What do you think will happen after Flamecaster? Here are our Shattered Realms theories. WARNING: There are spoilers everywhere in this post!
Let’s talk Flamecaster theories and Shattered Realms theories! There are many questions Cinda Chima left open-ended to be answered later in this 4-book series. It’s so much fun to theorize about the hints and details sprinkled throughout book 1. I want to try to figure out what they might mean and how they might be important in future books! Below are the questions and/or theories I’ve come up with so far. IMPORTANT QUESTIONS ARE BOLDED AND IN ALL CAPS, my thoughts are in normal font, book passages are in italics, and I’ve bolded anything in the passages I’m using to try to prove my point.
Flamecaster Theories and Thoughts
(1) WHO KILLED HAN? I assume it was men sent by Montaigne, but is there any chance it was someone else? And why did one of the attacker’s scent and voice seem familiar to Ash?
“I’m not an idiot,” Alley Man snarled. “Take the boy. Our agreement was that I wouldn’t be personally involved in this.” The voice seemed familiar, and there was a scent about him—a familiar scent—that Adrian couldn’t place
(2) WHO SENT THE PRIESTS TO COME AFTER ASH IN ODEN’S FORD? I assume (once again) it was Montaigne since he’s the bad guy in book 1, but the priest clearly says it’s a mage who sent him. The mage could have been working for Montaigne, but could it be Micah Bayar or another mage?
“We smelled your blood. We tasted it when we were given the kill.” “Somebody gave you the kill? Who told you to kill me?” “A mage,” Usepia said, eyes slitted against the wizard light, as if it hurt his eyes. “A mage? What mage?” Ash leaned closer. “What was his name?”…The Darian shook his head. “The mage spoke to our master, and our master spoke to us. It seems that this mage is a man of faith.” “What faith?” Annoyance flickered over Usepia’s face. “The true faith. The Church of Malthus. Don’t pretend that you . . .”…“Are you sure Arden’s in on this?” Ash asked, leaning his head back against the fireplace. “Odd that it was a wizard who ordered the kill. Our family has enemies at home. It could have been one of them.” “Maybe,” Lila said, clearly humoring him, “but I don’t think so. I think Renard Tourant found out who you were somehow, and sent word to Arden, along with your handkerchief. Somebody set up the kill with the Darian brothers. Tourant threw a party to empty out the dorms, but he knew you wouldn’t come, so you’d be here alone.” She gave him a hard eye. “That’s what you get for being boring.”
(3) HOW ARE JENNA AND THE DRAGON TIED TOGETHER? What do her unique physical qualities mean? I think she is either some sort of dragon warrior with physical ties to the beasts or some unique shapeshifter with the ability to become a dragon.
Her skin had an unusual reflective quality—it shimmered in the light from the torches as if there were flames under her skin.
“I have good hearing and a sensitive nose. I can see farther than anyone I know, even in the dark.” She hesitated. “I heal up quick, whether it’s a cut or whatever. And—and I don’t burn.”
“I’m good, but I’m not that good.” Adam shook his head, biting his lower lip. “The area over the wound is hard, like—like armor. Or scales. I’ve not seen anything like it.” “That always happens when I get hurt,” Jenna said. “It . . . crusts over like that at first, then goes back to normal.” She shrugged.
Flamecaster! Jenna flinched and looked around. The room was as empty as before. I starve in the dark. “Where are you?” she whispered to the empty room. Nothing. Don’t be a loon, Jenna thought, refocusing on the page. She’d been seeing visions all her life. Voices—that was new. Flamecaster. Help me. “Shut up,” she hissed. Maybe that was a long-term effect of the poison. It made you lose your mind.
“I don’t know,” Jenna whispered, fingering the magemark on the back of her neck. “It just seems like there’s something about dragons, something I should remember. Something that’s burned into my bones.”
She guessed her skin must be charred as well, because it felt oddly numb. She looked down, and saw that her arms were encased in glittering scales, her hands replaced by claws. It reminded her of the way her wound had looked when it began to heal. The scales were gold and silver and copper—all the colors of her hair.
Jenna pressed herself against him in an effort to warm herself. She could hear his [the dragon’s] heart beating, and hers began to beat in time.
(4) HOW ARE JENNA AND STRANGWARD TIED TOGETHER? I think he might be a long lost twin, brother, or relative of hers. Could he be the child the woman in the last quote was holding over the flames?
Gerard Montaigne, the demon who held her fate in his hands. Maybe. And Evan Strangward, who struck an odd chord of memory in her. Why did he seem so familiar?
Jenna breathed in through her nose. He had a wild scent about him, like sunlight and rain in the dust, and storms coming in from the sea. It was familiar, like a taut line that connected the two of them together. They couldn’t possibly have met before . . . could they?
“I keep wondering if we’ve met before.” He [Strangward] tilted his head, studying her. “Strange. I was thinking the same thing. Your eyes are memorable. Like cat’s eyes.” “So I’m told,” Jenna said.
“Are you telling me the truth, Jenna?” he asked quietly. In a last-chance kind of way. “You really don’t know why the empress is so desperate to find you? This is really important to both of us.”
At that moment, one of the images Strangward had given her finally came into focus. It was a silver-haired woman, standing next to a fiery crater. She held a struggling child in her hands, dangling him over the flames. And then, as Jenna watched, horrified, she let him go.
“But Jenna Bandelow is dead, too, and we don’t know any more than we did before. We don’t even know what her gift really was.” Evan brushed his fingers over the back of his neck, tracing the symbol embedded there. Different from Jenna’s, and yet somehow connected, rooted in the same magic, the same history.
(5) WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE DRAGON? I think it might possibly be a shapeshifter or part human. Could this dragon be he child the woman in the previous quote was holding over the flames? Or could it be Empress Celestine since we never meet her in the book?
Its eyes shown brilliantly, set on either side of a handsome face—eyes that seemed familiar, almost human.
“They can see long distances, and in the dark, so even the young ones would be suitable for that sort of thing,” Strangward said. “Can they understand orders?” the king asked. “Can they tell the difference between enemies and allies?” “Dragons are the most intelligent creatures I have ever encountered,” Strangward said. “They are much brighter than most people I meet.” He smiled a feral smile. “I have no doubt that they could make that distinction.”
Theories about Flamecaster Characters
(1) WHO IS TALIESIN? How does she sense that danger is coming to Oden’s Ford, and where does she go? She keeps secrets from Ash, like when she told his mother he was alive and well at Oden’s Ford years ago. It seems like she definitely has a motive in keeping the royal family safe and informed. I’m not sure if she’s a relative or just someone who is loyal to the Gray Wolf line.
Finally, she said, “I may be gone when you return.” “Really?” Ash frowned at her, thinking she must be bluffing, trying to persuade him to stay at school. “Where are you going?” “It’s better if you don’t know,” Taliesin said, getting her own poke in. “A better question is why.”
“All right, why are you going away?” Ash said, gritting his teeth, knowing that Taliesin was right—she always had something to teach him, even when she was giving him a hard time. Especially when she was giving him a hard time. Taliesin sat back on her heels, resting her forearms on her knees. “Something has changed. There’s danger here, like a noose tightening around us.” “Not here at the academy,” Ash said. “Yes, here. I don’t know that the gifted will be safe here for too much longer.”
“There is never a shortage of killers. Any brute with a club in his hand will do. But a good healer is hard to find.” Taliesin rose gracefully to her feet, settling the bag of vegetables on her ample hip. “You need to find a way to let go of your anger. Leave Oden’s Ford while you still can. Go home and be the healer that you were meant to be.”
“Then you ran off to Oden’s Ford. Well, at first they thought you were dead or captured, but your friend Taliesin ratted you out.” “Taliesin told them?” Just one more club to the head. “You think you know a person, right? She wanted your mother to know you were still alive, but she talked her into letting you stay at Oden’s Ford.”
(2) HOW IS JENNA’S FAMILY IMPORTANT?…her grandmother, mother, and father? I think she hails from the Northern Islands and could possibly be a relative of the empress or Strangward. Or she might be part of a family that either should be ruling the region or was trying to overthrow the current rulers.
“You’re never going to get past that old witch and her stories, are you, Father? We’ve been living scared all our lives because of her. Why did you even listen to her?” Her father made a sign to avert evil. “She was your grandmother, Jenna.” “So she said.” “I believed her,” her father said. “I am convinced that she was truly trying to protect you. She cared about you, if I’m any judge, and she seemed . . . she seemed to be scared to death. She said your father was dead, that he had enemies who would come looking for you, and they would know you by the mark on the back of your neck. That’s why she gave you up. That’s why she warned us.” “For all we know, she stole me from my birth parents and didn’t want them to find me. You are my father, and my mother is buried here in the graveyard. That’s who I honor on the Day of the Dead!”…“Your grandmother left it for you. The pendant was your birth father’s. I don’t know about the dagger and the rest. Maybe it was your birth mother’s.”
He [Karn] held up the dagger. “Where did you get this?” “My grandmother gave it to my parents. She said it belonged to my mother.” “What’s your mother’s name? Where is she now?” “I don’t know her name, and she’s dead. Both my parents are dead.” “Really,” Karn said skeptically. “Let me fill you in. This weapon of yours is from the Northern Islands. It is carried by Empress Celestine’s bloodsworn warriors.”
(3) WHO IS KARN REALLY ALLIED WITH, AND WHAT ARE HIS GOALS? He lived in the Northern Islands with his mother when he was a young boy, and I can’t help but think he made alliances there. And we know he works for Arden but also has secret ties to Strangward. Also, something happened in the past that he is ashamed of. This might have ties to why he’s concealing his true motives.
“Yet, I understand that they have very powerful magic there,” Gerard said. “They say that’s where the mages came from originally.” “That’s true in a way, Your Majesty,” Destin said. “Mages originated in the Northern Islands, which as you know were once one of the original Seven Realms. After the Breaking, the islands joined with Carthis. They . . . ah . . . they are still loosely connected, I believe.”
He debated. The boy was frightened as it was, and he did respond to pain. He could bring him back in, and lock the door, and it wouldn’t take much persuasion to get the truth out of him, if there was more to know. I see a ship. And a beach . . . A cold rivulet of fear trickled down Destin’s spine. He had his own secrets, after all, and there was no telling what the truthteller would reveal, if pressed. There were some truths Destin didn’t want told. He didn’t want to have to kill the boy.
“Do you think this is some kind of joke? I don’t think you understand just how precarious your situation is,” he [Karn] hissed. “The empress is hunting you, and we need to know why before she finds you.” As it sometimes did, the truth tapped Jenna on the shoulder. “Who’s ‘we’?” she said. “The king doesn’t even know you’re down here, does he?” Karn stared at her for a long moment, his face gone stony as the Fellsian escarpment.
The emissary touched his amulet, the sails filled, and off they went, even though they were traveling in the opposite direction than they had before. Destin was still jumpy as a cat. Finally, he found a spot on a bench and sat there, knee bouncing, gripping his jinxpiece. What’s with you? Lila thought.
Strangward turned and spoke hurriedly to someone out in the corridor. Looking through the doorway past him, Jenna saw that it was Destin Karn. Karn nodded at whatever the mage had said and pulled the door shut.
Ash tried to meet with Karn several times, but Karn seemed to be avoiding him. He knows something, Ash thought, but it was too risky to push, considering his own role in the scheme of things.
“Destin didn’t insist on coming with you?” Evan asked, reclaiming his seat. Teza shook his head. “He said he could be of more use to you in Ardenscourt.” “Not if he’s dead.” “He says he has no plans to be dead, my lord.”
I don’t want him to be of use to me, Evan thought. I want him to forget about me. I want him to kill that monster of a father, leave Arden, and find a house by the sea. I want him to be happy.
(4) WHO IS EVAN STRANGWARD? What are his magical powers? How is he tied to Jenna? Why does he seem familiar to Ash? I honestly don’t have a good guess on any of these questions. There are so many clues it’s hard to put the pieces together just yet. All I know is that he’s powerful and important. I think he’s likely to become a main character in subsequent books. I certainly hope so!
“That’s the emissary?” Lila murmured, as if unimpressed. “Don’t underestimate him,” Ash said, eyes narrowed. “They’re all wizards of some sort, but I’m guessing that he’s by far the most powerful of the lot.” Though clearly the Carthians were gifted, their auras seemed different from what Ash was used to. Western wizards glowed a cool bluish-white. Strangward’s aura came closest to that. He lit up the entire room with a brilliant white glow. Each time he gripped his amulet, which was often, it was as if the lights dimmed. The other delegates glowed a faint red, like dying coals. Are they different kinds? Ash wondered. Or is it just that Strangward is more powerful than the others?…But perhaps Strangward was dangerous, too. There was something that lay beneath his calm and undecorated exterior, some elemental power that rippled the surface like a serpent swimming in a quiet pond. Strangward bled confidence, as if he knew that, despite his almost frail appearance, he was the deadliest predator in the room.
Ash had never been to the Northern Islands, and yet there was something familiar about the emissary’s voice and features. Perhaps he’d met some wizard who was a throwback to an earlier time.
He paused. “What did you think of Strangward?” “He’s such a mingle and a mix, he’s hard to read. My gut tells me he’s dangerous, he’s scared, and he’s telling a big, big lie.” “I don’t believe him, either,” Ash said, “but he brought a big sackful of diamonds to prove he was in earnest.”
“I wonder if we’ll ever find out why the empress was so eager to get hold of Jenna.” “Sometimes I wonder if the empress wasn’t just made up, a story Strangward told in order to get what he wanted.”
He’d been too long in these wetlands. He would be glad to go back to the sunbaked land he called home. For multiple reasons.
“No one but me,” Evan said. “I always put the ones I love at risk.” He paused. “It’s getting late. Let’s finish up so you can walk me down to this ship you’ve found. We’ll need to be ready to catch the tide.”
“You didn’t kill the girl.” “She’d still be alive if I hadn’t intervened.” “Maybe not for long. In any event, we couldn’t risk leaving her there for the empress to find. We couldn’t chance an even more powerful Celestine.”
“What do you think Cele will do when she finds out the girl is dead?” “What she always does. She’ll go back to hunting me. Maybe I should just get it over with and arrange a meeting.”
(5) WHO IS LILA’S FRIEND ROGAN? He is only mentioned twice in the book. But Lila has been working with him for three years, and he’s been aiding her cause against Arden. So I think he may come into play in future books.
“It would be,” Lila said, “if the flashcraft worked as intended.” Ash swiveled to face her. “Why? What’s wrong with it?” “Let’s just say that it was custom work.” “But . . . I thought you said it was old flash.” “My friend Rogan is a rum clan flashcrafter. He is very good at reproductions.” “All along, then, you’ve been working for the Fells.” Lila nodded.
“At least maybe he won’t be hell-bent on murdering my family,” Ash growled. “So. Why did you suddenly decide it was time to have a heart-to-heart with me?” “Because an alliance between the Northern Islands and Arden will dilute the effect of the project Rogan and I have been working on for three years. And because the loss of your father as High Wizard makes us more vulnerable to magical attack than before. Lord Bayar has stepped in, but—”
Miscellaneous Shattered Realms Theories and Observations
(1) IS THIS SOME HORRIBLY SAD FORESHADOWING? I hope that even if Ash has some hard times because of his love for Jenna that they eventually get a happy ending!
Across the table, in the client chair, sat Adam Wolf, his hair an honest red. Jenna shuffled and reshuffled the cards, once losing hold of them so that they scattered across the battered wood like rose petals. She and the healer both reached for the cards, and their hands collided. They yanked their hands back like they’d been burned. Jenna scooped up the cards, stacked them, and slapped them down on the table in rows. One by one, she turned them over, arranging them like puzzle pieces. “You will meet a girl,” she said, “who will bring heartbreak and trouble into your life. A thousand times, you will curse the day you met her.” “No.” The healer raked the cards from the table and onto the floor. “I won’t accept that.” He reached across the table and took her hands. “We have a future. I know we do. Now tell me a different truth.”
(2) IS IT TOO MUCH OF A COINCIDENCE THAT BOTH AMON AND RAISA HAVE BEEN WIDOWED? I think they might end up together by the end of this new series!
As far as he knew, his mother had not remarried, though he guessed there would be pressure to do so. An unmarried queen was an opportunity for alliances, something the Fells desperately needed.
He scrambled for something to say. “I know Byrne’s a widower, but I don’t recall any children except for Simon.”
(3) WILL WE SEE MORE OF MICAH BAYAR IN BOOK 2? I think since he’s now the High Wizard, the answer is absolutely yes! I’m excited to see what he’s been up to.
And because the loss of your father as High Wizard makes us more vulnerable to magical attack than before. Lord Bayar has stepped in, but—” “Bayar is High Wizard? Really?” Micah Bayar and his father had been rivals, if not outright enemies, for years. Whether intended or not, the grudge had been passed along to Ash.
I know these theories will continue to unfold as we read the subsequent books in the Shattered Realms series. I’m really excited to see how it will overlap with Chima’s previous Seven Realms series, which I LOVED. Characters we know very well (Raisa, Amon, and Micah) are all referenced in Flamecaster, but we haven’t seen them in this new series yet. I’m excited for all three of them to make an appearance, hopefully in book 2, Shadowcaster. It is set to come out on April 4, 2017!
Now let’s talk…Please comment below with your Shattered Realms theories and opinions on anything I have mentioned! I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!!!
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