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young adult book reviews & more

Quick Snacks: Wildefire by Karsten Knight


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 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.

I wanted so much to like this book. I heard (or thought I heard) such great things from other people, the synopsis sounded pretty promising, and the cover was awesome, so I picked it up. Unfortunately, there was just something about Wildefire that didn't quite resonate with me. Ashline's character in particular presented a problem for me: I found her unsympathetic and somewhat inconsistent in her behavior. Additionally, I felt that her Polynesian heritage was a little forced; while I'm all for having more books with POC characters, I prefer it when their heritage is more meaningful instead of an accessory. So while I thought the mythology behind Wildefire was quite interesting, there was just something unbelievable overall that prevented me from really getting into this story.

On a side note, I still want to pronounce the title of this book like the "wilde" in wildebeest, instead of the, more accurate, "wilde" as in Oscar Wilde.

Rating: 2.75

Review copy from Simon & Schuster Galley Grab

2 munch(es) :

Leigh Purtill said...

The basic storyline starts interesting: only Polynesian girl at school, bad sister coming back, etc. and having to deal with whatever expectations may be made of her at this new school. I wonder if the paranormal aspect had been left out and the story remained as a contemporary realistic piece of fiction if the book might have been more successful for you. I struggle with this myself.

SusieBookworm (Susanna) said...

I was also surprised how many people seem to absolutely LOVE this book (I felt the same way about Everneath, too). I really enjoyed reading it - loved the fast pace and the mythology aspects - until I finished and realized what spoiled brats the characters act like. They're all trying to deal with some awful events from their pasts, yet these only come clear at the end, and in the meantime they just party?! It seemed like the author was trying to blend the mythological story with the stereotypical boarding-school snobbery, and it didn't work at all.

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