Thursday, November 4, 2010

Review: Firelight

FIRELIGHT (Firelight #1)
Sophie Jordan
Paranormal Young Adult
323 pages
Harper Teen
Available Now

THE STORY
Jacinda has always been a little different. As though being a draki, a descendant of dragons who can shift into human form, weren't unusual enough, she's even distinct among her own kind. She possesses the rare and much-coveted ability to breath fire, a talent that has made her invaluable among her pride and left her little freedom to make her own choices.

Her life is planned down to the last detail, she's to marry the alpha's son Cassian and further populate their pride with little fire breathers. Desperate to escape the smothering confines of her predetermined fate, Jacinda disobeys a strict draki order and takes to the air during the day without the safety of darkness to hide her from their mortal enemies, the Hunters. She quickly finds herself trapped, facing certain death at the hands of a young Hunter her age, only to receive a reprieve as he turns a blind eye to her hidden location.

As a result of her own carelessness, Jacinda, her twin sister, and her mom are forced to flee the pride and relocate in the human world. Staying human too long will kill Jacinda's draki, something she can't bear to accept. But in midst of the misery of a human high school, her draki flares to life in the presence of the young Hunter who saved her, and she marvels at her simultaneous luck and misfortune as he seems similarly drawn to her–a moth to her flame. Together they enter a relationship that could not only destroy them both, but the entire draki species as well.

MY THOUGHTS
This story is a warm breath of fresh air, alighting us with the emotional heat of first love and branding itself as unique among a plethora of paranormal creatures populating young adult fiction. The formula of forbidden romance is nothing novel, but it's almost always tortuously appealing, and Ms. Jordan infuses her tale with a dragon lore that adds a richly dark and threatening element to the typical teenage declarations of undying affection. It's no longer simply a matter of falling in love with a damaged bad boy and risking a shattered heart, but rather the very real possibility of the ruination of a family and the potential annihilation of an entire species.

Jacinda suffers from some stereotypical teenage girl indecisiveness, her internal monologue often contradicting her outward actions when it comes to Will, but she also possesses a refreshing candor, acknowledging her own weaknesses instead of feigning ignorance and creating a barrier between herself and us with her continuous denial. The dismissal of her feelings and the blatant disregard for her draki nature by her mother and twin sister weighs heavily on Jacinda, and she is strong enough to admit that at times her resentment of her current circumstances is a bit selfish (though her mom and sister are equally, if not more, egocentric in their pursuits). She recognizes she should want her mom and sister to be happy in their normalcy, and reveals to us she doesn't know how to feel differently despite her wish to do so for their sakes. We empathize as she struggles as so many of us do to stay true to herself in the face of her family's bitter disappointment that she not try harder to change, an abject loneliness and inability to be wholly and completely herself suffocating her a little more each day; and her situation forces our hackles to rise and our bodies to tense as a protective instinct for Jacinda and a righteous indignation on her behalf draws us deeper into her predicament.

The relationship between Jacinda and Will is sweetly common on the surface, the popular boy feeling drawn to the mysterious flame-haired new girl, but there's a dark truth smoldering in the embers of this fledgling connection, waiting patiently for a catalyst to spark the quiet flame into a roaring blaze. Jacinda believes she understands Will's appeal, feeling a kinship with him because he inexplicably saved her life, but we get the fleeting sensation every now and then that Will's answering attraction is not as simple as it seems. A new facet destined to alter everything we think we know dances on the edges of our understanding, just waiting to reveal itself and swipe our feet from under us, leaving us in a heap on the floor fully bowled over by the weight of this new discovery.

Secondary character Xander is someone of particular interest, his quiet menace emanating so strongly despite his brief appearances the pages seem to pulsate with static energy at the mere mention of his name, electric tingles racing from our fingers up our arms to raise the fine hairs on our necks in recognition of a formidable foe. He is only ever coolly polite to Jacinda, making him all the more disturbing for his apparent calm, an infinitely patient hunter just waiting for his prey to slip and make itself known. It's imperative to stay on alert at all times, eyes constantly searching for the whereabouts of this detached and calculating predator whose clearly caught a scent and will unflinchingly follow it's trail to the violent, bitter end.

The end is a touch abrupt, with Jacinda's wings taking her airborne after several explosive revelations rattle the very foundations of the relationships forged thus far, leaving us staring at the inside back cover bearing the full brunt of our newfound knowledge. The second installment can't come soon enough, a bevy of delectable future possibilities creating a ravenous hunger for answers that have just flown right out of our reach.

Rating: 4/5

20 comments:

  1. Wow! I keep seeing such good reviews for this book -- and this one is stunning :). Firelight sounds like it does a good job of distinguishing itself from other paranormal romance novels. I love the dragon concept, and the way you described the romance as having truth makes it seem awesome.

    And yeah, forbidden romance is *always* a draw card for me :)

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  2. Amazing review! The book at least has a different paranormal creature and it sounds very promising!

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  3. Awesome review--very thorough. I am really excited to read this one. I'm glad you liked it. I agree with Vee--forbidden romance always makes a novel exciting. :)

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  4. I hear so many rave reviews about this book! I'm sad to hear the ending is abrupt because, truly, that kills me. Awesome review though - I hope to add this to my queue soon! :)

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  5. Fantabulous review as always Jenny. I have this on my tbr.

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  6. I'm still not sold on the dragon thing, but I might pick it up from the library! Glad you enjoyed it !

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  7. I've read so many positive reviews on this book, but never gave much thought to reading it since I don't enjoy books on dragons that much. Firelight might just be the first dragon book I'll like. I'll definitely have to read it now. Wonderful review!

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  8. Love this review! Can't wait to read this book!

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  9. Have this one on my tbr pile. Looking forward to reading it after reading your review.

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  10. Vee - Me too, give me forbidden love and I'm a giant puddle of girly goo:)

    Jessica - I really enjoyed it just because I haven't read a lot of dragon stories, but for those who don't think they'll like dragons, that element isn't overpowering, there's a wonderful universal story as well.

    Christina - Hope you like it, I'll be interested to see what you think!

    Melissa - It's a quick ending, but it certainly makes me want to pick up book 2.

    Tori - Thanks much, I think you'll like it:)

    Mollie - The dragon thing isn't a huge part, so I think you might like it.

    Julie - Thank you!

    Miss Cindy - Thank you, I enjoyed it quite a bit.

    Adriana - I hope you give it a try, the forbidden relationship element is bigger than the dragon element, so I think you might enjoy it.

    Aylee - Hope you like it!

    Rummanah - Looking forward to your review when you get to this one!

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  11. Ah, Forbidden Love - I am sold already. Another fabulous review from you as always. I lap up every single point you make in your reviews like an eager language student - and this one is no different. :)

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  12. You are such an amazing writer. You saw so much under the surface of this book. I'm usually not interested in anything about dragons...but you have really made a case for this book.

    The cover reminds me of Nightshade.

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  13. Tammy - I was too, it gets me every time:) Thanks for such a wonderful compliment, it's much appreciated!

    Midnyte - Thank you so much! The cover is similar to nightshade with the closeup of the face, I think both are gorgeous:)

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  14. Dang - nice review! I really want to read this one, and the cover is so beautiful! And I love dragon lore!

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  15. Hiya, back again because of Jen's FF suggestion, and I decided that I want to follow you for 5 days and make comments :-)

    Great review! I like the fact that you went in-depth and that you touched on many different factors that personally, as a person deciding whether or not to get this book, I would be well-informed enough to make a good decision :-) And this cover, at least, is a good one ;-)

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  16. I really enjoyed this one too! I've never read a book about a person who turns into a dragon before :)

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  17. I'm so glad you like this one! I still haven't read my copy that I won from you at Blogfest, I'm saving it for a really bad day. :)

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  18. Firelight had everything that I was really wanting from a book. It had likeable characters. It had the connection between the two loved ones. It had unrequited love. It had family love. It had an AWESOME plot that had me on the edge of my seat.

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