Good morning, good evening, good afternoon, if it’s midnight where you are maybe finish reading this and then go to sleep? Just a thought. Anyway. You’re not here to discuss the time of day (though feel free to comment if that’s something you do want to discuss) you’re here to hear my thoughts on Book of Fire. Well let me share…
Life outside the domes is not possible. At least that’s what Insiders are told. Twins Eli and Talia shouldn’t exist. They’re Outsiders.
Their home is a secret. Their lives are a secret. Arafel is a secret.
An unexpected forest raid forces Talia into a desperate mission to rescue her family while protecting the sacred book of Arafel from those who would use it as a weapon. As Talia and her life long friend Max enter the dome, she makes some unexpected discoveries, and allies, in the form of rugged Insider August, that will change the course of her life forever.
She’ll stop at nothing to save her family but will she sacrifice her heart in the process?
This book felt a lot like The Fire Sermon meets Ariadnis. We’ve got our young protagonist in a world where she shouldn’t exist and there’s that message of preserving nature running throughout that is key in Ariadnis. What this book has that is slightly different is the fact that the main plot of the book is a rescue mission. That was somewhat new for me as so often it is the second book in a series that centres around rescuing a sibling or friend as opposed to the first.
Talia as a character is not entirely a YA ‘strong female’ cliché. While she is feisty and ‘fierce’ she also has a love for nature and for life which was a good way of rounding out her character. There’s also some side characters none of whom stood out to me as phenomenally interesting, this is definitely Talia’s story, but perhaps the world will be expanded in the future (as yet this appears to be a standalone but who knows?).
What was my main problem with this book? The romance. The amount of YA I read I mostly get along with the romance plots, they are often cheesy or cliché but you get through it because it’s part of the plot I suppose. In this instance, however, the romance didn’t feel as though it was serving any purpose beyond giving Talia something else to think about in the dome. If you’re going to have her fall for someone make it something that leads to terrible decisions and illicit passion don’t make it an instant romance that adds nothing to your otherwise very tight story!
I did appreciate all the Roman and mythological references, they definitely appealed to the archaeologist in me and the idea of exploring how to piece together a mythical beast genetically was simultaneously interesting and a little horrifying.
As I say, this is conceptually a great book and the story itself is fast paced, engaging and interesting. But it all gets caught up in and dragged down by this pointless romance plot that just isn’t necessary!
If you absolutely love a romance plot or if you’re willing to look past them entirely, this is still a well written and enjoyable book. I’m just annoyed because I think it could have been so much more!
My rating: 3/5 stars
Book of Fire is available to order now so if you think it’s for you then it can be yours!
By the way, I received a digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
What say you? Can you look past an unnecessary romance plot? Let me know in the comments!