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Flame of Destiny - Colleen Helme Callista has spent two years at the academy learning to be one of the Elite Guard hoping to be a stepping stone to bring her closer to finding the one responsible for violently killing her loved family, whom she has vowed revenge on. She survived taking her family sword with her. The sword linked with each ancestor who owned it, and now her as well. Things go array on her first assignment in her trial period with the Elite Guard and Callista faces off with a pack of Shadowbeasts. Suffering a deadly wound, in more ways than one, Captain Justin shows up saving Callista and helps by taking her to his ship to bandage her up. There is a stir to the inner magical flame of Callista's since the attack, a darkness appears, and in part of the saving there is a connection with Captain Justin realized. Callista wonders why the legendary Shadowbeasts have returned now when war is breaking in the North. Is there a connection? The research that's done to learn of the Shadowbeasts and protection from, Callista will learn a great deal of herself and family history.

This is another of a wonderful reading streak I'm on. I really really enjoyed this fantasy read. It had several of my favorite elements; action and magic along with a great story. This book captivated me from the beginning and had me flipping pages to see if Callista would be okay, if Justin or anyone will make it in time to help her or at least keep her from serious injuries, and what Callista would get herself into next as she is very good at putting herself in harms way, and now that I think of it so is Justin.

I like the steps we take getting into this world. Nothing is boring or slow but very well laid out to ease you into a new world in this first book of a series. Pulls you in quickly and builds from page one.

The magic! I didn't think there would be much magic here. But I was pleasantly surprised the further I went into the book. We start with just a flame present in Callista, and it expands to much more meaning. From warriors, to healers, to wizards. Very nicely done and expanded on. I love the inner flame with Callista and what we learn happening through that magical touch inside. This flame is the essence of life which all have but only few can tap into and use.

I really liked that the characters are smart. They can add 1+1 to equal 2. They don't fight the obvious and do see what's there in front of them. They don't come up with lame excuses to overlook what is obvious. I like this as it gets us to more story and moves along faster to other more important items. Although the characters are stubborn, which can be expected in a book I enjoy.

I like Callista. She has a burning anger she pulls from. Yet as she is quick to temper and anger, she learns to hold herself at times. Then we have Justin. Oh, he is more than what meets the eye and you learn this early on in the book. But, the character he is... he just adds to Callista's fire. They connect early on, thanks to the inner flame, and grow in friendship through the book. We have a Healer, Madare, which is kind of a magician type as the book goes. He is smart and quick. We have the sword master, Torin which helps explain some of the flame on his side and teaches Callista something new, very cool new. And we have our thief. Wonderful fantasy mix.

This was definitely a fantasy read I was needing. And a definite recommendation to pick it up. The second book is already out, so I WILL be looking for it very,VERY soon. The story is complete. No major cliffhangers at the end. There are only a few items to carry on with in the next books. And I want to follow Callista, Justin, and the others along in this series.