Monday, November 8, 2010

Review: Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Firelight
Author: Sophie Jordan
Publisher: HarperTeen
Series: Firelight #1
Pages: 323
Genre: Paranormal
Release Date: September 7, 2010
How Received:  Library

Summary:
A hidden truth.
Mortal enemies.
Doomed love.

Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki—a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.

Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will’s dark secret: he and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away—if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She’ll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.

My Thoughts:
The opening for Firelight is so intense, throwing us right into the heat of the action as Jacinda and her friend Azure find themselves being hunted by draki-hunters. But from there, it goes downhill. I’m talking about pacing, of course. There aren’t really any other action scenes than that. Once Jacinda is forced to move to the desert, Jacinda’s point of view becomes detached and slower. She goes forward in life as if she’s a zombie – there, but not really – and it translates well to her point of view.

This book was pretty well-rounded and nothing short of awesome. The draki’s were so fascinating to read about – I’ve always been interested in dragon lore, so this book seemed like it was made for me. There are different talents a draki can have – Jacinda happens to be a fire-breather, the first/last one in over 300 years. Personally, I would have killed to be a visiocrypter (make myself invisible) or a shade (can shield/cloud ones memories) draki. I wish that we had more time to read about Jacinda’s pride (which means “clan”, loosely) and their customs/way of life.

Then Jacinda is thrust out of her pride’s environment against her own will and is forced to struggle with her draki dying and the unjust way her mother and sister are now treating her. On top of being alienated and having her feelings brushed aside, she falls in love with the enemy, a draki hunter. She knows it’s dangerous, even though he spared her life once before, but she can’t help his inextricable pull he has on her. The romance between her and Will was sweet and drawn-out. It was one of those “love-at-first-glance” type things, but Jacinda kept denying her feelings so they got to know each other (well, as best as they could without revealing their innermost secrets) first. Will was such great character. He tags along with his family’s hunting business, but he despises it and thinks it’s wrong. He’ll choose to suffer himself if it spares someone he cares about, and self-alienates himself from everyone aside from his cousins.

Since I’m talking about characters, here’s one I don’t like: Tamra. Ugh, Tamra. She’s Jacinda’s twin sister and annoyed the crap out of me. Sure, she had lived in the shadows all her life, as if she never even existed after she didn’t manifest, and was pretty much alone during that time. But that gives her no right to be such a horrible bitch to her sister when the roles are reversed and she actually gets to be “normal” while Jacinda struggles with her draki dying. Since she’s been there before, I’d expect her to be more sympathetic to Jacinda because she knows how it feels to be the odd one out. Nope! She basically only ever says, “Don’t ruin this for me,” and never gives Jacinda a second glance. She was so self-absorbed and in no way sympathetic to Jacinda, so she earned none of my sympathy.

One thing I disliked about this book was Jacinda’s internal monologues. I wouldn’t have minded so much if she didn’t go over the same issues she had “resolved” again and again and again. It was way too repetitive. She’d reiterate how she keeps forgetting she isn’t supposed to fall in love with Will and swears/vows she’ll never let it happen again. Then a few pages pass and she’s drooling over him again. A few more pages, and she basically says the exact same thing as last time – it’ll never happen again, it has to stop, this is dangerous – but re-worded. Okay, Jacinda, I got it the first five times. Will’s dangerous, you keep forgetting how he hunts you. You don’t have to say it over 10 times. Before you ask, yes, I counted.  

Lastly, I hate to mention this but I couldn’t help but notice the Twilight connection. There were way too many quotes I found that were almost exact replicas of what Edward says to Bella. A hunter falling in love with his prey, being around Will was like a drug, she needs him for sustenance. The list goes on. Way too coincidental.

Cover MusingsI looove this cover. Head-shot galore. I dunno about you guys, but her eyes + scales + fiery red hair combo had me loving it instantly.

Memorable Quotes:
The draki in me stirs, tingling, yearning to come out.
“God, get a grip, jeez!” Tamra hisses, leaning closer. “You see a hot guy and start to manifest? Have some control.”
But I can’t. That’s what Tamra never understood. When emotions run high, the draki surfaces. In times of fear, excitement, arousal... the draki comes out. It’s the way we are. (pg. 49)
Being around him feeds my draki, and it’s all about that right now. About me doing whatever I can to keep that part of myself alive. But he’s everything I should avoid.
For a draki, he’s death. Ironic, huh? To keep that part of me alive, I have to be close to that which kills it. (pg. 92-3)
I try to wake up as I move down the hall. Switch off the autopilot. I’ve become like the desert that surrounds me on every side. Dry and barren. Accustomed to living in a state of nothing. (105)
“Tamra,” Mom says, sighing deeply. Her nostrils flare in and out. “None of this has been easy for Jacinda. She’s held up better than we could have hoped.”
I started a little, wondering if she means that. I haven’t felt like I’m “holding up”. I feel like I’m barely hanging on. (pg. 242)
“Why do I get the feeling that I’m abducting you? Should I be on alert for sirens in the rearview mirror?”
“I left willingly.” I force a grin and tease, “I don’t think you’ll get arrested.”
“Great. You don’t ‘think’. That’s encouraging.” (pg. 290)

Overall Thoughts/Final Comments: This was a pretty good book, unique with its dragon/draki mythology and irresistible with its forbidden/dangerous romance. The romance, the pacing, the writing and descriptions were all very good. Some of the characters were downright annoying while others were tolerable, which increased my frustration while reading. But don’t let that hinder you: Firelight is a fiery tale about Jacinda’s struggles to keep hold of who she really is.
Rating: 4/5
**This review was submitted in the 2010 Debut Author Challenge!

5 comments:

....Petty Witter said...

Hmm not too sure about this one though I have been told by several of my friends daughters that I simply HAVE To read it even if I don't read any other book this year. Interesting to hear your opinion as opposed to that of 14/15 year olds, perhaps I will give it a go.

Jenny said...

I really enjoyed this one as well, I just found it to be refreshing in terms of focusing on a paranormal creature I haven't read much about. Like you, I was not a fan of Tamra. I can understand why she's glad to leave, but I thought both she and their mom were horribly unfair to Jacinda. And that cover is one of my favorites:) Can't wait for book 2! Fabulous review Kristina!

Anna said...

The cover is GORGE...I'm definitely going to read this. Uh-oh though on the connection to Twilight quotes. I'll let you know if I pick up on it too when I'm reading!

Melissa said...

Fabulous review, Kristina! I've heard so many good things about this, but I haven't got my paws on it yet, unfortunately. I'm glad to hear that the pacing, relationships, and mythology made up for some character grievances! :)

Kristina Barnes♥ said...

@Tracy: You might have to be cautious about this one - I don't want to hype you up like how it was with Fallen! The dragon lore was its redeeming qualities, as was the forbidden romance theme. )

@Jenny: I'm SO glad you agree with me! I understand where Tamra is coming from, as well, but that didn't mean Tamra had an instant right to ignore what Jacinda was feeling. It was way too unfair - after all, SHE was in Jacinda's position only weeks before. She should have been more considerate.

@Anna: Please do! I love the cover, too! I've only heard of one other person claim the Twilight reference, so I'm rooting for you to find some connection (no pressure or anything! xP) so I won't be alone!

@Melissa: Thank you! Let me know what you think of it when you manage to get your hands on it! :)

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