Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Book Review: Wildefire

Author: Karsten Knight
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Series: Wildefire #1
Release Date: July 26, 2011
Pages: 393
Read it in: 3 days
Source: The Library

Summary: Every flame begins with a spark.

Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.

LC's Take:

Yep, so in a nutshell, I was not a fan of this book. Like, at all.

My main issue with Wildefire was that I didn't like the main character.

Wait, scratch that-- I could not stand the main character.

Wait, scratch that again-- I wish the main character had taken a running dive off of a cliff and spontaneously combusted in mid-free fall, or met any other catastrophe a la Wile E. Coyote.

Like so: 
Yes, that's how much I detested Ashline Wilde-- I had to whip out some visuals of her cartoon-ish demise.

Why? Well, first of all she was violent and abusive, and walked all over everyone and treated them like crap. She was super-aggressive and mean and made me wish someone would slap her into next week. Because of this, she was impossible to relate to or sympathize with.

Not to mention, she was absolutely, positively crazy. Let me elaborate on this point by saying that, in the prologue, Ashline beats up some girl that supposedly "stole" her boyfriend-- she actually punches the girl so hard that she's knocked unconscious and loses a tooth. Now, this begs the question, why didn't Ashline confront her unfaithful, loser boyfriend first instead of taking out her rage on the girl? And second, um hello! She just committed serious physical assault! And you now want me to be on this girl's side?! She's a psycho! I'm not on her side, she should be headed to a JV detention center for crying out loud! Not cool.

Her craziness continued throughout the book with many random outbursts, leaving me thinking, "um... ok?" And finally, she just wasn't girly. If her name wasn't Ashline, I would've sworn she was a dude. Which made me wonder, why didn't Karsten Knight just make his protagonist a boy? Since he is a guy himself, he would have been able to create a much more believable protag. All in all, Ashline just came across as both unbelievable as a character and really nasty as a person, so I never felt any connection to her in the story. In fact, I was sort of rooting against her.

I wish I could say that the secondary characters made up for Ashline's complete douche-baggery, but they were equally nasty, annoying and immature. The only one I liked somewhat was Colt, but I still couldn't understand for the life of me why he was so smitten with Ashline, who was beyond obnoxious and belittled him every chance she got. The guy doted on her like a love-sick puppy. Really?! Nope, not buying it. Ashline was a real you-know-what. In real life, he would've ditched her without a second thought.

Call me a wimp, but I also wasn't a big fan of all the gratuitous violence thrown into the story, much of which seemed pretty unnecessary, especially the prologue and the whole fiasco with Lizzie Jacobs. Maybe that's just me, but really, you are going to be pretty hard-pressed getting me to like a character who commits serious physical assault within the first few pages of the book. Yeah. Major turn off.

Next on the list: The dialogue between the characters was positively dripping with sarcasm and undisguised venom, also for no apparent reason. Now I don't mind a little snark here and there, that livens up the interactions between the characters, but having every line be some biting comment or come back? Nobody talks like that first of all, at least not anyone that I know, and second it comes across as very forced and artificial. It was like, how cruddy and mean can we make these characters without them actually killing each other off? I definitely got annoyed with the mean-spirited, heavy-handed sarcasm after awhile.

Finally, and I've heard other people say this too but I had the same experience-- it took me a long time to really get into this story. There just wasn't a whole lot to keep me interested until a little over halfway through the book. Unfortunately by that point, I was so fed up with the characters that I didn't really care anymore anyways.

So altogether, this book was a fail for me. Not only wasn't I invested in any of the characters, I couldn't stand them. The sarcastic dialogue got really old about half-way through the story and finally, I didn't think that the graphic violence did anything for the plot. The one redeeming aspect of this book was the ending-- not just because it meant I could stop reading, but it was admittedly quite the cliffhanger. I think that for anyone who did enjoy this book and the characters, it was the perfect ending to entice them into reading the next one.

Unfortunately-- and this probably won't come as a big surprise-- I won't be reading the sequel.

~Cover Talk~

I think that this cover is very intriguing, not to mention very beautiful. It's also different, and I like that it relates to the story without being too literal of a translation. Hmmm... I wish I had liked the actual book as much as I like the cover!

LC's Rating:
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The main reason that I disliked this book was because of how thoroughly unlikable the characters were. This, along with the bad dialogue and unnecessary violence, really turned me off of this book.


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21 comments:

  1. I's sorry to hear you didn't enjoy it! But I can easily agree with you... if I were to read the book I would be on the EXACT same page with you. A MC like that? No thank you! And the violence would turn me off too. Thank you for your honest review, its these types of reviews that save me from reading books that I wouldn't like :)

    P.S. I <3 the cartoons.. I lol'd so hard!

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  2. I have to agree with your review. Definitely not a favorite of mine either. I never really thought about it, but I think all the violence turned me off as well. I thought it had all the elements of a great paranormal, but it just fell flat.

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  3. Amen! That's exactly how I felt about the book! What really turned me off was how violent Ashline was, and yet whenever her sister did something violent, she was all "why are you being so rude and hurting people?" It was so hypocritical!

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  4. I'm glad my feelings for this book weren't far off from other people's opinions. I didn't care for this book either...

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  5. I love that you used "douche-baggery" in your review! I don't have this on my TBR shelf, and it looks like I won't be adding it.

    Thanks for the honest review!

    Kelly @ Radiant Shadows

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  6. wow... yeah, I second the "douche-baggery." Epic. I think you should coin it for the next edition of the slang dictionary.

    I'm glad I haven't rushed out to get this one. I don't care for mean-nasty MCs either. Oh, and I LOVE the cartoons. so, so funny.

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  7. Yikes, Lea! I am still going to look into this book at some point, but yours isn't the only off-putting review I've read. The book seems like it has a LOT of potential that the author just didn't capitalize on. :( Thanks for the honest review!

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  8. I had checked this on out from the library and then went back and forth if I was going to actually read it. I decided that I didn't have time to fit it in, and based on your review, I didn't miss much.

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  9. It really sucks that this one let you down the way it did. I probably wouldn't have been able to get through it. Thanks for the honest review!

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  10. If I can't relate to the characters of a book, especially the main character I have a hard time enjoying the book. Great honest review!

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  11. I stayed away from this one because I had heard such bad things about it. However, I loved your review so much I took my laptop to my husband just so he could read it to. Awesome review!

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  12. Yeah I really didn't like this either, none of the characters were at all realistic and yeah, you're right about all the sarky comments! Worst thing was, it was so LONG. Felt like I wasted half my life reading the thing. Your review made me laugh!

    The Cait Files

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  13. Thanks for the review! I've had this one on my To Consider list for awhile but this review is making me rethink my plans. Will be thinking about this one a lot harder.

    Book Brats

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  14. Oh no!! LOVE your review - hilarious. The cover IS intriguing. I really hate it when the main character is so inherently awful. Thx for bravin' this one for the rest of us!! :-) I think I'll pass!!

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  15. Omg, haha! A la Wile E. Coyote! <3 Thank you for being so honest with your review. I'm sad to hear that you didn't like it very much. =( I've been wanting to read this for a while, also I love Karsten Knights YT videos, he's hilarious! Have you seen him?

    I think I'll attempt to pick this up soon, just to see whether or not I agree with you. I can't believe the main character, that kind of scares me. She DOES sound like a real biatch.

    Loved your review. =)

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  16. Okay, 1st of all... Wile E. Coyote - hilarious! I actually have this book, but haven't read it. To be honest, I kind of want to read it even more now. Why? Because I was a bit of a douche-bagger in high school. Plenty of fights with girls and boys, with puppy dog boyfriends. If you're a girl who rodeos around here, fighting, drinking, and smoking is kind of expected. But I am SO far from being that person now. I can still be ornery, but not vicious. Haha.. yeah.. You're review was great though.

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  17. I didn't like this one either, for the same reasons. I'm not a violent person and I'm somehow supposed to identify with a main character who is?! I don't think so.

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  18. I love the Wile E. Coyote pictures, that made me giggle! It seems for this one it's either love or strongly detest, no in between. I fell into the love category, but I can definitely see why people wouldn't like it!

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  19. The Wile E. Coyote pictures are awesome. This is one of those books that I want to read now to find out if it was really that much of train wreck.

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  20. I actually liked the book a lot, although I know some people have had the same experience you have. Yes, Ashline is a you-know-what, but I actually found that refreshing after so many completely lame YA heroines. Plus, there's a reason they're all asshats.

    Then again, there's also no such thing as too much sarcasm to me, so I may just be closer to his target audience.

    The one thing I take some issue with in your review, although obvi you have a right to your opinion, is your claim that Ashline's not feminine but for her name. What I don't like about that is that it buys into the idea that women have to be one thing or another? Why do women have to act a particular way? Are men the only humans that experience extreme aggression? Is fighting a masculine trait? Is sarcasm? She was definitely not a role model, but that didn't make me feel like she wasn't a girl. In fact, I didn't know the author was a dude until I was done reading.

    If you didn't like this, I suspect you might not like Croak, as the heroine in that one does quite a bit of fighting and sarcasm-ing too.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Christina! Oh boy, I can see your point there-- I hope you don't think that I don't like strong, tough, kick-butt kind of girls, because I definitely do! :) I think what I was really trying to get across was that for me personally, I just couldn't finding anything to relate to in Ashline as a character, and I found her to be more mean-spirited than strong. That's just how she came across to me!

      I will say, however, that it IS nice to have a more dominant character to stand out from all those whiny, wimpy female protags in other YA books. I just wish Ashline had been more to my taste...

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