12 October 2011

Book Review: Wildefire by Karsten Knight

I'm a big girl. I can admit that I HAD to have Karsten Knight's Wildefire when I first saw the cover on a website displaying upcoming YA book covers. However, when I read the blurb, I REALLY had to have the book. Polynesian volcano goddess? So. There.

I'm sure that everyone and their brother/sister/bff/third cousin twice removed has heard about this book, and if you haven't, then...I dunno. BUT if you haven't and you're reading this, you're hearing/reading about it now.

There's a reason why I have yet to find a less-than-stellar review on this book. It's just that good. Actually, it's not good. It's AWE-wait for it-SOME.

Here's the blurb from Goodreads:

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 love a good sister vs. sister story from time-to-time. Loved The Other Boleyn Girl. Loved My Sister's Keeper (the book, didn't see the movie), even though it's not so much sister vs. sister as it is "little sister wants freedom from being her big sister's organ donor." 

What Wildefire has in common with the above stories is liberation. Mary lived within Anne's shadow her entire life. Anna was born specifically to help Kate through blood/marrow/organ transplants. Ashe has had to grow up with a psychotic sister storm goddess. Trust me, this book has drama. Not melodrama, as in "oh why must my sister vex me so with her presence when I simply want to be freeeeeeeeee?" but drama drama, as in "holy crap, my sister just electrocuted the b*tch who's been giving me a hard time. Oh, look. Eve's now throwing her off the roof. FML."

That is both the pivotal point and driving force beneath Karsten's sister vs. sister rollercoaster ride.  After above girl-electrocuting-flinging-off-roof fiasco, Ashe moves to above-mentioned school in California where she actually succeeds in having a social life. However, the normalcy doesn't last. Eve finds Ash, and Ash's past catches up with her. 

The cast of characters Karsten puts together is what makes the book so fantastic. It draws from mythology of all kinds: Polynesian, Greek, Norse, Japanese, Creole. And what amazed me as I read was that these characters seamlessly blend together to form the fabric of his story. No one seems out of place, regardless of the mythological background. They're almost like the X-men of gods and goddesses. Yeah. They're that cool. They all have their own fabulous personalities. The surfer dude in particular was my pick.

Something else I really enjoyed was the unconventional romance. Ash is pursued by a somewhat goofy park ranger named Colt with secrets of his own. Regardless of what random horrible things happen while they're together, like Ash's hand burns him (putting a new spin on "hot and heavy"), Colt sticks around for his own reasons. It's not an easy romance by any means, but hey, if a guy's willing to walk through fire *snicker* to be with you, he's a keeper.

Wildefire is fabulously paced. I was hooked from the very first sentence and didn't want to stop reading (but had to since I was on vacation and had to be all social and stuff). There were times when I'd gasp, or my breath would simply catch. Karsten's definitely one to watch, and I'm so anxious for Embers & Echoes. I need more Ash in my life.

Or just more Colt.


Teri Anne Stanley said...

Volcano Goddess? Eh. Goofy Park Ranger named Colt? I'm there.

lexcade said...

Colt's great, I have to admit. And Ash is just flat-out awesome.

Christa said...

I loved this book so much. In my local indie bookstore, it is the only book recommended on the ENTIRE YA shelf. Crazy, right? But I was so glad I read it.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read this, but I most certainly will put it on my TBR list!!!! Nice post!

LisaAnn said...

Oh my gosh, I actually haven't heard of this book. Thanks for the recommendation!! :)