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Monday, November 18, 2013

Book Review: Fireblood (Fireblood #1)

Release Date: December 17, 2013
Author: Trisha Wolfe
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Length: 376 pages

To save a kingdom, Zara must choose between a prince who could be the answer and a rising rebellion that threatens to take control.

When Zara Dane is chosen to marry Prince Sebastian Hart, son of the man who ordered her father’s capture, Zara knows she must fight to save everything she loves from ruin.

Being betrothed to the prince means a life trapped behind the towering stone walls of the Camelot-forged realm. Under the watchful eye of the prince's first knight, Sir Devlan Capra, changing her future becomes difficult.

When an unlikely rebel reveals the truth about the deadly secrets that fuel King Hart’s twisted world, Zara’s path to rescue her father becomes clouded by deception. The Rebels clear her path by forcing Zara’s hand with an ultimatum: sway Prince Sebastian to join the Rebels, convincing him of his father’s evil nature, or they will take him out.

But Zara is uncertain about a future under the Rebels’ command and where the prince’s heart truly lies. She must decide who to trust, what to believe, and what she’s truly fighting for before the king destroys all of Karm, including her heart.


Review:

Protagonist: Going into this book I had entirely different expectations of Zara's character than what I saw while reading her story. After reading Unveiled, the sort-of midquel novella for this story, I had expected Zara to be a complacent and willing fiancee to Prince Sebastian, however she was stuck in an undesirable situation and does everything she can to change her destiny. I loved Zara's strong will and determination to be free of her betrothed and castle Karm. From start to finish Zara only had the good of everyone in mind and does whatever it takes to help all of Karm into a new age, a better age. While I love that Zara is kind-hearted and strong-willed, she never really seemed to have any flaws. Sure she made mistakes, though they never seemed to come from a flaw but rather being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and not being privy to certain information. While she never struck me as a Mary-Sue character, I feel that if she had a few visible flaws would have made her a more interesting character.

Romance: Early on I feared that this book would house a love-triangle. It's not that I'm generally opposed to love triangles, but it's such a common theme that is poorly executed in YA literature that I get anxious when one is presented in a story. That being said, there was no love triangle in this story, well not really. Instead of the traditional two men vying equally for a girl's affections, the two men vying for Zara's affections are in no way equally matched, in fact Zara knows from their very beginning that she will never return one of the men's affections. The romance with the other starts off slow, almost hesitant, and grows at a rather slow pace. I loved that the romance of this book didn't encompass or drive this story. I'm really starting to hate books that are so driven by their love stories that what is really going on in their worlds is eclipsed leading to a substandard book. This book however has a great story, with a nice romanced woven into it.

World-Building: At first glance I had thought this world was one shrouded in fantasy and magic, however as I began to read the book, or rather it's companion Unveiled, it became clear that this world is really a dystopian one. I was caught off guard by the complete change in the genre of this tale. Karm is the only safe place in all the world, surrounded by a protective barrier, and it's ruler has dictated that Karm is to be a utopia based around the fabled land of Camelot, but a deadly Virus threatens this utopia. I really loved the idea of a futuristic version of medieval times, it brings all the glamour and beauty of that time but leaves the more disgusting parts behind. To be honest if I was this realm's king I probably would have convinced my citizens to regress to the more spectacular parts of the past, though I would have done my best to not make the same harsh choices he did.

Predictability: I'm not sure what to think of the predictability. There were moments when I knew what was coming, and it was much more than guessing, it was a gut feeling that lead me to uncover most of the secrets this book holds. There were also things that were much easier to uncover after reading Unveiled, which makes me wonder if it was a mistake reading the novella before reading this book, but I know that if I read this first, all of the surprises in the novella would be ruined for me, so in the end I guess reading the novella first was the right thing to do, it also made seeing the main characters from it hold a deeper meaning to me as the reader. As for the things that were hard to figure out, this was due to a lack of easily seen foreshadowing, or at times no real foreshadowing at all.

Ending: The ending was probably the most shocking thing for me, mainly because it was an honest to goodness ending. All while reading this book I had it in my head that this was only the start to a series, however instead it was a stand alone, or at least has the ability to be. While I can't really see the author continuing the series with Zara, I could see this becoming a great companion novel series. I could be proven wrong and there may be a great second installment involving Zara as the protagonist and narrator, there was a small opening in the epilogue to continue, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Rating:


This is a brilliantly written book, whether it be a stand-alone or the beginning to a series it has captivated my heart. While there are a few things that bugged me about the book, they were very minor and with such an amazing concept and execution I'd recommend picking up this book next month or maybe adding it to your holiday list.

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