Friday, July 1, 2011

YA Fantasy: Wildefire by Karsten Knight

Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Date: July 26, 2011
Format: ARC
Acquired: won from publisher's giveaway
Read: for review
Pages: 393
Reading time: three days

From GoodReads: 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.

My review: Wildefire has the potential to be a great book and a great series. The plotline, though a bit slow in places, holds interest, and this first book sets up a ton of exciting possibilities for sequels. The characters are interesting and diverse; students at a prep school, they come from American, Canadian, Haitian, Egyptian, Japanese, and Polynesian backgrounds, as reflected by the pantheon they eventually find themselves to be part of. The story's creative and engaging, and the future books in the series have soooo many directions they could go in. But...the book was almost ruined for me because of some of the characterizations. Ash and her friends are high school sophomores, yet they're drinking and sleeping around with the maturity of adults who are used to that lifestyle. And for all the weird troubles their powers as gods/goddesses have brought them, you'd think that they'd behave less like stereotypical rich kids. It seemed like Knight was trying to combine two completely different storylines into the novel, the rich snotty prep school students and the confused teens trying to figure out the fantasy world  they've suddenly been thrust into. Maybe the two can be compatible, but in this case it didn't work.

Maturity Factor: Implied sex and profanity.


  1. Very nice review. I like how you touched on the different elements. It's a shame all those "mature" elements were included. One of the reasons I like YA so much is because they tend to be cleaner reads, so it's really disappointing to see YA becoming racier like this.

  2. The content's still not as bad as many books written for adults (the raciness is mostly implied, not graphic), and I think it wouldn't have bothered me quite as much if the characters were at least a few years older. My sophomore year was less than two years ago, and we did not think and act anything like these sophomores.

  3. I'm not sure what I expected from Wildefire...I saw the rave reviews, but I still wasn't completely convinced. The premise sounded a little been there, done that to me. Wow, was I wrong. I discovered from page 1 that this book was something different. Wildefire is something awesome.