Review: Ruby's Fire by Catherine Stine

Ruby's Fire
Seventeen year-old Ruby, long-pledged to the much older Stiles from the Fireseed desert cult, escapes with only a change of clothes, a pouch of Oblivion Powder and her mute little brother, Thorn. Arriving at The Greening, a boarding school for orphaned teens, she can finally stop running. Or can she? The Greening is not what it seems. Students are rampaging out of control and as she cares for the secret Fireseed crop, she experiences frightening physical changes. She’s ashamed of her attraction to burly, hard-talking Blane, the resident bodyguard, and wonders why she can’t be happy with the gentler Armonk. She’s long considered her great beauty a liability, a thing she’s misused in order to survive. And how is she to stop her dependence on Oblivion to find a real beauty within, using her talent as a maker of salves, when she has nightmares of Stiles without it?

When George Axiom, wealthy mogul of Vegas-by-the-Sea offers a huge cash prize for the winner of a student contest, Ruby is hopeful she might collect the prize to rescue her family and friends from what she now knows is a dangerous cult. But when Stiles comes to reclaim her, and Thorn sickens after creating the most astonishing contest project of all, the world Ruby knows is changed forever. 

When I read Fireseed One over a year ago, I did enjoy it but I thought the pace was a little bit slow and so I rated it a little bit lower than I would have liked, so I was a little nervous going into Ruby's Fire. I was actually really shocked because I enjoyed this book quite a bit more than I was expecting. I think that this is mostly because the action starts right away, and I liked Ruby and her group a lot more than Varik and Marisa. Straight away, I was gripped by Ruby's struggle with Stiles and I wanted her to get away - I was supporting Ruby straight away. The pace dropped pretty quickly though and it was up and down for the whole book.

There are a few things that annoyed me about Ruby, namely the fact that she is quite vain and always talks about how she hates that she's a seductress, but she was mostly a pretty strong main character. The backing characters really stole the show - I especially loved Thorn who was a cute and unique character, I also loved Bea, Armonk and Blane and even the bad guys Vesper and Jan were strong and well-written characters. 

I would have liked a little more development on some of the deeper issues covered. There are issues with cults and drug abuse and I would have liked to see Ruby come to terms with the lies that the Fireseed Cult told her a little more, and I would have liked to see her battle her drug addiction a little more, it just seemed to disappear when it was convenient to the story. Stiles also turned up at some point and left saying that he'd be back, but he never turned up again which was disappointing.

What I did really like was the reappearance of Varik, even though he's only a minor character his story was a great addition and it was really nice to see how he turned out after Fireseed One. There's also mention of his relationship with Marisa, but she never made an appearance which I would have liked, however this wasn't a big deal since this is Ruby's story and only a companion novel to Fireseed One.

Overall, Ruby's Fire was a great companion novel and was better than Fireseed One. Ruby and her friends were very strong characters and though the pacing varied I was gripped. I would have liked some of the story lines and issues to be more developed but all in all this was a great book.

Book released  9th June 2013 by Konjur Road Press
Book received from the author in exchange for an honest review

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