Saturday, September 3, 2011

Book Review: Firelight

Author: Sophie Jordan
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 7, 2010
Pages: 323
Read it in: 2 days

Summary: 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.

Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.

LC's Take: 

Alrighty, so I just finished this book. Overall, you know, it wasn't bad. The premise of the story is different, which I definitely liked-- I mean, a book about a girl who descends from dragons? That's cool. But... I don't know, try as I did, there were just things about this book that left me slightly frustrated. It's not that I didn't like it-- more that I think it had the potential to be a lot better.

As the story started out, I was super excited-- Jacinda and her friend Azure sneak off to transform into glittery, iridescent dragons and fly over lakes and mountains, and I was like, sweet! This is going to be an awesome, high-fantasy adventure, all Lord-of-the-Rings or Brisingr-like with dragons and magic and battles... yeeeah, not so much. About 5 pages later, Jacinda and her sister Tamra are in a beat-up old car with their mom, escaping from the dragon "Pride" for some small town in Nevada.

Goodbye, magical world. Hello, stereotypical high school and teen angst-ridden love story.

The biggest problem I had with Firelight was the choice of setting. Like I said, the story starts out in this forest with an enchanted village where the draki live, and it's all nature-y and magical, and I'm all ready for this crazy whirlwind dragon adventure. But then, the story takes this huge, random swing over to some modern-day school near Las Vegas-- and now all of a sudden we're in Been-There-Done-That territory.

What???

I don't get it.  Why take such an amazingly unique plot and turn it into the same ol' same ol'?? What happened to the dragon/draki mythology?

I wouldn't have minded the juxtaposition of the two worlds-- draki and everyday-- but we barely got to see anything about the draki. I am seriously hoping that the next book takes place in the draki world, because honestly, I am not a fan of the overdone, cliche high school drama-fest.

Sorry, I'm just not.

So let's talk about Jacinda's love interest, Will. Once again, he's not horrible. The opening scene where he sees Jacinda in the cave and whispers, "Beautiful" pretty much made me fall in love with him, too. Yes, he's got the whole "I'm-bad-stay-away-from-me" vibe going on, all handsome and irresistibly mysterious, and of course Jacinda can not stay away. Since Will is from one of the hunter families who kill draki for their skins, it was a good conflict to have Jacinda--a draki-- fall in love with him. Overall, I liked Will. (Umm... except the part where he went into Crazy-Stalker-Mode and looked up Jacinda's school records-- to see where she lived-- and then SHOWED UP there-- in the middle of the night-- totally uninvited. Yeah. I know.)

Jacinda herself was an easy enough character to like-- I just didn't think it made any sense to portray her as a typical, average teenager. I mean, she comes from an ancient line of freaking DRAGONS, right?! I just think she should have had something more mystical and ethereal about her-- more depth and connection to her dragon heritage. She just seemed too... normal. And she gets kind of whiny at times. I don't want to read about a whiny dragon-- I want to read about a fiercely awesome, fire-breathing, scare-the-pants-off-you, courageous, warrior-princess dragon!

Sigh... I know, I demand way too much from my books.

Basically, I just wish that Jacinda stood out from any other teenage character I've read about, because she's a dragon for crying out loud (wow, have I made that point clear yet?)-- not to mention, she's the only fire-breather dragon to exist in over 400 years! Because of this, I wanted to see her be a little more kick-butt and assertive, and a little less (ugh, here it comes) Mary Sue. But also, I do realize that Jacinda had A LOT to deal with in this book, and she's been pulled around by the Pride pretty much her whole life, so it may take her some time to come into her own. Well, I am looking forward to seeing her become a strong female character in the later books! :)

Also, totally did not buy the romance. Sorry, but no. So Jacinda can "sense" Will. Big whoopdee-doo, and I mean crap, we're only told this like five billion times that she lights up like a Christmas tree and starts hyperventilating whenever Will is within a five mile radius. Wonderful. Is this supposed to make me believe they're in love? Because um... it doesn't. Oh-- and how about the fact that Will and his family HUNT AND KILL Jacinda's species and rip them to pieces for their skins?? Hmmmm... I don't know about you, but I would say that's a wee bit of a turn-off, no? 

Finally, the writing style was not my favorite. It wasn't horrible by any stretch of the imagination, and it was able to tell the story between Jacinda and Will. I just don't like when writing. is. choppy. And fragmented. And breaks up sentences. Into phrases. Like, every. Other. Line. (Know what I mean?) It's OK if it's to create a feeling or a mood during a scene, but it's just so dang difficult to follow throughout an entire book!

I will be reading Vanish when it comes out. Because really, I feel like this story has a unique premise and that a lot can still be done with it to make it stand out. I'm really hoping that we find out more about the draki- about Azure, Cassian, Nidia, Severan-- honestly, those are the characters I wanted to be reading about, forget about the dumb cheerleaders! How do the draki live? What do they do with the gems? Are there dragon battles between the different prides? Can Will become a draki? Will Jacinda's mom rediscover her inner draki and kick some butt? What exactly are the Enkros? I am dying to know!

So all in all, this story has captured my interest, despite not quite meeting my expectations so far. I still have hopes that the next book in this series will answer some of my questions and deliver some of that fantasy and magic I'm looking for. And I know I sounded a bit harsh for a 3-star review, but I think it's mostly because I was expecting something totally different from this book, NOT because it was a bad book-- because it wasn't! I would say-- as I do with all my other books-- give this one a chance and read it for yourself, because opinions can differ so much. Firelight may surprise you in a good way!

LC's Rating:
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This story has a lot of potential, but I felt like there was something missing in the delivery. I was just expecting it to be something else entirely, and I am hoping that the next book in this series has a more fantasy-adventure spin to it with lots of draki mythology, instead of taking the well-worn path of teen angst and high school drama.

13 comments:

  1. Bleh.

    I feel like I got enough of a run down of this book to go ahead and start Vanish from NetGalley. I don't see myself running out to purchase Firelight. Seems like an over played plot.

    Great review. Helped me narrow down which books I want to spend my birthday money on. =)

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  2. This has been on my whishlist for quite a while, sad to hear that it doesn't dive deeply into the world of the Draki, I really don't like these highschool drama's!:( I love your reviews by the way, no spoiling and very imformative! :)

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  3. WHOA you're totally right, I am in shock. I honestly thought the editor was going to come back and be like, "No sorry, I can't take this on it's too weird." I had dreams that played out like that so no kidding . . . thanks for pointing that out and for being so supportive and awesome. Fans? I can't even fathom having those yet . . . #stillinshock have a good night.

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  4. I'm at about a 3 with FIRELIGHT as well. I think VANISH *is* going to have more to do with the draki because what's his name...the draki prince...he's said to be in VANISH in a major way. The school stuff was probably more due to the first book and meeting Will...?

    Well, we'll see!

    I found http://www.handsandhome.ca/ through today's Better Know a Blogger (http://www.fwiwreviews.net) and checked out her blog because she has the same name I do. THEN I saw a button for your giveaway and the ALICE IN WONDERLAND theme intrigued me, so I came HERE.

    I love your header and the fact that your blog is about your adventures in Libraryland. You just won my heart!!

    I thought this review was very well-thought out and will be following you now to read about your thoughts on future titles! :)

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  5. Oh! Have you heard about JABBERWOCKY and HATTER, both self-published by Daniel Coleman? I just took place in a book tour for HATTER and reviewed them (http://abackwardsstory.blogspot.com/2011/08/hatter-and-jabberwocky-by-daniel.html). They're so much fun and you should check them out if you get the chance! They're short novellas and pretty cheap if you read e-books!

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  6. I loved this book but i can undestand your problems with it. I would have liked to have seen more of the draki world too. But I can understand why her mom took her away from that world, because she didn't want her to be mated off as a teen and be a "breeder". I think that was pretty important. I have pre-ordered Vanish and can't wait to read it. I hope you got the great Kindle deal that was going on the other day. Firelight for 1.99!

    http://www.deadtreesandsilverscreens.blogspot.com

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  7. I completely agree with you! I was super stoked on this book when it came out, I mean exactly - a store about people who turn into Dragons?! - it sounded way cool. But I just really disliked Jacinda's character, all she did was whine and hate her mom and sister and it became very repetitive. I definitely need to know what happens, but I didn't love it.

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  8. Such a gorgeous cover. So intriguing. Thanks for the review!

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

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  9. So glad I read this review the other day. It saved me 12 bucks. (Add that to your list of accomplishments!) I was about to order this from a book flyer for my class, but then I remembered your review. Money saved for better books!

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  10. I haven't read this one, but I can see where you are coming from. I agree, the cover is gorgeous. Happy reading!

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  11. This is a really good review: I feel like I know exactly what this story is going to be like. I don't mind the paranormal-teen-high school stories, but there are so many of them at the moment and hardly any high fantasy. It seems like such a waste to start off in the world of dragons and then go to the typical high school setting. I'll probably still read this, as it's so cheap on Kindle at the moment and part of the Debut Authors Challenge, but I feel I know what to expect now.

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  12. I agree with you completely! The premise of draki and dragon descendants was super cool, but I felt that it could have been so much more. But despite some of its flaws, I still really liked Firelight and I'm definitely going to read Vanish, too, because I'm so curious about what's going to happen! :)

    LOVED your review, Lea!

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  13. I think a lot of the trouble you had with this series, I had too. The teen angst was KILLER! I mean, seriously killer. Whining and complaining nonstop. I ended up liking Firelight alot- for all the awesome romance, etc. I'm reading Vanish right now- and honestly- it's not as good as Firelight so far. I'm interested to see what you think!

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