Review: Spark of Madness by Brynn Ford

by Justine Bergman

Spark of Madness by Brynn Ford
SERIES: Ember Glen (#1)
PUBLISHED: July 21, 2022
PAGES: 281
GENRE: Dark Romance, Dystopian



The Blurb

Neglecting my duty to serve is a sin, and during the last full moon, I became a sinner.

He saw me run from my duty, chased me, and caught me.
He promised me that I would be punished.

But I never could have imagined the hellish fate that would be chosen for me. More than that, I never could have imagined the maddening lust that would spark between me and the man who caught me.

This passion is forbidden…and it might set us on fire.

It’s my role to catch the sinners, and Mercy sinned gravely.

I saw her and I chased her, drawn to her inexplicably.
She sparked something within me, but she had to be brought to judgment.

Her punishment is coming in the form of an archaic ritual we’re bringing back to make an example of her. I’ll be her warden, her keeper, the man to ensure she stays alive between her torturous trials.

Something within her brings out the worst of me…and the worst of me wants to ruin her.

The Review

Burn, sweet sinner, and I’ll bathe in flames with you.

Spark of Madness is my first foray into Brynn Ford’s work, and what an introduction it has been! A dystopian tale of indoctrination and rebellion, darrrk (the extra r’s are definitely earned) forbidden romance and utter depravity, book one of the Ember Glen series is one that truly makes its readers uncomfortable…which is probably why I enjoyed it so much.

What makes one a sinner? Is it swimming against the tide of a religiously fanatical, misogynistic community, fleeing the scorching flames of duty? Is it blindly following the darkened, archaic paths paved by those that came before? Is it letting go and giving into your deepest desires?

Mercy and Arlo come from opposite ends of the communal spectrum, servant and authority. While both are meant to serve their peers, one lives a life of luxury while the other is meant to passionately welcome one of sacrifice. After an act of disobedience, their worlds collide and the line between good and evil becomes blurred beyond recognition. 

I really enjoyed witnessing the dynamics between these two finely crafted and damaged characters. Each finds unexpected solace and pleasure with the other, all while hiding from the public eye. Delicious dialogue, all the angst, and a gradual descent into questioning personal beliefs, I couldn’t get enough of these two.

The setting is wholly discomfiting, set in a future with such backward, antiquated ideals, setting the stage for the overall tone of the novel. The writing is flowing and engaging, making those pages turn at an alarming rate. The steam *chef’s kiss*. And that cliffhanger…beautiful torture. I’m very much looking forward to the next installment of the series.

My Rating: 4

Note: A huge thank you to the author for providing me with a complementary advance review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

CW: This is not a read for the faint of heart, and has some pretty intense triggers. I highly suggest taking a look at the comprehensive list of warnings before diving in.

The Author

Brynn Ford writes dark romance for daring readers. She is a lover of the dark, twisted, and playful, and strives to bring these elements into her stories.

When she isn’t obsessively writing, you may find her binge-watching favorite shows while eating far too much junk food or fanatically reading, always seeking to lose herself in the emotional roller coaster of a damn good story.

She’s a firm believer that her characters continue to live outside the pages in the minds of her readers. Stories don’t end just because there aren’t any more pages to turn.


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1 comment

thepickybookworm July 28, 2022 - 12:05 pm

I’m not usually a fan of “steam” in my books, but the darrrrk premise intrigues me. May have to add this to my TBR just to see what the fuss is about. Thanks for a great review!

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