Monday, October 6, 2014

Review: The Fire Artist

THE FIRE ARTIST
Daisy Whitney
Paranormal Young Adult
288 pages
Bloomsbury
Available October 14th
Source: BEA

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Aria is an elemental artist—she creates fire from her hands. But her power is not natural. She steals it from lightning. It’s dangerous and illegal in her world. When she’s recruited to perform, she seizes the chance to get away from her family. But her power is fading too fast to keep stealing from the sky. She has no choice but to turn to a Granter—a modern day genie. She gets one wish at an extremely high price. Aria’s willing to take a chance, but then she falls in love with the Granter . . . and he wants his freedom. Aria must decide what she’s willing to bargain and how much her own heart, body, and soul are worth.

In a world where the sport of elemental powers is the most popular form of entertainment, readers will be swept away by a romance with stakes higher than life and death.


MY THOUGHTS
The Fire Artist is ripe with the type of tension that accompanies waiting for the other shoe to drop, knowing things for our young protagonist are going to rapidly unravel while we can do nothing but sit idly by and let it happen. The weight of our stress only grows heavier as her story progresses, the rope holding the guillotine blade over Aria's fragile neck fraying with each and every chapter until we reach the moment it finally gives and she must face the fate that's been building from the beginning. While we find ourselves fully invested in Aria's future however, wishing and hoping right along with her for a life free of her abusive father, the romance leaves a bit to be desired as does the final showdown with the man responsible for the deterioration of her family.

Aria is an engaging protagonist, the brief glimpses we get of how she came to be a fire artist more than enough to have us taking up secure residence in her corner, ready to do battle against a father blinded to anything and everything but his own desire for wealth and status. Though we root for her throughout, she's a young woman who really proves her mettle in the latter half of the story, her silence with regard to her father's abuse and her mother's obliviousness in the first half making us want to scream at the top of our lungs on her behalf. Once her Faustian bargain is made though, Aria comes to vibrant life, owning up to her mistakes and fully accepting the consequences of her actions as she seeks to fix her family as much as possible before the devil comes to collect his due.

The romance with Taj, a granter of wishes, is one aspect of this story that keeps it from a higher rating, the development of feelings seeming to exist only between them on the pages while failing to transcend the ink and paper to draw our hearts into the mix as well. There's thankfully very little drama between them and certainly no second love interest in sight, but the evolution of like to love does happen fairly quickly for Aria, and we simply don't have time to catch up and get lost in the haze of joyous confusion that accompanies first love. That being said however, Taj is sweet and charming–and a lover of books–so while we might wish for a little more from their relationship, the two of them are still enjoyable as a couple.

The other small flaw with this tale is more personal in nature and likely something that will be a non-issue for many a reader, but there are times (for me) in a paranormal story when a supernatural solution to a problem seems like the easy way out, a quick fix to something deserving of a more realistic resolution. In this case, that problem is Aria's father, his comeuppance in the final chapters occurring in such a way as to be somewhat unsatisfying given all the pain and hurt he caused his wife and daughters. Overall though, The Fire Artist is a quick and entertaining read, not necessarily one that blazes a new trail in the young adult market but still a story that proves itself to be a fun way to spend a few hours nonetheless.

Rating: 3.5/5
 

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This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

32 comments:

  1. Now THOSE are some eyelashes! ;) This sounds interesting, especially the whole Granter aspect.

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    1. Right? Not sure I want the ability to wield fire with my eyes though ;-) She actually does it with her hands, but I think this makes for a cooler design.

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  2. Even if it didn't blow you away it sounds like an interesting book but I confess I didn't know about it before so thanks for bringing it to my attention. I'm curious to discover Raj and Aria.

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    1. I really liked Aria and Raj together! They were cute:)

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  3. I love the fact she draws elemental power from thunder! This sounds like a fun and enjoyable read although the romance didn't sweep you of your feet - darn! I would feel the same way as far as the easy way out, that just leaves you with a sort of anticlimatic letdown when it's too easy. Wonderful review,
    Jenny :)

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    1. Yes! I really loved that aspect too, it was really unusual and not something I'd read about before. And with regard to her father - I just wanted him to get what was coming to him in a different way. It was just so out there that I couldn't help but wish for a more realistic resolution.

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  4. Sounds like an interesting take on paranormal abilities even if the romance wasn't all that much. It's always a shame when a relationship does more telling than showing and so fails to capture your heart!
    Fantastic review Jenny!

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    1. I definitely wanted a little more between them, but they were a cute couple overall Pili!

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  5. I struggled with this book a little bit, especially in the beginning, so I ended up just skimming it. I think my issue with it was that it had so many interesting concepts, like the getting the power from lightning, and these different societies, but they weren't well-executed. I agree with you about the romance. I thought it would be a bit more intense and romantic given that the author writes romance books under her pen name, but I didn't really feel much between the characters.
    I'm glad you still liked parts of it though, Jenny. Lovely review, as always! :)

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    1. Agreed, Nick! I would have liked to see more of Aria and Taj together:) I liked them, I just wasn't swept off my feet by them.

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  6. I don't think this one is for me, Jenny. Along with the insta-love you mentioned, the synopsis makes it seem like I might have issues with the worldbuilding. Regardless, great review as always!

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  7. I prefer a drawn-out romance to a quick one and, what's more, I feel the same way as you do, Jenny, where a paranormal or supernatural element often feels like a too-easy way to finish off a dilemma in a novel. I don't think this is for me, despite its positive points. But thanks for sharing, dear, and for such an honest and helpful review. :)

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    1. YES! I thought her dad definitely was dealt with too easily and too outlandishly, I wanted a little more "real" justice I guess ;-( I'm vengeful, what can I say.

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  8. I completely agree with you about the supernatural cop-out. I'm really disappointed to hear that the resolution with the father didn't happen realistically even though the book is paranormal. I'm not sure if this one is for me.

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    1. It was a frustrating for me for sure Rummanah, I couldn't help but want a more fitting end for him. One that didn't involve the supernatural at all:)

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  9. I totally get where you are coming from as far as the supernatural cop out. I seem to be having the same problem with my romances lately, they look good on the page, but I am not feeling the emotional connection.

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    1. I've been on that kind of streak lately too Heidi! Just can't quite seem to completely connect. :(

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  10. I'm not quite sure what to think about this, Jenny! A lot of it sounds very appealing, especially fire artists, which are brand new, and Aria as a protagonist. But a romance that doesn't work, that doesn't really reach us, is a very big deal for me. I'm a romance-oriented reader and I need to feel the love between my MCs.
    My wifi was down for days and it was awful. It feels good to be back in the 21st century.

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    1. You know I'm romance oriented as well Maja, and I wanted a little more from this one. I liked both of them individually and together, I just wanted to really feel that bond between them.

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  11. I wanted to read this, before I saw the cover. Now that I've read your review, Jenny, I'm not sure I'd be picking it up at all. I don't like the sound of using the paranormal as an easy way out...

    All in all, great review!

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    1. I don't think the way her father is dealt with will bother everyone, but it just seemed so over the top in a world that's almost contemporary save for these leagues of people who possess control over certain elements that it was a touch off putting.

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  12. I'd read it , but not buy it. More borrow it from the library

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  13. The same flaw would bother me as well. However, I do like the sound of Taj and want to read it just for that character. Still, I might wait until I have a safe place to scream at the book and no one is able to call the men in the white jackets. :) I have a feeling I will want to yell and throw the book at the father. LOL

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    1. I did enjoy Taj and Aria both. And yes, you will hate her father with every fiber of your being!

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  14. I love the crazy cover on this Jenny! Sounds completely interesting!

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    1. Makes you want to read it doesn't it? :)

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  15. Hmmm... I'm not sure about this one. I really crave a romance that's REALLY deep and meaningful. I think this one might not quite be everything I'd want. But I don't know, I'm a bit curious.

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  16. I'm not sure this one is for me. I was on the fence about reading it already and the underwhelming romance and supernatural cheat to the whole father situation definitely turns me off. Thanks for your thoughtful review Jenny!

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  17. You know, sometimes the romance does more damage to the story as a whole than you'd imagine. It seems like this one might be better with just a hint of romance, rather than forcing a relationship. Maybe just flirting but nothing coming of it. *sigh* Oh, well.

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  18. I have yet to hear of this book. And I don't think I ever read a book by Daisy Whitney. I will have to check this one out.

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