Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"Firelight" by Sophie Jordan Review


Descended from dragons, the draki's ability to appear human protects them from hunters. Jacinda lives with her pride in the Cascades, but she chafes under her special status as the only fire-breather in hundreds of years. Recklessly breaking the “no-fly” rule, she attracts hunters; mercifully, one hunter, a beautiful boy who looks upon her with wonder, lets her escape. After this, the pride intends to hobble her rebelliousness, and Jacinda is forced to flee. But while twin sister Tamra, who never manifested and was shunned, is happy with the move, Jacinda feels only anguish within Nevada's desert climate. Then she meets Will and, despite recognizing him as the same draki hunter, feels herself come alive. Jordan's compelling addition to the supernatural star-crossed lovers theme is equal parts taut suspense and sensuous romance, with visceral writing and believable relationships among characters, particularly among Jacinda's family. A foreshadowed twist and a thrilling confrontation in the end pages leave Jacinda heartbroken and in trouble, and readers will howl for more. Grades 8-12. --Krista Hutley for Booklist

Amazon kept recommending Firelight for me, and when the price dropped on the Kindle version I decided to try it. 
If you're expecting a rip-roaring fantasy with lots of action and adventure, you're going to be disappointed. Firelight is above all a romance novel where the heroine happens to have scales sometimes. 
I read that author Sophie Jordan write romances under another name, and it shows. I mean that as a compliment. She knows how to write a YA makeout scene with the best of them. :) 
The book follows Jacinda, who is a draki. The draki are descedants of dragons, and I think for future intsallments of the series Jordan needs to make it a little clearer exactly how the draki look when they're all "dragoned out," for lack of a better term. I pictured then as still humanoid in appearance, just more colorful with scales and wings. I didn't think the draki turned into straight-up dragons like some readers did, but I could be wrong. 
The male lead is Will, a dragon-hunter with a heart who lets Jacinda escape the first time he encounters her in draki form. The big secret of draki is that they can morph into human form. So when Jacinda's mom moves her and twin sister Tamra away from their pride and they wind up in the same school as Will (a bit too convenient, I'll admit), he doesn't recognize her. 
Jacinda's POV started to wear on me halfway through the book. There is a ton of angst going on, even for a YA novel. Granted, she has a reason to be upset. Her mom has deliberately moved her into the desert, a climate that will kill Jacinda's inner draki. Why? Because mom knows the pride is planning to use Jacinda for a "brood mare" (among other things) in hopes of reproducing her particular draki talent for fire-breathing, a skill thought to be extinct. The one thing that made me really stop and say, "What?!" was when Jacinda takes the news of the pride's plan with barely a raised eyebrow. She even continues her plot to try and escape back to the pride for quite a few more chapters. I'm thinking that would be a dealbreaker for almost anyone, especially a sixteen year old girl. 
Despite its laws, I did enjoy this book. I recommended it to a friend who was looking for a simple paranormal romance. Sometimes, you don't want anything heavy or with a deeper meaning. As with a lot of romances, Will and Jacinda fell into almost instant love, so if you need character development and a slow-building attraction then Firelight might leave you cold. (Sorry! Couldn't resist!) 
I don't mean to say there's not a plot and an actual storyline going on. There is. It's just kind of secondary to Jacinda and Will's relationship. 
The book ends on a cliffhanger, and the sequel--Vanish--is already out. 
Language: Can't remember anything too gritty 
Sexual Content: Pretty steamy kissing but nothing beyond that
4 Cupcakes
*Review posted on also

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