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.
Why I Read It: Look in my sidebar, there is my about me. In that about me you will notice two things, one is that I love YA books, one is that I love all things volcanic. Of course I'm going to read a YA book about a polynesian volcano Goddess.
Review: I cannot make coherant sentences right now, and I finished the book two days ago, I honestly loved this book so much. I mean mythology and volcanoes all rolled up into one almost perfect YA ball, yes, I loved it.
From page one, we are grabbed by Knight's amazingly witty writing, sure it's a little shaky to start with but the way he describes the characters and the thoughts that Ash has are so well written that it's okay. Knight's writing then proceeds to get better until it reaches the point where he could honestly not do any better, at which point he brings in some more characters and begins to build them up. Honestly, this book is like an eruption of awesomeness (pun intended). I also loved the interactions between the characters and the relationships explored.
The plot itself is great, while the idea of Gods/Goddess reincarnations isn't massively original, Knight ties in all sorts of mythologies - Japanese, Polynesian, Haitian, Norse, Egyptian. I also loved the idea of the bad guys, it's many layered because while the obvious bad guy in the story is Eve, Ash's out of control big sister, there is obviously another bad guy somewhere in the background, judging from the sinister creatures that Ash keeps seeing and this 'Blink' that keeps being mentioned.
So call me judgmental, but I always feel a bit tentative going into books written by guys, I have this horrible idea that only women can write from a girl's POV, I would go as far as to say that Karsten Knight has totally changed my mind, the way he wrote the characters is so believable. Ash is one of those tough girl main characters that don't just come across as kick-ass, they also have this level of vulnerability that totally has me relating to her. I also totally relate to having the out of control older sibling (though my brother isn't a weather controlling God...) You could tell that this book was written by a guy, it has levels of action that seems to be lacking in most YA paranormals. The romance was also awesome and sweet, but I'm still confused by the ending... Colt?!
If I had any issues, it would be that at times there are some kind of 'plot holes', like when the group kill some mercenaries that are coming after them and it's never mentioned again, I'd have liked to see some remorse from the characters?
Overall, Karsten Knight has written an awesome book that I can honestly say is one of my favourite reads of the year. I was sure that I'd love it when I saw the synopsis like five months ago and this book did not dissappoint me. Wow.
Overall Rating: A+
Stand Alone/Series: First in a (bloody awesome) series.
US Release Date: July 26th 2011
US Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's
Book won as a prize in a giveaway