News: My thoughts are clouds I cannot fathom into pastries.

--1 June 2018--

Quote: Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest of hearts. --Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

The Fellowship

December 12, 2017

{A Review} - Book of Fire by Michelle Kenney

I have a review for you folks today. I should have done this months ago, but I've been dreadfully busy. What with bandying around various topics related to musculature and human anatomy with my undergraduate students and abstaining my reckless hand from printing out my scientific manuscripts, dipping them in whiskey, and lightning them on fire (I can daydream, right?). 

To keep everybody happy and avoid rippling the water too much with my sudden reappearance, I offer you a delightful 8tracks mix of glorious Celtic songs made by ladyebelmont (I have no idea who said Lady is but her mix is fantastic). Have a listen (or three hundred) and go slay your work/school/laundrypile :) 


I received an ecopy of the Book of Fire by Michelle Kenney for free from HQ Digital via Netgalley in return for an honest review. This story falls under the following categories: fantasy, fiction, science fiction, post-apocalyptic, and includes references to Roman mythology and gladiator culture. 

The synopsis taken from the book reads as follows: 

Life outside the domes is not possible. At least that's what Insiders are told.
Twins Eli and Talia shouldn't exist. They're Outsiders. Their home is a secret. Their lives are a secret. Arafel is a secret. An unexpected forest raid forces Talia into a desperate mission to rescue her family while protecting the sacred Book of Arafel from those who would use it as a weapon. As Talia and her lifelong friend Max enter the dome, she makes some unexpected discoveries and an ally - in the form of rugged Insider August - that will change the course of her life for ever. She'll stop at nothing to save her family but will she sacrifice her heart in the process? The Fire Sermon meets Gladiator in this brilliant YA debut. 

I was ready for a great science fiction, post-apocalyptic read, so I was thrilled when I received this book. Reading the synopsis gave me slight concern, however, as any author describing their male protagonist as "rugged" or their female protagonist as potentially "sacrificing her heart" makes me think it's going to be a slinky kind of romance. Readers, I am not into slinky romances (take note). Thankfully, that was not the case - there was romance, but didn't take center stage, and therefore I enjoyed the book far more than I anticipated after reading the synopsis. 

It is a little misleading though - there is very little written about Eli, Max, or the Book of Arafel. The majority of the tale follows Talia (female protagonist) and her interactions with various individuals both outside and inside the dome. I do have to say, Michelle did a fine job of introducing us to the unique culture of Arafel and its people, before sweeping us away into a sterilized (or not so sterilized) world. Arafel fascinated me and I wanted to read much more about the land outside the dome, but we never get more than a tantalizing taste. I suppose I should be happy to hear there is a second book on the way! 

With that being said, let's break it down through my list before I give too much away. 
  • Goodies: Fantastic action scenes (fight scenes, running scenes, etc etc). Roman mythology. Mythical beasts 😮. August (male protagonist *swoon*). Unique world development (including names, weapons, tech). Genetics. Close calls. Did I mention amazing action scenes??! 😮 Mystery chambers.
  • Character Development: (2/5) Okay, so the only reason I'm giving this a 2 out of 5 for character development is because the only one showing any semblance of changing throughout the entire story is Talia. I really expected August, the villain, and some of the supporting cast to develop as well and they really didn't. It was a little disappointing because by the end of it, I could predict what each character would do (and they subsequently did it) because they were following a generic action plot. August was delightful though (and dashing) so I'll stop poking him, but really the development could have been far better.
  • Content Snatchery: (3/5) I was debating whether I should give it a 4 or a 3 and had to settle for a 3 simply because the introduction to the story was slow and awkward to my eyes. It seemed to me as if Michelle's writing voice significantly improved over the tale; if I had a say in the matter, I would suggest a thorough re-write of the introduction to ensure it matches the end voice. However, I won't hassle too much here because oh my gosh were her action scenes on point. I loved them very much and expect that in book 2 they'll be even better! So, if you're picking this book up, give it a while to grow on you (because if you like sci-fi you should enjoy this one).
  • Boring Parts: (minimal) As mentioned above, Book of Fire has great action scenes. They were appropriately spaced apart. Its almost as if the reader rides the wave of one scene straight to the next, and the lull is perfect before the action hits again. This does make the story a little predictable and you can kind of expect when something "shocking" is going to happen, but it certainly isn't a boring read!
  • Romance: (yes but it was awesome) As expected, Talia and August will indeed experience the stereotypical flame throughout the story. I initially expected it to be a tacky romance with awkward and lecherous scenes interspersed between the action to keep the readership engaged (and I hate that folks). However, it was not like that at all, much to my glee. There were moments of tackiness, but I actually didn't mind the romance going on here because it never truly took center stage away from the main plot. Also, August (assuming he shows some development in book 2 and isn't such a hulking, handsome chess piece) was a dear and I didn't mind that he kept showing up to banter with Talia. It kind of reminded me a little of Divergent's Tris and Four (but I don't think August is as witty as Four....yet...who knows how he'll develop - I'd like to see more of him).
  • My eyes are sweating: (3/5) There were some tear-worthy scenes, but surprisingly for me, the ones that got me the most involved little animals </3 I love adorable baby fluffy animals in books, and any time they are put in danger my eyes sweat with fear (gosh, that was an awful visual, haha). I really hope these fluffy little littles will make a debut in book 2 because WE NEED MORE FLUFFY CUTE THINGS IN LIFE. I need more fluffy cute things. [This is reminding me that I really need to change my fish's tank water today... poor thing, I'm such a negligent parent]

All in all, I quite enjoyed Book of Fire. It wasn't perfect, but it was unique and I love reading a unique tale that isn't some dramatic fanfiction-esque spin off of a different book. The synopsis got it right by saying this darling can be compared to Gladiator; I'd also like to suggest it is along the same vein as Divergent and (on a lesser scale - simply because of the mythology) The Percy Jackson series 😃 Do I recommend it? Yes! If you like sci-fi and post-apocalyptic stuff with some epic creatures and romance then this might just be a book for you! 

{Rating} - 3/5 stars

Interested in purchasing a copy of this book? See the following links for more details! 

Goodreads     Amazon     Barns & Nobles     Indigo     Harper Collins

Want to find out more about Michelle Kenney, the author of this unique novel? Check out her social media below :) 

Twitter     Facebook     Wordpress

I'm in a rather piratey/viking warlord sort of mood at the moment. Perhaps I'll have to do a spin off on that over Christmas break :) and yes, I am taking a good long Christmas break this year. My brain can't handle any more that it already is...or it'll melt into the floor and crawl away from me at mock-chicken *wipes brow*. Heave ho, here we go.

Signed with rainfire,


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