Firelight Book Review


Title: Firelight
Series: Book #1 in the Firelight trilogy
Author: Sophie Jordan
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: September 7, 2010
Genres: Young Adult – Urban Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 323
Format: Purchased Paperback

“Firelight” by Sophie Jordan is my TBR Jar Challenge book of the month (reread a favorite book), and so I reread it and enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time. This story is about a girl named Jacinda and how she and her family, among others, are descendants of dragons, called draki. They are able to shift into dragon form (mostly dragon) either on command or when they’re having a heightened sense of emotion, such as fear. But one day when Jacinda and her best friend, Az, go out for a morning flight – which is forbidden in fear of being caught – they are chased by hunters and almost struck down. Jacinda lures them away while Az hides and comes face to face with a hunter: Will. But he doesn’t harm her; in fact, he’s struck by her beauty.

But then when her pride finds her later, they are furious, as her mother. Though she is the only fire-breather to have been born in generations, they won’t hold back on their punishments. And her mother knows just what the pride will do to Jacinda for disobeying the rules. So her mother decides to uproot her and her twin sister, Tamra, out of the safety of the pride to a desert region where Jacinda will most likely lose her draki because there is no fresh air, coolness of mist, or anything really lively about the land they move to. And her mother knew it.

And then things start getting really interesting when Will attends the school they two girls now attend.

Okay, so as far as plot goes, I love this story. The fact that it’s about dragons is really cool in and of itself, and just the overall concept I find intriguing. There’s romance, there’s some action… I mean, I like it a lot.

Jacinda, herself, is a… well, she’s often a whiny character and goes back and forth on what she wants or what she should do fairly often. It can be annoying, but I also understand that she is a sixteen year old who just had her life ripped away from her and her mother is trying to kill off a very large part of her. So really, I understand her gripe. If I were put in her position, I’d probably do the same thing. She doesn’t really go through extensive character development until the next two books in the trilogy, but this was a good start to get to know her and who she is as a person and a draki.

Will is the boy who hunted her but didn’t kill her, finding her beautiful and unable to do what everyone else wants him to do. He’s a kind guy with a good heart, and though he was sick before, he has a way to survive now that makes him very valuable to his family of hunters. He is instantly drawn to Jacinda when she arrives in his town, and she is instantly drawn to him, though they don’t know why or really understand it until much later in the book. When you find out why, though, it’s shocking (even though I already knew it since I had read the trilogy before).

Tamra, Jacinda’s twin sister, is a defunct draki – she never manifested, never gained any power, so she feels isolated and all alone in the pride. When they move to the new town she’s able to make a new life for herself and make friends and do other kinds of activities that were otherwise not welcome to her back in the pride. She’s much more hot headed than Jacinda, in my opinion, but she’s strong in her own way.

There are other characters that make appearances in this book, but they make more appearances that I can talk about in the upcoming books later on. For now, just know that I’m not a big fan of any of them, really. Except Nidia and Az, they’re cool.

My biggest peeve with this book was the writing style. The sentences are short and choppy, and where there easily could have been a single stream of thought was cut short and make smaller by these small sentences. It was actually really annoying. I often found myself just stringing the sentences together in my head because I felt that was the only way that they made sense to me. Otherwise, I enjoyed the fast pace plot of the book, I really enjoyed the romance, and I just thought that the overall concept was cool.

So, let me compare my first read through to now in terms of rating:

Before: 5/5 stars hand down.

Now: 4/5 stars, mostly because of the writing and some other things (such as Jacinda’s whiny voice) that played a factor into this rating.

I still really enjoyed the book, though, and recommend it if you’re into dragons and romance.

Genre: Fantasy

I love fantasy. I always have, really. Being able to read about another world with people who go through similar or more difficult trials than we do in real life is always fun, and reading about the creatures that are often placed into fantasy books always draws me in, as well.

Fantasy isn’t just constricted to high fantasy though, a term that means that it’s set in a whole other universe that there are few similarities to our world, and can include magic, mythical beings, sorcery, etc.

There is also low fantasy, which includes a tale written in our own world, but includes some form of magic or some other telling aspect that makes it fantasy.

There are more sub-genres of fantasy, but let me focus on those two for now.

High fantasy is my preferred story to read. Not only do I get to read about the characters in that setting, I get to imagine that world that the author created and built from the ground up in their minds. It’s incredible to think about. Imagine having to come up with your own system of magic, landscape, society, culture, etc. It’s mind blowing and it makes me feel kind of giddy inside.

Some books that I would recommend that involve high fantasy are:

  • The “Throne of Glass” series by Sarah J Maas. This is a six book YA fantasy series in which the first three books are out. It involves a kickass female assassin named Celaena Sardothian, an evil king, the king’s son, a royal guard, and lot of forbidden elements that fit into this world of no magic. “What? No magic?” It was banished by the king and as you read you find out why it was banished and how. It’s my favorite series to date, so why would I mention it?
  • The Ice Dragon” & “A Song of Ice and Fire” series by George R.R. Martin. As very popular books, it only fits to mention this series and a companion novel. Set in a world of royals, peasants, kings, and lots of blood and sex, this series is definitely high fantasy. Not only does it include swords, political intrigue, lots of fighting, etc, it includes creatures that are only seen in nightmares, and dragons. Can’t forget the dragons. It’s a very long series, but it’s engaging. I haven’t finished it yet as I’m still working on the first book. I have read and done a review on “The Ice Dragon.”
  • The Lord of the Rings” series by J.R.R. Tolkien. As a modern classic this trilogy is an epic fantasy adventure with hobbits, wizards, elves, dwarves, ogres, men, etc. Though I haven’t read the books in their entirety yet, I do plan to this year. I have seen the movies, though, so yay for references!

There are plenty more series I could list, but those give just an example of what high fantasy can be considered as.

Now for low fantasy, I personally think more of these exist than high fantasy, especially in YA. There are plenty of adult high fantasy novels, but there are also low fantasy ones. A few examples are:

  • The Iron Fey” series by Julie Kagawa. Though the setting mostly takes place in faerie, parts of the story take place in the real world, especially when it gets to the second and third book. It’s a story about faeries, a girl who discovers the truth about herself, love, danger, and more.
  • The “Firelight” trilogy by Sophie Jordan. This is a trilogy about dragons and love and the dangers of being a dragon in our world. With the magical aspect of dragons that can change into humans, but are being hunted by humans, it makes for a great low fantasy trilogy to read.
  • The “Vampire Academy” series by Richelle Mead. This series is about vampires (duh) that live in our world, but their society is set apart from ours. There are different classifications of vampires and humans and it includes romance, action, and danger. I haven’t finished this whole series, but I figured I’d still list it.

So those are a few examples of low fantasy books, but there are obviously many more books that include many different situations and everything other than what I’ve listed above.

Now I didn’t include sci-fi in this list because I believe that it deserves its own post, which will be coming soon!

I also didn’t include graphic novels or manga in these lists because there are so many different kinds that I wouldn’t know where to begin… Well, except with some of my favorites, but that’s for another post.

Fantasy is one of those genres that I believe will always flourish because there seems to be a need to escape the real world and reach out to ones that don’t (or might) exist.

What are some of your favorite fantasy books? Do you prefer high fantasy or low fantasy? Series, standalones, trilogies? Let me know in the comments!