Book Review

Book Review: Incendiary (Hollow Crown #1) by Zoraida Córdova

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 450 pages
Author: Zoraida Cordova
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: April 28th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


I am Renata Convida.
I have lived a hundred stolen lives.
Now I live my own.

Renata Convida was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King’s Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a Robari, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata’s ability to steal memories from royal enemies enabled the King’s Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.

Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown and helping the remaining Moria escape the kingdom bent on their destruction. The Whispers may have rescued Renata from the palace years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred–or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she turned “hollow” during her time in the palace.

When Dez, the commander of her unit, is taken captive by the notorious Sangrado Prince, Renata will do anything to save the boy whose love makes her place among the Whispers bearable. But a disastrous rescue attempt means Renata must return to the palace under cover and complete Dez’s top secret mission. Can Renata convince her former captors that she remains loyal, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.

But returning to the palace stirs childhood memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the entire fate of the kingdom–and end the war that has cost her everything.


How have more people not been discussing this book?? I willfully agree it had some flaws in the middle, but overall that beginning and ending kept me like a fish dangling on a hook.

I haven’t been flat out shook by a surprise twist in the first half of a book in awhile. This one took the cake. While I hated it, I also loved it because this was a strong start for a duology. The magic system is pretty cool (though I do think it needs more explanation/rules). The world building is mostly there and there’s a cruel prince…that might not be that cruel?! SIGN ME UPPPPPPP.

The middle did drag a bit because Ren’s magic involves her being able to look/take people’s memories. A lot of the story were just flashbacks from different characters who Ren enacted her magic abilities on. I could have done without so many of them as they felt like filler and didn’t necessarily push the plot forward.

Just like the beginning, the ending was WOW too. I couldn’t stop listening (audio is amazing if you love that format like me!!). Maybe didn’t loooove one small aspect, but for the most part, I was speechless. It was fantastic and I can’t wait to read the second book. Really a hidden gem for YA fantasy.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses to closed door
  • Violence: physical altercation, magical attacks
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones, massive fires, some gore, suicide, graphic injuries, torture, poisoning, kidnapping

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Incendiary (Hollow Crown #1) by Zoraida Córdova”

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