ALA Booklist Starred Review:
Morris’ epic-fantasy debut melds Roman history and elemental magic into a spellbinding tale of political machinations… Fans of I, Claudius and Game of Thrones are in for a treat in this series starter. The combination of history, dark and light magic, family, political and religious rivalry, and military conflicts will draw readers from many genres.
Kate Elliott, author of Cold Magic and Black Wolves:
“Rome with magic” turns out to be exactly the novel I wanted to read. The magic cleverly intertwines with religion, politics, and daily life. The characters appeal, especially the loving portrait of three loyal sisters. There are battles (of course), a budding love story of the illicit kind, some remarkably topical political maneuvering, an awareness of diverse layers of class and ethnicity, and a love of place that shines on the page.
C. J. Cherryh, author of the Alliance-Union novels:
A unique and well-studied fantasy take on the Roman world — an alternate world of another name, where ambition is a driving force and magic is real.
Kristen Britain, New York Times bestselling author of the Green Rider novels:
Cass Morris brings ancient Rome to life with all its particular details, passions, and political intrigue, and populates it with captivating characters. Then she sprinkles it with magic. Yeah, that’s the stuff.
Barnes & Noble SFF Blog:
When Latona and Sempronius are pulled together by the whirring gears of power, they find they form a potent team, and together, they just might shape the fate of an empire. Morris’ ambitious debut is rich in detail and intricate in its plotting.” — B&N SFF Blog
From Unseen Fire is brilliantly imagined and plotted. Its world is rich, with no detail left unattended to. Cass Morris has generated Tolkien-level tomes of information about the world of Aven to make the world come alive. And come alive it does. The city and the world we explore teem with life, and not just of the alternate-Roman variety. The different cultures that intersect in Aven have different motivations, different gods and different ways of practicing magic. This level of within-world work gives From Unseen Fire a verisimilitude that can be missing from similar books.
And the level of work Morris put into this book isn’t just seen through world building. Every character (with perhaps the exception of Latona’s unfortunate husband) seems like they could be the lead of a story all their own, happening just offscreen. Readers don’t always know where they are going but always have the sense that, while characters may walk out of the frame, their movements are not unaccounted for. Morris knows where they are and what they are doing at all times, in the sort of instinctive way you know where your hand is even in the dark. …
Once things get going, they fly. The book rockets along at breakneck speed through the machinations of the Senate, and the public (and personal) struggles of Latona and Sempronius. Any wait at the beginning is well worth it as the pieces fall into place as the book progresses. Readers who are patient enough to let Cass Morris build the world around them will be rewarded handsomely with an amazing ride.
Amy Tenbrink, Conference Chair at Sirens:
In an ancient Rome-ish city, the elite battle for power with votes, with legions, with speeches in the Forum — and with magic. Intricate, complex, with rare political acumen, a hot slow-burn romance, and three awesome sisters.