Thursday, March 4, 2010

Book Review: Arson by Estevan Vega



Before now, three things were true: he both loved and despised his grandmother; his life was going nowhere; and he was alone. But when a strange girl-who feels more normal behind a mask than inside her own skin-moves in next door, Arson hopes to find something he's never had: purpose. Using what he fears the most about himself, Arson must face his consuming past and confront the nightmare that is present as he walks the fine line between boy and monster. Dark, moody, and breathtakingly relevant, Arson, the chilling chronicle of an isolated boy with unimaginable ability, is sure to ignite the hearts and minds of a new generation.


There are some writers whose styles work for me- from the way they describe things to how they string words together and create a picture, I find it absolutely astounding. Estevan Vega is one of those writers. He could write about a dog taking a crap and I would still be enthralled because of the way he writes and while he doesn't actually do this, he does have a paragraph where a character is throwing up that I didn't find particularly gross because he made even puking beautiful. Vega is a writer who stands apart because of how he writes and not just the plotline- I would still commend him even if the plot sucked. Luckily, this plot was fantastic, brilliant, and enthralling.

This book had several different very unique elements. There were few things that could be considered overused in this book and while it did have its creepy moments, I actually found it to be, overall, astoundingly heartbreaking. Arson's story is intense and both his character and background developed in the perfect way to tug at me and force me to feel intense empathy towards this boy. Taking place in the summer, the reader only gets references to how few friends Arson has and how alone he tends to be, even at school, but Vega paints the picture perfectly to know this boy stands alone wherever he goes. Even his name- and the reason for it- sets him apart. Arson does not live a normal life and not just because he can create fire with his mind. Take away that supernatural ability and he is still a boy who is alone and my emotions would still be twisted and torn for him.

Emery is another unique character created here, living behind a mask because she feels far more comfortable there than showing her true self to the world. These two make a very interesting pair and I appreciated both their banter and their disagreements. In the same way I felt for Arson, Emery's character was just strongly and beautifully crafted, showing her own story that while vastly different from Arson's, still holds common elements that tie the two together.

While this couple seemed to fall for each other quickly, I never felt it was out of character or disjointed. They are both alone and have baggage that is hard to explain to just anyone. They found something they needed in each other and Vega did a superb job developing their relationship. Told in third person, this book gives deep insight into not only Arson and Emery but Arson's grandmother as well as both of Emery's parents. The reader is hit on all sides with these 5 people but never once did I find it disjointed or hard to follow. He has weaved their stories together seamlessly, using one character to spark another and guiding the reader easily.

This book certainly deserves 5 stars from the astounding writing, imagery and story telling to the plot itself to even the characters- all of whom were strongly developed, not to mention the very creepy, eye catching cover. It ends on a surprising, unexpected cliff hanger, leaving me eager for the next installment and more of Arson and Emery. I have absolutely no idea where things are going from here nor did I see any part of that ending coming from the events leading up to it. While there are some intense scenes, I highly recommend this book. Personally, I didn't find it to be overwhelmingly creepy and don't think that is a reason to shy away from this one though I am under no illusion for things to remain that way. Vega has set it up perfectly to kick up the creep factor in the next book after creating a bond between his characters and his readers.

Source: Review copy received from Estevan Vega (thanks again!)
Publisher: Tate Publishing

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  1. I only read the first couple of paragraphs because I am reading this right now but i'm so glad you loved it!! I can't wait to finish it! :)

  2. Glad you liked it. It is on my review shelf and I am looking forward to reading it more now. Thanks!

  3. I've been seeing this and for some reason it hadn't caught my attention much until now. The cover creeps me out though! Great review :)

  4. Well. Thanks to you, I'm extremely regretful about passing up the chance to read this book. I wasn't sure if it was to my taste or not but after reading your review...well, now I want to read it. Like, badly. xD!

    Fantastic review ;)

  5. I've been wanting to read this one for a while now and your review makes me want to read it even more. I've never read anything by Estevan Vega, but your review has me dying to read some of his stuff.

  6. Thanks errrrbody for checking out this rockin review. And thanks to this blog for showing ARSON so much love. Nikki, yes, you should definitely check out some of his stuff. I hear he's pretty decent.