Reading Level: Young Adult
Size: 416 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Wildefire series
Source: borrowed from library
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
This is the first book in the Wildefire series by Knight. The second book is Embers and Echoes and the third in the series is Afterglow, which is scheduled to release in November 2013. This book was an interesting concept but took quite a while to get going.
Ashline Wilde gets transferred to a boarding school, Blackwood, after an incident with her sister, Eve, killing one of Ashline’s classmates at her old school. At Blackwood Ashline is looking forward to a new start. However she soon discovers that a number of reincarnated gods and goddesses are also enrolled in Blackwood, and Ashline is one of them. Things start to spin out of control as Eve shows up to make more trouble and a war ensues between the reincarnated Gods and Goddesses.
This is a book that I am kind of one the fence with. I really liked some of the ideas behind these kids being reborn Gods and Goddesses and there were some very insightful conversations in the book. However the story took a very long time to get started, pacing was way off. All of the interesting stuff was crammed into the last 100 pages of the book.
Ashline is an interesting heroine, she has such an incredibly bad temper that she just can’t control. Given this is the primary aspect of her temperament I bet you can guess what Goddess or element that she is representing. Her temperament was a bit inconsistent; at times she is pretty mellow, then she completely loses it. Still Ashline makes her sister Eve look tame. I didn’t engage with Ashline all that well…she was just to all over the place emotionally for me.
Ashline falls for an older college guy who is a park ranger. Right from the beginning I suspected that he would be involved in a twist in the story and he totally was. So that part was pretty predictable.
In general the characters were okay but I didn’t really find them all that compelling. They drink, swear, and were stupid a lot. Which I guess teenagers do that stuff…I didn’t really as a teen, but whatever. So I guess just don’t use this book as model for what normal teenagers act like.
There were some things I really did like about this story though. The cast of characters comes from very diverse backgrounds; the Goddesses and Gods they are reborn as reflect this. It was very intriguing to learn more about some mythology that is more obscure than that you normally read about. There were Polynesian, Ancient Egyptian, Japanese and even Native American deities present in this story. I thought that was very interesting and very creative.
The last problem I had with this book was the pacing. Things don’t really start moving until 300 pages or so into the book. Up to that point the story is about Ashline moving and adjusting to her new school. She does learn about the Godhood of her and her friends, but the scenes where Eve gets involved and Ashline’s powers start to manifest don’t start until very late into the book. I kind of wish the first part of the book had been condensed down and then we could have read more about the exciting parts of the story.
Overall this was an okay read. I absolutely loved the presence of more obscure mythology and the idea of Gods being reborn into human bodies and forced to have the same mistakes happen over and over again. I had trouble with the pacing and the characters though; I just didn’t find them all that engaging. Also I would recommend to older young adult because of all the drinking/sex/violence throughout the book. Honestly I wasn’t engaged in the story enough to really want to read the next book in this story, so I probably won’t. It was a cool idea but just wasn’t executed as well as it could have been.
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