Every now and then a book comes along that makes you stop and go wow, I *HAVE* to read that and Wildefire by karsten Knight was that book for me. I mean, how many books do you know that feature a kickass Polynesian Volcano Goddess, right? I had the pleasure of meeting Karsten briefly at BEA this year and although sadly there were no ARC’s, a friend stepped in and gave me hers :) And even though several pages were loose and kept falling out, it didn’t matter to me. I was finally reading the book I had longed to read since I first heard about it. Here’s the synopsis:
“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 behaviour 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 smouldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.”
One of the best things about Wildefire (besides the humour) is the mythology and I really enjoyed learning about the history behind Gods and Goddesses. I thought the book opened with a bang and ended with a bang but Karsten made us wait a really long time to discover what Ashline could do. I never expected it to be a journey of discovery or rather a rude awakening more like and I look forward to seeing her discover more of her powers in subsequent books.
Ashline is definitely a strong female character but I thought at some points in the book, she came across as arrogant. I’m not sure if it got lost in translation but at one point Colt is talking to her about going on a date and when she accepts she says something along the lines of “time to join the big leagues”. I thought that sounded a little arrogant, like she was “all that” and he should be lucky that he is taking her out. With regards to Colt, I was wondering all the way through WHY he was attracted to Ashline, especially as she was verging on being mean to him in the beginning but he kept coming back for more. Was it purely her looks? Does he like a challenge? Does he have his own agenda? What I thought Ashline lacked was vulnerability and this is precisely why Eve (Ashline’s older sister) was my favourite character in the book. I liked the idea of putting a super power in the hands of a troubled teen and watching the chaos that ensues. She exuded a lot of flawed logic and thinks she can bribe Ash into loving her and running away with her if she promises not to hurt people. I thought Eve was the most believable character – she showed both a strength and a vulnerability which shined through the writing.
The secondary characters were interesting, especially her school friends who turned out to be Gods and Goddesses alike. Whilst I absolutely loved the sense of humour and witty one liners pouring out of this book, a lot of the voices sounded similar however and it would have been nice to see more distinction there.
Despite this, I have to say that I did really enjoy the book and after a particularly bad day at work last week, I was very grateful that reading Wildefire took me away from everything for a little while. And let me tell you that the ending will BLOW YOU AWAY and it’s one of the best, most shocking endings I’ve read for a while.
Overall, this is a promising debut novel from Karsten and I look forward to reading the rest of the series which in my eyes can only get better.
Wildefire was published on 26th July, 2011. Thank you to an incredibly kind friend and fellow blogger who gave me her ARC. To find out more about Karsten and his books, click here to visit the website. Karsten is also active on facebook and Twitter.