisions were things that put herself or others in danger even after she was warned to like...oh, I don't know...NOT DO IT? Here are some examples (okay, more like all of them that I caught throughout the book): (view spoiler)[1. Sitting outside of Arturo's dragon ranch for literal DAYS in the cold, rain, heat, etc. in an attempt to convince him to train her. Literally NO ONE, not a single soul, told her to do that. All Lola (her best friend) told her to do was something along the lines of "Be yourself and convince him that this is important to you" and Zarela took that as, "Cool, I'm gonna sit outside his house for a few days until he says yes." 2. Arturo, his stable hands, and Zarela are fighting off a dragon that got loose and they're trying to get it back. Arturo gives Zarela a fire-resistant cloak and tells her to take it, run as far away as possible, and hide under the cloak the entire time so she doesn't get burned. Easy directions to follow, right? Like, especially when the dragon can breathe fire and at this point, they're easy directions to follow in a life/death situation, right? So tell me why Zarela even decides for a SECOND to lift the cloak off her body to see what's going on, and of course what happens? The dragon sees her and starts to spit fire at her. 3. Her close family friend, Hector (friend of her dad's) gives her some information but doesn't have solid proof yet that it's true. He tells her to not investigate further considering her family is under a probation period after the incident at their arena and he can find out more information himself. So, what does Zarela do? She drags Lola along to an office building where this "information" would be found in papers, they do a little bit of breaking and entering by breaking, and almost gets Lola killed in the process because a magical plant almost chokes Lola to death. What a great friend, am I right? 4. One of the dragons that Zarela takes home with her from Arturo's dragon ranch is on the loose and starts to wreck havoc on the town. Sirens are going off telling everyone to stay inside, but what does she do instead? Rides out on her horse to the main part of the city to try to rescue people to take them back to her home for medical treatment. I’ll admit it’s a very noble thing for her to do but like, people are injured, probably can’t walk, and all she has is herself, Arturo (who followed after her to make sure she was safe), and a horse. 5. There's a huge revelation at the end of the book where Arturo's big secret (he was the Dragonador who wasn't able to kill the dragon that got loose during the anniversary event and ultimately killed Zarela's mother because he couldn't bring himself to kill a dragon for sport) is revealed. Zarela, rightfully, is shocked, hurt, and confused, but her dad tells her it's not his fault for being a human being. A few pages later, she and Arturo are trying to talk things out and she's still rightfully angry, but at the same time is like, arguing with him in her bedroom and intentionally leading them towards the bed? Sis was so down bad for him the entire time that all Arutro had to say was "I love you" and then she forgot that she was even mad at him in the first place. They have make up sex right after. Not even "Please give me time to process this information because I've been mourning my mother's death for a year now," she's so down bad that she's like, "Awww I love you too, we're at my bed so let's have sex." 6. This one is just petty but when they were doing the nasty, Arturo asks for consent and all that (we love Arturo) and Zarela says it's okay to keep going further. When he asks if she's had sex before, she says no and that she doesn't know what she's doing...except it seemed like she clearly knew what she was doing literally a day or two ago when she threw herself onto Arturo and they were dry humping in a dragon cave. Yes, you read that right. Like....sis you clearly have SOME idea of what's going on. (hide spoiler)] Another thing that kind of irked me is that she spends the majority of the book defending dragon killing because they've harmed and killed people and then she hires Arturo, who is strongly AGAINST dragon killing so they're at odds with each other the entire time. I get why she has the stance that she does (and for her, it's very personal), but she even has dragon activist groups on her front doorstep of her house every morning protesting dragonfighting and how they should stop killing dragons. Despite all of this, she continually says HAS to keep going because it's her family's legacy, it's ~an art form~, and no one has protested it for hundreds of years so why stop now. (view spoiler)[Luckily, she manages to figure out an alternative way to keep the arena going without having to kill the dragons and her stance on it changes, but she really spent a majority of the story arguing with Arturo about it all. (hide spoiler)] 2. The other characters: I feel like Isabel Ibañez could've done SO much more with them. I saw the character art for each of the main characters on her Instagram page that she commissoned an artist to do, and I excited to get to read about all of them and their roles in the plot. She even had full-on birthdays given to each of them and all these backstories which only hyped me up even more. I was disappointed to see Lola, Zarela's best friend, basically get reduced to being the "boy-crazy, sassy, fashion-obsessed" best friend for the majority of the book (when I mean the majority I literally mean right up until the last chapter). Guillermo, Lola's love interest, was BARELY in the story at all aside from the times Lola would bring him up in conversation or the like, 3-4 times he's in a scene with Zarela and/or Lola during a 350-page book. As for Arturo, he was one of the only characters in the story that had more than 2 brain cells and that is why he's my favorite character. He was funny, saracastic, and basically said all of my thoughts about Zarela aloud in his dialogue. He didn't stutter ONCE every time he'd go after Zarela for yet another stupid decision she made. Enough said. 3. The romance: I felt no sparks, nothing, between Arturo and Zarela. They spent most of the time arguing with each other and I guess this was supposed to be a slow burn romance but like...nah, I felt no chemistry between them at all. If there was ANY redeeming quality to this story, it was the plot twist at the end. I sort of had an idea of who was behind the disaster that occurred at the anniversary event (this person was just tooooo good to be true, you know?), I just didn't know the motives behind them doing it. It was absolutely sick, twisted, and something that could've came straight out of an adult thriller book. It caught me off guard in a good way! Some other minor things that made the book a little better: dragons and the descriptions of the food everyone ate. Like, I'm hungry just thinking about all the food in the story again, and dragons hold a special place in my heart just because of the Vietnamese zodiac and how I was born in during the year of the dragon (and also because when I was little one of my favorite stuffed animals was a pink Webkinz dragon I named Peach because its color reminded me of Princess Peach's dress in Mario Kart lol). Overall, I was definitely disappointed with this read especially since this was one of my more anticipated releases for 2022 and I was counting down the days to when it would arrive in the mail (yes, this was one of my anticipated releases to the point where I pre-ordered it!). I'm willing to give her other two books a chance though in hopes I enjoy one of those instead. -- 1.5 stars (rounded up to 2 because dragons, the descriptions of all the food, and the ending was actually messed up/twisted/sick but in a good way because I didn't see all of it coming) Trigger warnings: Animal abuse and death, death of a family member, poisoning, descriptive scenes of animal attacks and injury, kidnapping/abduction, blood, misogyny, grief and loss depiction (Thank you to Trigger Warning Database for the list that comes with this book!)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Opal

    ~Thank you Netgalley and St Martins Press for allowing me to receive an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!~ 5⭐𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐬 •Please Isabel Ibañez has done it again. I love this woman and her writing with a seething passion😭🤚 𝐏𝐥𝐨𝐭 •The plot of this story is *chefs kiss* dragons, drama, culture, rich history, great romance and more intertwined into a perfect medley. Twists and turns that made me audibly gasp, and if this wasn't on my kindle I probably would have thrown my phone against a wall ~Thank you Netgalley and St Martins Press for allowing me to receive an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!~ 5⭐𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐬 •Please Isabel Ibañez has done it again. I love this woman and her writing with a seething passion😭🤚 𝐏𝐥𝐨𝐭 •The plot of this story is *chefs kiss* dragons, drama, culture, rich history, great romance and more intertwined into a perfect medley. Twists and turns that made me audibly gasp, and if this wasn't on my kindle I probably would have thrown my phone against a wall these twists were so good. Foreshadowing is hidden so well but enough so when the climax occurs you go "omg wait." 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐬 •The characters were amazing as in all of Ibañez's pieces. Zarela was this headstrong, stubborn girl who I constantly rooted for and wished things would work out for her. The character development was phenomenal and I loved watching the protagonists learn and change and open up to each other. Lola and other side characters also made me smile as they were fleshed out and actually contributed to the story. 𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝𝐛𝐮𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 •I loved the worldbuilding. The dragons and their lore, the ancient history, the culture, the people, all of it was so rich and fleshed out and I truly felt that this world felt real. The world was constructed in such a beautiful way and I almost wanted to live there or visit and just breathe in the atmosphere of the city and maybe pet a dragon or two. 𝐎𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐥𝐥 •I may have read the ARC of this, but I plan to purchase a real copy of this when it releases and y'all. You NEED to read this!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this book. While it has a really interesting concept, I think it suffers from pacing and focus issues that couldn’t quite lift it completely off the ground into loving or even liking it too much. This is a fantasy novel based around Spanish bull fighting culture if the bulls were instead: dragons! Our main character is the daughter of a famous flamenco dancer and draganador - a man who fights dragons in the ring. After a disaster at her family’s arena, Zare I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this book. While it has a really interesting concept, I think it suffers from pacing and focus issues that couldn’t quite lift it completely off the ground into loving or even liking it too much. This is a fantasy novel based around Spanish bull fighting culture if the bulls were instead: dragons! Our main character is the daughter of a famous flamenco dancer and draganador - a man who fights dragons in the ring. After a disaster at her family’s arena, Zarela is left scrambling to save her family business and keep their livelihood while facing protests and someone intent on seeing them fail. Pretty cool idea! But I think they just didn’t focus on what I would have focused on to make it more interesting to me. First, because if you already have fully formed ideas about the brutality of bull fighting you aren’t going to be *that* sympathetic to our main character and her family. In fact, I was pretty against them for most of the story and that did not really change until near the end. There are mentions that the dragons are destructive but there is no overlooking the cruelty of slowly killing them in front of an audience. While the book addresses this, and has a main character and love interest who is against the practice, its still what we are dealing with and heading towards for most of the story and makes it very uncomfortable. I think if they had done the reveal for their new performance earlier in the story it would have been much more interesting and an easier to swallow story and character arc to cheer for. As it was, I wasn’t cheering for our main character to ‘win’ the story at all. I was too busy not enjoying the idea of killing for entertainment. A huge focus of the story is the love interest, Arturo, who Zarela hires as a dragon tamer but who is deeply against dragon fighting but is apparently forced to work in the industry for reasons. The amount of red flags this man has is enough to use as the cape in a bullfight. However, they still have really good chemistry and while I would be like ‘girl, no’ in real life, I still kind of liked it in fiction. If the romance doesn’t work for you at all though, you would be in for a hard time as it focuses pretty heavily on it. I also understand this is a YA book but it seemed to fluctuate between New Adult focusing older, with sexual content and violence to Teen, focusing younger with some of the ideas that should be flushed out just not. Like the ending is such a magic wand waving Disney ending solution when it was clearly set up as not really working out that way in context. I am no longer a young adult, though I still find the diversity and inclusion in most YA fantasy stories a great reason to still jump into the genre. But I have read YA that don’t have me questioning if this is how people would really react in certain scenarios. I think this book was trying very hard not to be…How to Train Your Dragon in Spain. But I think that would have been way better. This is basically that but instead of from Hiccup’s perspective we are watching from America Ferrara’s character (Ingrid? I don’t remember) as she continues to just train to murder a dragon. We don’t want her to murder a dragon so why do we care about the plot? There are interesting conversations about cruelty vs culture. I just think we got to the moral high ground way too late in the story. Overall, I would say its a pretty interesting idea but faltered a bit in making it a compelling story that you can actually cheer for. Thank you to Netgalley and Macmillan Audio for a copy of this audiobook in exchange for a review. The narrator did an absolutely wonderful job and got me through the story.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Ross

    Lush. Epic. Spellbinding. I loved this one, friends. Official blurb to come!

  21. 5 out of 5

    CYIReadBooks (Claire)

    Magic, light romance, dragons, and espionage. What more can one ask for? In the footsteps of her late mother, Zarela Zalvidar is a performer. She along with her father regale their audience with flamenco and dragonfighting. It is a tradition steeped in history that has spanned at least 500 years. But that tradition is threatened when a terrible tragedy strikes, leaving the Zalidars on the brink of losing everything they’ve worked for. In order to save the estate and their reputation, Zarela is for Magic, light romance, dragons, and espionage. What more can one ask for? In the footsteps of her late mother, Zarela Zalvidar is a performer. She along with her father regale their audience with flamenco and dragonfighting. It is a tradition steeped in history that has spanned at least 500 years. But that tradition is threatened when a terrible tragedy strikes, leaving the Zalidars on the brink of losing everything they’ve worked for. In order to save the estate and their reputation, Zarela is forced to learn the art of dragonfighting — becoming a dragonador. But that task may be more difficult than Zarela realizes. Together We Burn combines all of the wonderful elements of fantasy, historical fiction, and romance in a perfectly executed novel. Dragons, magic, action, and romance are deftly blended together to form a magnificent retelling of the toreadors and the flamenco dancers of old. With a generous sprinkling of Spanish words and phrases, Together We Burn is rich in atmosphere with colorful characters to match. The story is full of adventure and intrigue. It is a page-turner that will have you wanting more, and never wanting it to end. Together We Burn is definitely a novel that should be on everyone’s TBR. I can’t wait to read more novels from this superb author, Isabel Ibañez — a name to be remembered. Five outstanding stars. I received a digital ARC from St. Martin’s Press through NetGalley. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    This book grabbed me and transported me to the land of Hispalia. This land has dragons that are captured and fought in rings by Dragonadors (like matadors in a bullfight) where they fight to the death. Zarela Zalvidar is a flamenco dancer at her family's 500 year old ring. Her mother had been a flamenco dancer and had taught Zaarela well before she was killed by a dragon's flames. A tragedy occurred at the ring that brought major problems to Zarela and her family. She is determined to make thing This book grabbed me and transported me to the land of Hispalia. This land has dragons that are captured and fought in rings by Dragonadors (like matadors in a bullfight) where they fight to the death. Zarela Zalvidar is a flamenco dancer at her family's 500 year old ring. Her mother had been a flamenco dancer and had taught Zaarela well before she was killed by a dragon's flames. A tragedy occurred at the ring that brought major problems to Zarela and her family. She is determined to make things right and carry on her family's tradition and good name. This read somewhat like a fairy tale with beautiful descriptions of the the surroundings, the clothing, the dragons etc. There is a strong female protagonist and a handsome dragon tamer. There's also good versus evil and a mystery to be solved. I loved it! Zarela's strength and determination were admirable. The Spanish language sprinkled through the book was easily understandable and appropriate to the story. Thanks to St. Martin's Press through Netgalley for an advance copy. This book will be published on May 31, 2022.

  23. 5 out of 5

    VICTORIA EDWARDS

    I really liked this book!!! Thank you so much Wednesday Books for sending me an early copy of this I was thrilled to have received one! So this book, I liked it a lot! I think I’ve come to the conclusion that if a book isn’t Red Rising level of MASTERPIECE, it probably won’t get five stars from me but this isn’t because I didn’t enjoy it or like it a crap ton, it just didn’t turn my world upside down. Aaaaanyways… I really liked the world, the imagery and the overall setting of this book. It felt I really liked this book!!! Thank you so much Wednesday Books for sending me an early copy of this I was thrilled to have received one! So this book, I liked it a lot! I think I’ve come to the conclusion that if a book isn’t Red Rising level of MASTERPIECE, it probably won’t get five stars from me but this isn’t because I didn’t enjoy it or like it a crap ton, it just didn’t turn my world upside down. Aaaaanyways… I really liked the world, the imagery and the overall setting of this book. It felt very atmospherical and filled with spice and culture. I think Isabel did such a good job of bringing Hispalia to life. Zarela was very straight forward and dear god I appreciate that. I hate misunderstandings and stupid little things like that so I’m beyond glad that we had a protagonist who knew what she wanted and didn’t let her nerves get the best of her. Arturo was a dreamy hunk too. The more reserved of the two, but I liked him a lot. I just wanted him to stop being stubborn 🤣🤣. The plot was good! This book started off pretty chaotic and I wasn’t expecting all the bloodshed and burned corpses. It was a madhouse. I loved the plot twists and the dragons and how we get to learn more about them. And lastly if you prefer a bit of spice with your book, definitely recommend this one, it delivers 😎.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bitchin' Reads

    Love, love, love! The writing is beautiful in its simplicity, and the world-building is so unique! Matador bull fights, but make it fantasy with dragons? SIGN ME UP! The slow burn romance is so good, and the progression of it hits at all.the.right.moments. Swoon! The stakes are high, and the payoff is so satisfying. I cannot read this book enough. ** I love this book. Review to come!

  25. 4 out of 5

    ♠ TABI⁷ ♠

    saw the author's news release of this on Instagram and wow it looks epic saw the author's news release of this on Instagram and wow it looks epic

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cat Reads Books

    Thank you to Netgalley and St Martin's Press for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My strongest impression of Together We Burn by Isabel Ibañez is that it really should have started at the halfway mark. The writing was good and the overall story was interesting but the plot progression and the unacceptable lack of dragons in the first half kept it from being anything more than a decent read. The Plot Zarela Zalvidar is the daughter of Hispalia's most f Thank you to Netgalley and St Martin's Press for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My strongest impression of Together We Burn by Isabel Ibañez is that it really should have started at the halfway mark. The writing was good and the overall story was interesting but the plot progression and the unacceptable lack of dragons in the first half kept it from being anything more than a decent read. The Plot Zarela Zalvidar is the daughter of Hispalia's most famous Dragonador, basically a matador but for dragons. Her mother was killed by a dragon a year earlier and now a year later, during a dragon fight, their other dragons escape their cages and wreak havoc on the arena, killing a bunch of spectators and wounding Zarela's father. In order to save her home and arena and keep bringing in paying spectators while her father is injured she has to learn to fight dragons herself, which means employing the help of a grumpy, sullen, mysterious, and of course super hot dragonador trainer. The Good The writing was good; it was recognizably a YA novel, but a well-written YA novel. The world-building too, was nothing mind blowing but it was fine. I believed this ancient Spain-like country where dragons roamed and occasionally razed villages and cities. The magic was cool, if not fully explored. People who do magic, called Magos, can store spells in cheap wands which anyone can buy and break apart to release the spell. I haven't seen that before and I enjoyed it. Main character Zarela was also a pretty good protagonist. She wasn't necessarily likeable but she was interesting and that made the story more interesting as a whole. She was kind of dumb though, although that doesn't really bother me like I know it does others. Some people are just dumb. The Not-So-Good Arturo. Ugh. The Dragonador trainer/eventual love interest (I'd tag that as a spoiler but come on, the second you meet him you know) is the absolute worst. He's so boring and just such a typical grumpy-mysterious-brooding man with a chip on his shoulder who has a secret he can't tell the heroine for reasons. He and Zarela have absolutely no sexual tension and while she can't stop obsessing over his hair and stuff he just genuinely seems annoyed by her existence for most of the book. None of it is sexy, which would be totally fine except the author was clearly going for enemies-to-lovers type sexual tension and it didn't work. I said earlier that the world building was decent, and it was, but I think the story itself could've taken place in a much more lush setting within the world Ibañez built. We spend so much time indoors or in the dusty arena. I expected Zarela to be riding out into the countryside and the forest, hunting wild dragons but there is exactly one scene where she interacts with a dragon outside the arena. That was disappointing. I'm not going to say anything about the ending except that it was too saccharine for my taste, even despite the fact that someone dies. Did not approve of the ending. Overall, Together We Burn by Isabel Ibañez was an okay YA romance/fantasy that could've been so much better.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Aguilar

    Early on, I found myself siding with the adults and criticizing some of what Zarela did and did not do. Once I took a step back and realized she didn't anything wrong given that her experiences limited her understanding of the world, I was able to empathize with her more. This book has inconsistencies with pacing, with the first third taking forever and the last 15% going by wayyyy too fast. While I read this book primarily in one day, it mostly to finish a reading challenge. It might have taken Early on, I found myself siding with the adults and criticizing some of what Zarela did and did not do. Once I took a step back and realized she didn't anything wrong given that her experiences limited her understanding of the world, I was able to empathize with her more. This book has inconsistencies with pacing, with the first third taking forever and the last 15% going by wayyyy too fast. While I read this book primarily in one day, it mostly to finish a reading challenge. It might have taken me longer otherwise because it is a slow start-- about a third of the book is set up before it really picks up to delve into the premise. Everything that Zarela did leading up to it was necessary but it felt dragged on. The world-building was interesting. But I did have lingering questions about the magic system and how wands work. Like how does it do what it does? The potions part of thing makes sense. Conjuring a hammer from a wand, not much. I generally liked the characters and the development, up until the last 15% where one character felt like they did a 180* without any substantial hint. I wouldn't have minded this much if the motivation made sense. It did but it didn't. I had to stretch a little further than I felt made sense given what I knew of the characters and their relationships. Overall, I had no expectations and was curious to see what Dragonores and Flamenco dancers in a fantasy would look like but the execution left me feeling ehh.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    Dragons, magic, mystery, and delicious food descriptions combine to create a fantasy story that I could not put down. Zarela was such a fun main character to follow, one who's justifiably angry at circumstances around her but still chooses to hope and doesn't hide her femininity. The plot was super interesting, with an intriguing mystery to solve, and I loved all the side characters. I really liked that there was Spanish woven throughout the story, and yes, I did feel very proud of myself that I Dragons, magic, mystery, and delicious food descriptions combine to create a fantasy story that I could not put down. Zarela was such a fun main character to follow, one who's justifiably angry at circumstances around her but still chooses to hope and doesn't hide her femininity. The plot was super interesting, with an intriguing mystery to solve, and I loved all the side characters. I really liked that there was Spanish woven throughout the story, and yes, I did feel very proud of myself that I understood most of it without having to translate, haha! I did call the big twist from an early point, but that didn't lessen my enjoyment at all. So yes, I thoroughly enjoyed 90% of this book, and I'd recommend it. Unfortunately there's that 10% leaving a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. It was probably my own fault for hoping that a secularly-published YA wouldn't have this stuff but I couldn't help hoping. There's quite a bit of profanity (all in Spanish), a good amount of violence (involving the dragons), and one almost-sex scene and one sex scene. It's easily skippable, but it caught me so off-guard that I dropped the rating a full star. I just... don't need to see that, thanks. Overall, I really liked this, and I do recommend it, but with those content warnings in place. (Also trigger warnings for loss of a parent) It was probably one of the bigger disappointments of the year, but still such an enchanting story that I did still really love most of it. Just not all of it. Oh well. Four stars from me! **I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.**

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Ruth (The best boyfriends are book boyfriends)

    Thank you Netgalley and Publisher for this Arc. Unfortunately I had a hard time with this one. While finding parts and specific pieces absolutely amazing I just could not focus on anything but the bull fighting/dragon fighting idea particularly at the beginning. There is much to be said for the cultural significance of this story, tho.

  30. 5 out of 5

    MissBecka Gee

    I loved the end of the book, but had a lot of trouble getting into this one until the last hour of the audio. Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for my DRC. I loved the end of the book, but had a lot of trouble getting into this one until the last hour of the audio. Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for my DRC.

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