Author: Karsten Knight
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing
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.
When I started this book, I was worried it would take a couple of weeks to finish, and that by the end I would be forcing myself to finish it. I wasn’t really expecting much, and was kind of dreading starting it when I had some other books I wanted to read. I am so glad that I gave it a chance though, because not only did I find myself interested, but it involved mythology! Okay, that was kind of easy to figure out based on the synopsis (after all, it does come right out and say that there’s a group of gods and goddesses at Ash’s school), but I didn’t realize how much it would fit into the story. After all, so many YA books ‘involve’ mythology by taking characters from ancient myths, especially from Greek myths, but then twisting them completely and not bothering to pay attention to what happens in the original myths. This story involves many gods and goddesses from different cultures, like an Egyptian goddess and a Norse god.
The story went by pretty fast. The chapters are really long – I think the shortest one is about 30 or 40 pages, at least, but that probably helped me read faster, because it would take so long to read a chapter that, by the time I reached the end, I figured I might as well read the next one to see what happens. I had a few minor problems – the main one was how Karsten Knight would randomly switch between calling his protagonist ‘Ashline’ and ‘Ash,’ which could be very annoying since the book is in third person. I also noticed a lot of metaphors and similes – that’s not necessarily a bad thing, although some were stranger than others.
The ending had plenty of twists that I didn’t expect at all, including a huge one at the end involving Ash and her ‘hot, local park ranger.’ It made me sad to see how some things ended, but hopefully the next book will take all the things I loved about this book without hurting some of the characters I liked as well. The characters were some of the best parts of this book, especially Ash’s fellow gods and goddesses. The complexities of the relationship between Ash and her sister was interesting as well, although I was a bit disappointed in how that ended in this book. I can’t wait to read the next book, though, and maybe things will get better on that front. Other than that, I didn’t find many problems in this interesting debut.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars