Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova

The basics

Title: Incendiary


Series: Hollow Crown #1

- Incendiary (2020)
- Illusionary (2021)

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Goodreads Summary:

Renata Convida was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King's Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a Robari, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata's ability to steal memories from royal enemies enabled the King's Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.

Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown and helping the remaining Moria escape the kingdom bent on their destruction. The Whispers may have rescued Renata from the palace years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred--or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she turned "hollow" during her time in the palace.

When Dez, the commander of her unit, is taken captive by the notorious Sangrado Prince, Renata will do anything to save the boy whose love makes her place among the Whispers bearable. But a disastrous rescue attempt means Renata must return to the palace under cover and complete Dez's top secret mission. Can Renata convince her former captors that she remains loyal, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.

But returning to the palace stirs childhood memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the entire fate of the kingdom--and end the war that has cost her everything.

Read a full summary of Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova below. If you can’t remember what happened in Incendiary and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place. Recaptains post full plot summaries of books in a series so you don’t have to worry about forgetting previous events!

What happened in Incendiary?

  • The book opens up with a prologue, in which Celeste, one of the Whispers, finds Rodrigue dead. She buries him and returns to her host family in Esmeraldas. Unfortunately, she finds her host family gone and Prince Castian there instead. We don’t like Prince Castian.
  • Castian threatens Celeste by showing her Lucia, who has become a Hollow. Celeste poisons herself before she gives Castian any information, and Castian’s men burn down the house.
  • Ren and Dez show up in Esmeraldas. Ren goes to the house and finds Celeste’s body, as well as her alman stone. She also comes across a little boy, who she tries to save. A guard shows up and Dex has to fight him off.
  • Margo argues with Ren when she returns to camp. Ren then has to read Celeste’s alman stone to figure out what’s been going on. Afterwards, Ren and Dez sleep (together) outside the camp.
  • There are shouts a few hours later and Ren and Dez realise Castian has found them. Dez is captured, but Ren helps the others escape.
  • Ren and the others decide they need to free Dez. They find him, but he’s executed before they have a chance to help. Ren is then captured.
  • Ren demands to be taken to Justice Mendez, the man who raised her when she was taken from the woods. Now is probably a good time to address that, by the way.
  • Ren was found in the woods near the city by the palace guards. She was taken to the palace, and raised by Mendez. He had her use her memory powers to take memories from prisoners in exchange for sweets. She remembers telling the guards where her parents were, and the fire that was set in the forest, and then Dez saving her outside the palace walls.
  • Mendez welcomes Ren back and takes her to the king. Ren claims she can’t use her powers yet because her hands are damaged. Mendez sets Ren the task of finding the spy within the palace. Ren agrees to this, because she really wants to get close to Castian to kill him.
  • Ren meets Leo, the assistant to Lady Nuria. Nuria used to be engaged to Castian but is now married to Alessandro. Leo is lovely.
  • Ren spends a lot of time going round and plucking memories. She finds a memory of Nuria and Castian and is surprised that the two of them broke up for whatever reason.
  • Nuria speaks with Ren and asks her to take away a memory for her. Nuria is super nice, it seems. Ren takes away the memory of her and Castian’s break up.
  • The memories of a guard called Hector show that Castian drowned his brother.
  • Ren speaks to Davida, who basically raised Castian herself after Castian’s brother died and his mother went into mourning. Her memories show Castian being abused by his father. Ren determines that Davida isn’t the spy.
  • Alessandro is convinced that Ren is faking her injury. He threatens her and she threatens him right back.
  • During a garden party, Ren takes a memory from a statue about the Queen meeting with Illan. She’s about to do something awful in it.
  • Nuria warns Ren not to allow the Whispers to assassinate the king… in a not so vague way. So, when the king is about to be killed by Margo, Ren saves him. Much to her own disgust.
  • Margo is imprisoned and Ren vows to save her.
  • At the Sun Ball, Castian and Ren dance. And I start to ship it?? It doesn’t take much, let’s be honest. Mendez calls Castian away and the two are seen having a massive debate.
  • Ren heads to the library and finds a hidden room. There’s a portrait with the initials C & A on it. Castian shows up. He implies he’s trying to help her. Ren freaks out and Castian has her arrested.
  • Ren is put in the same cell as Margo and the two argue but eventually make up.
  • Mendez is furious with Ren. Ren turns him into a Hollow because he’s a dick.
  • Ren helps the others escape the palace. With Leo’s help (he’s teamed up with Nuria to help people from within and all that), they all get out and head back to Illan.
  • The group learns that the king’s men know about the hideout. There’s a massive fight, the elders still hate Ren, and Illan dies. Before he passes, Illan gives Ren the memory of him taking the younger prince away, and Castian being framed for drowning him. This is so that the king will think Castian is super loyal to him.
  • Ren learns that the king’s weapon is a Robari like her. Except this one can take people’s magics.
  • Ren gets confused when she sees a memory of Dez, but he’s missing an ear. What?
  • Ren gets trapped with Cebrián, the weapon. He tries to kill her but she escapes. Not before he unlocks the Gray for her, though. She starts to remember that Castian was actually her childhood friend in the palace, and he helped her get out the night of the forest fire. Oh, and he can do magic too.
  • Ren betrays the Whispers and goes to find Castian. Because Dez is his brother, and is also alive because Castian only chopped off his ear instead of his head, they go off to find him.

This is a full plot summary of what happened in Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova. Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!


  • Sophie.reads_ says:

    The “she turns him into a hollow because he’s a dick” killed me ahahah
    Thanks for this summary
    I’m trying to read the second book but I don’t remember a thing so this really helped

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