What to do when a seriously funny author (check out his vlogs!) debuts a book with a lovely cover and a fantastic YA-meets-mythology mash-up premise? Read it and see if it lives up to the hype, of course. After all, I danced around the room in honor of Jennifer Estep’s Touch of Frost, another recent mythology-in-young-adult-land release. Unfortunately? Wildefire was not my cup of tea.
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.
There are people who really liked this book. I’ll be honest with you: I am not one of them. Another thing I’ll be honest about? The ‘whys’ and ‘wherefores.’ After all, my wonderful reader, you deserve only the best. The best being one of these cookies. Wait, I’m distracting you from the review?!
Things I didn’t like: 1) romance novel metaphors and vocabulary – descriptions were all about the girth of a guy’s biceps, the pregnant clouds, etc.; 2) dearth of character development; 3) cliché central; 4) unbelievable elements (one of which was the serving of alcohol to 17 year-olds. in a bar. never seen anyone who wanted to lose their liquor license that badly.).
Things I did like: 1) combo of mythologies; 2) flashback sequences (which were very well done); 3) cover art; 4) concept; 5) sometimes snappy dialogue a.k.a. moments of humor and/or lightheartedness.
To be continue with the honesty policy: Wildefire lost me almost immediately. The here-there-and-everywhere action, combined with Ashline’s inner voice and spoken dialogue, which were very different at times, created a jarring whole that failed to live up to the promise of the concept. A separate annoyance (which I cannot lay at the author’s feet) became clearer as I read farther. The blurb? Gives away a major plot point (!) from late in the book – something I would term a spoiler. Not cool, not cool at all.
Recommended for: only the most die-hard YA and mythology fans, or a romance reader with spare time and a highlighter (I dare you to go on a ‘romance novel adjective hunt!’ Report back if you do!).