Thursday, April 23, 2015

Review of Wildefire by Karsten Knight

Wildefire: Book 1
By Karsten Knight

Star Rating: 
Date/Time Started: 4/20/2015 at 6:33pm
Date/Time Finished: 4/23/2015 at 7:06 pm

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Number of Pages: 416

Synopsis:(From Amazon)
Every flame begins with a spark.

Blackwood Academy was supposed to be a fresh start for Ashline Wilde.  A secluded boarding school deep in the heart of California's redwood forests, three thousand miles from her old life- it sounded like the new beginning she needed after an act of unspeakable violence left a girl in her hometown dead.

But Blackwood is far from the peaceful haven Ashline was searching for.

Because terrifying, supernatural beasts roam the forests around campus.

Because the murderer from Ashline's hometown- her own sister- has followed her across the country.

Because a group of reincarnated gods and goddesses has been mysteriously summoned to Blackwood...

...and Ashline's one of them.

This book wouldn't have been an exceptionally long read, had I known, at least in part, what I was getting into.  I must have picked up the book a while ago, because I only remembered that first paragraph description before I started to read.  I will say, overall, I think this is a very solid book and I would likely recommend it to people, however, there are some serious flaws, usually in regards to how teenagers are allowed to behave.

This novel gives readers an adult adventure with young adult characters.  Some of the adult situations are things that teenagers have to deal with and consider on a daily basis, such as: how far to go in a relationship and what the consequences of going too far may be, jealousy when someone you like actually likes another, and that while you cannot take back things you have done or that happened in the past you can choose a new path, move on, and push past whatever you thought was standing in your way.

THE BAD: (with slight spoilers unimportant to overall plot)
I remember when I saw Buffy the Vampire Killer for the first time and I thought "Why can't I go out to a cool club and go dancing?"  Nevermind that I lived in the country, in the middle of nowhere, much like Ashline's boarding school.  Given the amount of alcohol drank and mentioned repeatedly in this novel, I have to wonder if I grew up in a different place than Ashline, despite our home state being the same, or if her parents really didn't care.  Not only does Ashline's sister have ready access to alcohol and the knowledge of how to make mint juleps, but her friends at the academy also have flasks, fake IDs, and a bartender who doesn't mind serving them, despite knowing that they are underage.  Not sure if it's just my family, but if I went away for a weekend, or say, for boarding school, I'm pretty sure it would have been noticed if a large bottle of alcohol went missing.  Even more alarming, perhaps, is that the students drink right in front of/under the noses of faculty at the school, who apparently don't notice, suspect, or smell anything.  Despite the many cases of drinking, there is only one instance in which the students are caught and reprimanded--if you can call what happens a punishment.

And I'm sorry, but I don't know anyone who, the summer going into their junior year OF HIGH SCHOOL would be allowed to travel to the other end of the country to meet up with a girl friend, then travel from the states to Vancouver with a boyfriend--alone.

It's great that Knight wanted to use a multitude of different races in his novel, but sometimes there is too much description.  If Knight had taken half as much time to develop the characters, have them grow, learn, feel, instead of remaining stagnant, they may have become more more relatable.  While I appreciate the mention of how the gods traditionally looked, and enjoyed the expertly tied in comment about Baldur's "white hair" since according to Rolfe they didn't have a name for dirty blonde, most of the time it was just randomly thrown in.

The language in this book threw me.  Often in dialogue the teenagers do use curse words, which is rather realistic.  However, there are parts that random larger words are thrown in, sometimes words that are so uncommon to the English vernacular that I had to consult a dictionary.  While I certainly don't mind challenging today's youth, I do question why you would throw in a few select words that, in context, hadn't quite been necessary or the proper word choice, especially when one realizes that most aren't going to stop reading in the middle of a sentence to look up exactly what a word means.  While I cannot quite recall the word used, that described a particular part of burning, I can say that there were no context clues to explain the word, and most will likely skim it, as well as the few other times such word choices were made.

The pacing in this novel is all over the place.  I believe I was about halfway in before I really started being pulled into the story and wanting to learn more.  Before that point, I had been slowly trudging along.  Once the plot got going, it was rather easy and quick to continue on, but I believe many reluctant readers won't get to that halfway point, and the book won't be given a proper chance.

Author Information:
Karsten Knight has worked as a proofreader, bookseller, and college admissions counselor before deciding that his calling was to write about a volcano goddess.

For more information on Karsten, check out his
Amazon author page.

If you like this review, and the writing style of this quirky reviewer, please consider visiting and liking my Facebook author page: Lizzy March.

No comments:

Post a Comment