Author: Karsten Knight
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: July 26, 2011
Number of Pages: 400
Source of Book: Bought the hardcover on the release date
Author's Website: www.karstenknight.com
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'm a little torn on this book, so this review will be a little different. I'm not sure if this was a situation of high expectations not being met, but I didn't love it - I liked it though. This book definitely reads like a contemporary at the start, and then leads into some paranormal elements and adds in mythology from different cultures which makes it interesting and fresh. I felt like it read a little long because some parts seemed to have inconsequential details that didn't need to be there in my mind, but in other parts I wanted more details. I definitely read it quickly because I kept turning pages wanting to know where it was going.
- The beginning really hooked me. The scene develops in a way that I wasn't expecting and I really wanted to keep reading.
- There is a unique mythology element taken from various cultures.
- Ashline is a sarcastic, whip-tongued main character who is doing all she can to protect herself.
- Good pacing of the reader getting information as needed to keep tension building.
- Each chapter was really long, but it represented one day in the week of these events occurring. Then there were a few interludes that captured my attention and led to a surprising reveal toward the end.
- The villain was created in such a way that I really did hate her, as I should have.
- I liked the group of friends (the other gods/goddesses) so much and how they all watched out for each other.
- I also liked the headmistress character and wanted to cheer for her a little bit.
- Unexpected ending, not exactly a cliffhanger, but more of a didn't see that coming at all, now holy cow where are we going next.
- I didn't totally connect with Ashline as much as I wanted to.
- Parts were left unexplained and left open for the sequel, but where is it going?
- For some reason I was aware throughout the book that it was a guy author writing a teen girl character, so it didn't feel totally authentic to me.
- Some parts I noticed the 3rd person point-of-view (which is a pet peeve of mine).
- There was an element of weird creepy-crawly creatures which always bugs me when it comes out of nowhere. I'm sure there's more of a reason, but I didn't totally get it.
- Some of the emotions seemed to develop too fast for me. I liked the romantic subplots, but I didn't get the depth of the feelings developing.
- When I'm pulled out of the world of the story and notice the writing (instances of coarse language), that, to me, is not quite true to life. It's there to be there, not because it feels totally natural I guess.
So, basically, I'll read the next book in the series because I'm intrigued by the overall premise and want the explanations for the shocker ending and want to know what happens to Ashline next and hope I'll connect with her more. But, I didn't love the execution, so I'm hoping that will improve with the second book in the series, EMBERS & ECHOES coming in 2012, and the third book, AFTERGLOW coming in 2013.