Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Review: Wildefire by Karsten Knight
Synopsis: 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. (Goodreads.com)
Ashline and her sister, Eve, have a very rocky relationship and it isn't helped when Eve kills a girl, leading Ashline to relocate from New York to California, where no one knows her back story and she can just fly under the radar, or so she hopes. What happens instead is she hooks up with one of the most popular boys in school, becomes a tennis phenom, and oh yeah, discovers she is a god. All so very normal!
This book is to put it mildly, a little bit crazy. It reminds me very strongly of the over the top, larger than life moments that characterize super hero comics only it lacks some of the more human touches that allow ordinary human readers to be able to empathize with superheroes. Ash and her cohorts, other gods who have been reborn as high school students, are all rather popular and good-looking and have surprising control over their abilities. They aren't exactly like you and me and frankly, don't face the same problems. A handsome college park ranger falls for Ash as soon as he lays eyes on her; Ash and friends get away with drinking alcohol quite illegally in the local watering hole, and they can take down villains without breaking a sweat. It was all very reminiscent of the TV show, Heroes, for me, except the main villains are not nearly as well-developed as early season one Sylar.
There were quite a few passages that I just ended up skimming over as I wasn't all that invested in the characters or their story arcs. Ashline and Eve's rivalry is somewhat thrilling though an over the top tennis match seemed a bit melodramatic for all of Eve's tendencies towards violence.
This review is making it sound like I didn't like this book, when in fact, I kind of had a great time reading it. I didn't take it seriously at all in terms of storytelling, characterization or plot, I just kind of went with what happened, so when the teens read their little pieces of paper that said what god they were, I was like, okay, I can go along with that. After all, Sailor Moon, one of my favorite TV shows which I still watch, well, she has the ability to best villains with a tiara. It these characters can age people in seconds, well who am I to not believe it? The author doesn't take this situation all that seriously it seemed either. There is a real lightheartedness to this book that works in its favor.
Wildefire wasn't quite what I was expecting but it ended up being a really fast read because I could jump into the action anytime I picked the book up. It is even written in a fairly episodic nature and the ending clearly leaves the future clear for more godly antics. I think this book stands out more for its perhaps sometimes unintentional humor and snappy characters but it has a place on library shelves and I think teens will respond well to these teenage gods.
Bookalicious reviews Wildefire
Sparkling Reviews reviews Wildefire
ARC provided by Around the World Tours
Review: Wildefire by Karsten Knight