Review: Firelight by Sophie Jordan

5 Apr

Series: Firelight, book #1

Published: September 7th 2010 by HarperTeen

Details: Hardcover, 323 pages

My Rating: 2.5/5

My Summary:

First book in series which has been described as a Twilight with dragons. Starts out great with an exciting draki world, and a promising romance with a human boy. But as I read more, my interest fizzled out, since the romance didn’t capture me, and the heroine’s constant and monotonous inner worries got tiring. Won’t continue the series.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A few chapters in:

Twilight with dragons. That’s how this novel has been described. At first, I wasn’t too interested, simply because dragons didn’t really appeal to me.

But then the reviews started pouring in, and after reading quite a few 5-star reviews about the incredible romance, I caved in. Dragons or not, if it has romance, I want to read it!

I am now a few chapters in. And let me tell you, there’s no slow build-up here. Already in the very first chapter we are provided with a thrilling action scene, with our heroine running from draki-hunters which results in a strange encounter with a beautiful boy.

Eventually, the facts are presented. The heroine Jacinda is a draki. That is, she looks like a human, but she can turn into a draki at will (mostly anyway). She lives with her mom and her sister in a secret draki society called The Pride. Ever since her father’s death, and the rise of the evil king Severin, life in The Pride has gotten more difficult. Which is why Jacinda’s mom one day decides to bring her girls with her and escape the society.

They end up settling down in a small town out in the desert, far away from The Pride. Jacinda and her sister Tamra start school, for the first time ever, and well, this is where I’m at now. Jacinda has just realized that, not only is school a strange experience, but the beautiful boy she met earlier also goes to this very same school..

I look forward towards Jacinda getting to know that boy, as I’m expecting the romance to be really cute.  However, I also feel that I may be too old for this book, that it is a bit too teen for me.

Well, only one way to find out!


 

After finishing the book:

Okay, so I just finished the book last night, and I can’t help but feeling a little disappointed. It started out so great, with an intense action scene and promises of a great forbidden romance.

But, as I read more, the plot sort of fizzled out.  The great premise and exiting build-up turned into a stereotypical  love-at-first-sight romance with a plot that at times got so cliché it had me rolling my eyes.

Now, if you think about it, it is weird that I reacted this way. Because if you know me – and have read my reviews – you know that I love romance. Especially when it’s hot and steamy, includes a supernatural twist and is sprinkled with a bit of danger.

Yet, this particular romance, though it contained all of the above elements, didn’t capture me. Strange indeed.

But I have a couple of theories as to why:

Firstly, the heroine. I could not connect with the girl, or worse, I actually found her annoying. It started out all right, but somewhere along the road frustration started to creep in as I had to follow her (as I discovered) very monotonous internal monologue.

I usually have no problems with inner monologues – in fact I like them because it gives me an insight into the main character and helps me connect with him/her. What I do have a problem with though, is when it gets too repetitious.

And Jacinda’s thoughts were just that, repetitious. She went on and on about the same issues (should or should she not see Will, how to keep her draki alive) for the entire book. Don’t get me wrong, I understood her issues. But having to hear those same thoughts over and over again got very tiring in the end. Especially since they never developed and she never reached any conclusions.  Just the same thoughts rephrased over and over again..and again..and again..yawn.

Secondly, the romance between Will and Jacinda was, yes I admit steamy at places. But it went way too quickly from “I’m attracted to you” to “You’re the love of my life to the point that I could die for you”. You know what I mean?

I like romances to build slowly. I like to feel how they gradually get to know each other and fall in love. Essentially I want to understand why they connect.

None of that materialized here.

Will and Jacinda shared a sizzling attraction. End of story.

I realized this after a while when it became apparent that.. hey, they never actually talk!? The few dialogues they exchanged (between their make out sessions and looking longingly into each others eyes) contained two or three sentences at the most, which by the way usually felt really contrived. I failed to see how that was love, or even a connection on any deeper level. Yet, Will declared his love after only a couple of chapters and yes, you guessed it, I rolled my eyes.

Thirdly, there were too many similarities to Twilight, so much that it actually bothered me a bit. At one point I couldn’t help thinking if she (Jordan) was trying to create a new Edward Cullen. Because seriously, there were too many incidents that pointed in that direction.

For one, Will is the unattainable gorgeous guy at school who hasn’t touched a girl until Jacinda comes along. Then, as soon as she does come along, he immediately starts stalking her, waiting by her house at 2 am in the morning, climbing in through the window, and (get this!) breaks into her house one morning to make her breakfast. When Jacinda happens to end up among other hunters, he turns really protective and growls.

And finally, just as I thought he could not get any more Edward-like, he utters the phrase: so the hunter falls in love with his prey.

Ring any bells?

All that said, what made it hard to connect to Will was not the Twilight similarities, but the fact that I knew nothing about him. Or rather, what I knew seemed too perfect. You know, not one single flaw. Which in my book always equals boring.

Even Cassian (the son of the evil king Severin) seemed more interesting, and given the little page-time he had in the book, that says something.

In the end, what saved this book from a 2/5 was the intriguing beginning, a few steamy sequences involving Jacinda and Will, and last but not least the colourful descriptions of Jacinda’s draki. In fact, all the draki-stuff was very well portrayed.

All though I had never read anything even remotely touching on dragons before, and hence was a complete draki-novice, Jordan really captured these creatures well. To the point that I understood how hard it was for Jacinda to face that dreadful heat when her natural habitat was mist and mountains. I felt the steam rise up in her when threatened, and I enjoyed the relief when her wings finally unfurled.

But unfortunately it wasn’t enough. The characters are always a number one priority for me, and if I can’t connect with them..the rest falls flat. Hence, I won’t continue the series.

The next installment Vanish is to be released in September this year.

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9 Responses to “Review: Firelight by Sophie Jordan”

  1. Siobhan April 1, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    Probably because it’s written for young adults. But dragons are cool 🙂

    • tess April 1, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

      Oh, I just realized how it sounded! I’m not critizing the book itself, just that as a 30+ year old, I may be too old for this book, that’s all. But like I said, it’s well written and entertaining, and I haven’t even got to the romance part yet so..I’m hoping for a great read. Review coming soon 🙂

  2. Jen April 2, 2011 at 11:57 pm #

    I just read this book, and I’ll be curious what you think. The beginning was awesome; very few books grab me like this one did, but the middle was slow and the end was so-so for me. It came highly recommended to me.

    I enjoyed Nightshade (Cremer) a lot more, a werewolf story along the same lines.

  3. tess April 3, 2011 at 7:10 am #

    Hi Jen,
    That’s interesting to hear! I devoured the beginning as well, but as I read more I’m starting to have a few doubts. I was wondering if it was only me – as this book has gotten so many great reviews. So it’s good to know that you had the same thoughts.

    Thanks for the tip about Nightshade as well, that book just moved up in my TBR-pile 🙂

  4. patsy williams April 7, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    hiya

    i got sick of the “i need to keep my draki alive” every few pages too.
    Nightshade is freaking awesome
    very vampire academy but with werewolves
    awesome world building
    btw told you you would like vampire academy after you got through the third book!!
    you should try paranormalcy by kiersten white
    great main character
    oh and delerium by lauren oliver too
    and across the universe is very original and sounds like something you would like based on what you say on here
    cheers patsy

    • tess April 7, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

      Hey Patsy,
      Thanks so much for all your book recommendations. You know, you’re the third person telling me to read Nightshade, I’ve really got to get that book now, it seems amazing. And while I’m at it, I’ll get Delirium and Across the Universe as well. Paranormalcy I already read, and I completely agree that the main character was great – really enjoyed that book. We seem to have the same taste 🙂
      And yes, I do remember you telling me that the Vampire Academy series was going to get better after the third book, that was one of the reasons why I kept reading 🙂 Still, never in a million years did I think I’d be this addicted to the series! It’s moving in among my top 3 favorite series now, which is huge, considering what I thought about it in the beginning.
      Thanks again for all the tips,
      Tess

  5. burdie February 2, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    I totally agree on everything you said about Firelight. The repetitiveness was annoying. However, I like to finish a series if I can, because although I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I would have liked, I’m still interested in the characters.

    So I read Vanish, and I have to say, it’s much better than the first book. There’s still a lot of repetition from the main character, but the story gets pretty interesting. Since you like the draki part, you may like the second book more since she’s back in The Pride.

    There’s also some more grown-up issues in the second book, not as YA as the first one. Hope you get to read it!

    • tess February 5, 2012 at 11:34 am #

      That’s good to hear that the sequel improves. I felt like dropping the series after Firelight but your comment made me curious about Vanish, especially since there is more “draki” involved there. So thanks, I might give it a go now! 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Nightshade by Andrea Cremer « After Twilight… - April 15, 2011

    […] now a few chapters in, and just like with Firelight, it starts bang on, where we’re literally thrown into an action scene where Calla (our […]

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