Release Date: September 7, 2010
Read it in: 2 days
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.
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!