Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Book Review: Firelight by Sophie Jordan


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.


Exceptional, distinct and invigorating, Firelight is a fantastic mix of romance, angst and the supernatural. The world Jordan has created is phenomenal, filled with detail and such intense thought has clearly gone into everything about it. From the descriptions of Jacinda’s drake side to the way she reacts in different environments to the emotions she feels, Jordan includes everything seamlessly.

Jacinda is a character completely unlike any other, based in what she physically is. A dragon at her core, Jacinda and her kind have the ability to morph into humans to blend. As a dragon, she is still coherent and the same girl but there is a stark contrast between Jacinda’s mind as part of her pride and Jacinda thrust out into the human world. Jordan handles this switch perfectly, infusing a high amount of angst and discomfort. Jacinda battles between a maturity that lets her understand why she has to be in a human school with her wants, desires and even needs. Her struggles are intense and breathtaking, and the constant tug and pull of her body in response to different people and situations comes across fantastically.

Will is as divergent as Jacinda, tormented and caught by the nature of his family. He holds a certain intensity that is memorable and appealing, struggling against being a hunter and what it means. His first encounter with Jacinda is written beautifully, and the ensuing push and pull of their connection and relationship drives a strong portion of the book. In unexpected and heartfelt ways, the couple are united and understand each other in ways others cannot.

The other supporting characters are convoluted and as well developed as the main characters. Though her actions are frustrating and some of her responses, particularly through Jacinda’s biased eyes, seem irrational, Jacinda’s mother is a very well done character. Her side can be seen because of the way Jordan writes the book, slipping in enough thoughts on Jacinda’s behalf as well as interactions for the reader to understand the mother. Tamra falls in a similar role, coming off as immature and selfish at times but her reasons and motivations are also clear. Characters initially easy to dislike shift to hold a sympathetic element while others remain disliked if not growing to something stronger.

The writing is fantastic, rapt with a vividness not always seen and enveloping the reader from the start. The descriptions stood out from the first page, as did Jacinda’s distinctive voice. There is a strong romantic element to this book, showcasing Jordan’s strong, inherent writing ability both with action intense scenes as well as emotion and yes, this woman can write some intense, fan yourself kissing scenes. The overall tone shifts constantly, pulling the reader with it.

The plot is brilliant and absolutely unique, focused on both Jacinda’s character development and decisions as well as actions and events beyond her control. The ending is shocking and not easily predicted until a certain point and Jordan slips in plenty of other clues, hints and turns to keep the reader stunned and guessing. A few shocking plot twists really drive the plot, smacking the reader in the face and keeping the pages turning. While some elements could be compared to other fantasy books, it doesn’t take away from the overall feeling and effect this book leaves the reader with. Even with this, Jordan tweaks them to make them all her own and shifts them to her characters and world.

Firelight is a well paced mix of action and emotion, built on a startling new premise with an astonishingly well built world. The blend between the draki world and the human world comes through strongly, and the level of thought Jordan put into building her world is very clear and highly appreciated throughout. Detail intensive and vivid imagery, strong and distinct characters, fluid writing and an original plot all pull together to make Firelight an incredible hit and a must read.

Source: ARC received for review from the author/publisher in exchange for honest review
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (September 7, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061935085
ISBN-13: 978-0061935084

Sophie Jordan's Website


  1. sounds like book to add to the reading pile.

  2. This book sounds absolutely fantastic! Thanks for the positive review. I'll have to add this to my TBR list.

  3. Wow. Sounds a lot better than I expected.

  4. Great review! I, too, loved Firelight and your review is going to make a lot of people want to read it. :-)

  5. Awesome! I loved your review of this book. I already want to read it, and having read your review... am now really really wanting to read it. Great review Kari! :)

  6. Woot! Can't wait to read this one then! I didn't know that Jacinda lived in a semi-fantastical world-I assumed it was in the earlier ages (where there's no such thing as high school, haha.) But that's good to know...especially that her mother's in the book. I like when authors don't automatically kill off the parents. GENIAL review, Kari.

  7. I am DESPERATE for this book. I LOVE dragons!

  8. Thanks for the great review! This book is already on my wishlist!

  9. Yay! I'm so glad to hear that you liked it! It sounds wonderful! :)

  10. It sounds like I'm going to like this protagonist. Can't wait to read it--thanks for the awesome review :)

  11. So glad you loved Firelight! Sophie is an ACE writer.

  12. Great review!!! I think this book sounds incredibly... and your review makes me want this book even more! I can't wait!