Sunday, July 24, 2011

Wildefire by Karsten Knight

Wildefire by Karsten Knight
Reviewed by: Baby Sister Brittany
Release date: July 26th,  this Tuesday.
Sisters say: Action-packed, Intriguing, Bold

Summary (from goodreads):
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.

Here are the things I really loved about this book:

1. Fascinating concept! Knight takes a modern day setting and throws in some gods in human form. You might find yourself saying,

“But Brittany—haven’t there been several YA books lately with gods in them like Starcrossed, the Goddess Test, and Abandon?”

To which I was say—

“Oh ye of little faith!” and then I’ll explain that knight goes beyond just the Greek mythology that’s become so popular and uses mythology and deities from multiple cultures—Norse, Greek, Egyptian, Polynesian, etc.

Not enough to catch your interest? Well then…

2. Twists, Twists, and more Twists! This book has lots of action with some fairly shocking turns of events that will keep you hooked as the story goes along!

3. Boys. Oh, the boys. There are so many crush-worthy guys in this book, I don’t even know where to begin. It doesn’t hurt that a fair number of them are gods on top of the good looks and charm. I mean, really…. how can you go wrong with a god?

4. Interesting Form—Knight makes some pretty bold choices when it comes to the layout and form of this book, my favorite of which is a section in the middle that is told in 2nd person point of view. Bold move!

And now, I must get to some of the things with which I had issues.

I do have some mixed feelings about this book.

But let me qualify this statement by saying that I’ve just finished a 10-day writing residency where all I’ve done is pick apart writing for twelve hours a day. This was the first book I picked up since I started the residency, so of course I found myself reading with more of a critical eye, and less for sheer entertainment.  That being said, here are a few things I struggled with:

1. Pacing. While there are quite a few action packed scenes in this book that will keep you interested, the chapters are LONG and tend to jump around to different storylines, which made parts of the book drag a bit for me (and at 400 pages it’s not a short book to drag yourself through).

2. Ashline—While I did warm up to Ashline eventually, in the beginning she felt very harsh, masculine, and at times simply off-putting. It was hard to really care about her and her story when the book opens with her beating someone up (even if that someone did steal her boyfriend). BUT… I did warm up to her… eventually.

3. Purple prose. While I do think the writing in this book was strong, and Knight used a number of images that were particularly strong and poignant, I did feel like it was a bit overwrought in places. At one point I counted 14 similes within about two pages, and it took me out of the story several times.

Again—I qualify this with the fact that I’ve been nitpicking over writing constantly for over a week. If I read this book two weeks ago, I very well could have been raving over it. But reading is subjective; and it’s about the perspective you bring with you at the time. I hated Great Expectations the first time I read it, but now I don’t mind it nearly as much. So I would love for those of you who’ve read Wildefire to give us your opinion in the comments to perhaps balance out my critical eye!

All of this being said—I would recommend this book for you to read, ESPECIALLY if you like a tough heroine, twisty plots, and mythology (though those who aren’t fond of violence and language might steer clear)! Despite my nitpicking, I did quite enjoy the book. And I just saw on Publisher’s Lunch that Knight got a book deal for the next two books in the series, so I do believe I’ll be picking that up when they come out!