Book Review: Firelight by Sophie Jordan

15 Dec

Title: Firelight

Author: Sophie Jordan

Series: Firelight, book 1

Genre: Paranormal YA, Fantasy YA

Publisher: Harper Teen

Published on: September 7, 2010

Summary: 

A hidden truth.
Mortal enemies.
Doomed love.

Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki—a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.

Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will’s dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away—if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She’ll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.

Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.

I’ve had dragons on the BRAIN lately you guys. I think it’s from all of this Skyrim talk on Twitter and EVERYWHERE. In case you’re unfamiliar, Skyrim is a role-playing game that involves dragons wherein a person (you) runs around Skyrim killing the dragons and taking their powers in the attempt of your player–who may be one of several races of fantasy creature or human–to…well, I’m not sure. I’m only bringing it up because of the DRAGONS. Upon doing some thinking after realizing the dragon angle of this game, I had a thought (I know, but it happens): “Amy, you don’t read NEARLY ENOUGH about dragons. You should be embarrassed! Dragons are one of the most majestic and dangerous fantastical creatures around with POWERS and MAGIC. You are not worthy!” Duly noted, self. I am ashamed. So armed with my shame and eagerness, I began my foray into the world of dragon books. And you guys? LOVE. FIRELIGHT made me regret not reading about dragons sooner.

*MINI-TANGENT ALERT!* So, you know that feeling you have sometimes when you’ve just gotten off a ride at an amusement park or a carnival and you’re all giddy and excited and breathless because the ride was so fast and crazy and FUN? Sure, maybe you got jerked around a little bit on that one turn and the lap bar pressed too hard on your bladder, and that wasn’t so great, but you laughed and squealed and enjoyed yourself so much that you kind of want to do it again. (I’m thinking Tilt-a-Whirl or The Scrambler, for reference.) *MINI-TANGENT OVER* That was my reaction to FIRELIGHT. Was it perfect? Well, no. But I didn’t really have time to dwell on it or care overmuch because I was too busy just plain enjoying myself.

One of the things that just tickled my fancy right away was the mythology. You might guess by now that I don’t have much experience with dragon lore in books, but the way the draki are described here I found really clever and interesting. I loved that there are different kinds of dragons that have different skills, strengths and weaknesses. I thought it was really smart and made for a great story that the draki live in prides, with leaders and politics and power games. (I wish there was more of this actually. Cause power games are dangerous and dark and messy. YOU WIN OR YOU DIE.) It was also really clever to make it so that Jacinda and her pride aren’t technically dragons, but rather an evolved species descended from dragons. That was a really great little touch of something real in the fantastical, you know? To think of these creatures evolving in the modern world as lots of other animals have done. But seriously, if there was a draki wiki or something, I would be reading it right now instead of writing this review so that I could learn ALL THE THINGS. I really thought this aspect was well done.

But who wants to talk about mythology when there’s a hottie on the loose, amiright? Will…is FAB. He’s gorgeous and mysterious and dangerous but also conflicted and decent and sweet. VERY easy to crush on and root for. The relationship between Will and Jacinda was definitely interesting. Part of me cringed at the insta-love of it all, but then part of me pointed out that it wasn’t so much insta-LOVE as it was an insta-CONNECTION that neither of them understood but could not deny. Will and Jacinda are duly confused and conflicted by their strong connection to each other. They spend time trying to make sense of it. The fact that they are star-crossed and that Jacinda is basically in the hornet’s nest for the whole book adds some nice urgency and jeopardy to their relationship. And I found their hesitation to be together HOT.  There was a point, though, when things went from fraught and conflicted and tingly to “whoa, so THIS went from 0 to 60 JUST RIGHT NOW.” Having a relationship like theirs is tricky, I think, because there’s always the real possibility that it will cross the line to melodramatic and cringy and unbelievable. Will and Jacinda, thankfully, managed to stay on the right side of that line for me MOST of the time. Not all of it, but most of it. And that I can handle. Most importantly, I guess, I didn’t find it outrageously CHEESY, which is more than I can say for lots of other paranormal romances.

Since I mentioned Jacinda and she’s, you know, IMPORTANT, I guess I should tell you that I kind of loved her A LOT. I felt and understood her feelings of suffocation and helplessness and desperate grief. I felt her grasping to keep herself from losing her draki and it made me so sad. And did you not just want to run over to her house with some Aquaphor for the poor thing, with all that dry skin? All of her feelings were palpable. For instance, when her sister, Tamra, does something DUMB at the end of the book JUST TO BE PETTY, I, like Jacinda, was infuriated but also worried. And when Jacinda’s mom, who was hard to like but kind of impossible to hate once you understand her motives, sells something important to their family against Jacinda’s wishes, I too felt disregarded and unimportant and frustrated. Doesn’t sound fun, but it WAS. The only characters that fell flat to me were the bad guys, especially Will’s cousin Xander. He was sufficiently bad, I guess, but nothing that made my blood run cold. He was just creepy and mean. Even his physical appearance hammered home to the readers that he was supposed to be bad, what with all the black hair and black eyes, like the EVIL in his BLOOD was escaping through his head and face. Now, Will’s DAD seemed like a BAMF. Also Severin, the leader of Jacinda’s pride. More of that, please!

Ever since I finished FIRELIGHT I really can’t stop thinking about how much fun I had reading it. It was fast-paced, emotionally engaging, and enjoyable, the romance was smoldery, the ending was BOSS, and I can’t wait to see where things go next. So, it’s official: DRAGONS = AWESOME.

While I’m on that train of thought, I want to finish with a question for you all: I’m feeling the fantasy reptiles right now. What dragon books should I be reading? What’s good? I’ve read EON and EONA, which are only indirectly about dragons anyway. I have ERAGON, but I’ve heard mixed things about it. Should I give it a try anyway? What else? Hit me up with any suggestions in the comments!

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7 Responses to “Book Review: Firelight by Sophie Jordan”

  1. Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books December 15, 2011 at 12:21 am #

    Thanks to your review, I now cannot wait to read Firelight! I’ve had it in my book pile for a while, but it’s been overtaken by a couple of newer releases.

    Loved Eon/Eona. As you know, I just finished the books and it was SO GOOD.

    I’m a fan of Eragon and the Inheritance cycle, though the writing may not necessarily be all that amazing at first. I do love the story and the characters though 🙂

    • trippingbooks December 16, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

      Firelight was really good. I actually just finished Vanish, the sequel, as well. It was good, but in a different way. More about the relationships and less about the action. But I enjoyed it all the same. I hope you enjoy them if you get a chance to read them!

  2. Candice December 15, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    I haven’t read a dragon book since I was… well I don’t remember when I last read a dragon book. It’s been that long! This sounds really interesting though and a hottie on the loose? Yes please!

    • trippingbooks December 16, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

      Right?! I couldn’t remember one! I enjoyed Firelight, and the sequel too. They’re fun, you know? And hotties are ALWAYS a plus!

  3. Allison (Allure of Books) December 17, 2011 at 7:31 am #

    I recently read a NetGalley ARC featuring dragons – Seraphina. You should look it up, I thought it was fascinating! Definitely a lot more world-building than this trilogy.

    • trippingbooks December 17, 2011 at 9:53 am #

      OOOOH! I actually have it! I can’t wait to read it. Yay! I’m glad you liked it. Thanks for reminding me 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. In My Mailbox (7) « Tripping Over Books - December 18, 2011

    […] 6, 2011 from HarperTeen). I recently read–and enjoyed–the first book in this series, Firelight, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on VANISH. I read it already, too, and liked it a lot. […]

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