Beginning a novel about revolution in the middle of a losing battle is a choice that risks leaving a reader dispirited, but Incendiary, the first volume of the Hollow Crown Series by Zoraida Córdova, is anything but dejected. The novel takes place largely from the point of view of Renata Convida, a Robári—a memory thief—who was captured by the King of Puerto Leones as a child and made to betray her people, the Moria. The Moria are an ancient culture who are all born with one of the four strands of magic, including hers. As an adult, Renata has turned spy for the “Whispers,” a revolutionary group of Moria warriors who are trying to fight the increasing reach of the Fajardo kingdom. Though the Whispers rebellion has a strong band of fighters, their numbers are dwindling and hope is running out.
The energy and intrigue of the novel comes from Renata and her comrades who are characters willing to fight to the bitter end for their cause, even giving their lives if it means ending the genocide of their people.