The Butterfly on Fire is the story of three different lives, each linked together by a tragic, unchanging truth.
Eric is growing up and realising how different he is to those around him. How much longer can he hide from himself?
Beam is trying to balance work and romance like everyone else living in London. When embarking on such a journey, anything could happen.
Fubuki is Queen of a magnificent world known as Macha Land, but finds herself struggling to maintain the peace after an innocent man mysteriously dies at one of her Songshows. Will her utopia last with death at her doorstep?
Overall Rating: 1/10 stars
Leigh’s Review: 1/5 Stars
Amanda’s Review: 0/5 Stars
I have so many critical issues with this book, but let’s start with the most important one. You can literally skip all of the chapters from the Queen Fubuki plot line. As far as fantasy goes, it’s generic, almost Mary-Sue style narrative that is boring, and there’s nothing fresh on this take of fantasy. I have no problem with good description for a character’s outfit if it bears some detail to the story, but the majority of the description is pointlessly showing the character’s “beautiful dress” in some variation. The characters are also just as flat. The Queen has four “defenders”, and I can’t tell you anything about them with the exception that they’re all dumb enough to climb aboard an unarmed ship that aiming to take a magical prisoner with no defenses aside from the magical prince and simple weapons. I was honestly rooting for the sea monster in this scene. Also, the magic system made exactly zero sense. One moment, it’s the staff giving her power, the next she says a simple rhyme, and then, she throws in some Japanese words out of nowhere. Pick a magic system and build your world around it.
As far as the main story of Beam/Fiona, the sequence of the plot is mechanical and plodding. Half of the scenes in the book are Fiona telling the reader what happened, and almost all of them are her being exceptionally good at something she shouldn’t be exceptionally good at. At every point where she gets a chance to be interesting, she simply tells the reader of some triumph. Take for example, she somehow manages to master an entire restaurant in a little over a year with no previous restaurant experience. I’m sorry, but no. That’s not how that works. As a ten year food service veteran, just no. You earn your credibility through literal years of time and honing your skills. Otherwise, she tells us about what happens to her instead of showing us through the actual scenes. It goes back to the very simple lesson about fiction writing of show don’t tell.
Finally, Fiona’s story could have been one of real triumph that centered on her growth as a character, but every time she stands to grow as a person, she either magically is perfect at whatever challenges her or she self-doubts her way out of it. She either runs away from her problems, or they magically disappear. It leaves the reader feeling unsatisfied as there’s no growth for Fiona.