Saturday, June 11, 2011

Review: Wildefire by Karsten Knight

Wildefire by Karsten Knight

Pages: 400
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: July 26th, 2011
IBSN: 9781442421172

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.

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I couldn't find myself connecting with, or even liking, any of the characters in Wildefire. I blame this somewhat on the writing style: third person, flowery and decorated excessively. While that kind of writing could appeal to some people, to me, it only took away from the story by describing things in excess that weren't relevant to the plot.

The paranormal aspect of the book was played down. It took around half the book to reach it, and then, the news that they were gods/goddesses was just dropped on them without much explanation. And then they just accepted that, and took next to no time to get accustomed to the fact.

The pacing also provided a problem for me. The beginning 75 pages gave an in-depth backstory to Ash that wasn't proportionate to how important it was to the plot. And then, while the main drama was foreshadowed, it didn't occur until the very ending.

I sketched you a graph of drama against time. Note major complication tacked onto the end. Also note the hook on the end. Cliffhanger. 

Another thing that annoyed me about this book was how things would happen that should prove a big problem to the protagonist didn't even develop into subplots, or even get mentioned again. I guess they're introduced to be expanded upon in further books, but it felt like those events were just ignored.

While I liked the premise, and the fact that Knight incorporated mythology from so many different cultures, I couldn't like the execution.

I give Wildefire a 2 out of 5.

P.S. I think I might make Drama vs. Time graphs for everything I review now.