By Sophie Jordan
*Warning: Minor Spoilers*
MY THOUGHTS: please do not tantalize me with a glimpse of a fascinating magical dragon world and then expect high school to be nearly as interesting.
Jacinda is a rare fire-breathing draki, or shape-shifting dragon. Her kind dwells in desert caves and are governed by a council. Since Jacinda can breathe fire, an ability prized among the draki, she is betrothed to Cassian, the son of the draki chief. Since Jacinda is “special,” her every move is constantly watched. She feels stifled by a life where she cannot even fly. For her kind always faces a threat from the dangerous Hunters, a group of humans who seek to capture and experiment on her species.
This book had a fantastic premise. I enjoyed the harrowing scene when Jacinda takes a forbidden flight with her friend. The idea of a shape-shifting dragon people was awesome. I even overlooked warning signs of Jacinda blindly overlooking the safety of her people in exchange for some flirty glances with Will, a rogue hunter, because the world-building promised a lot.
However, then Jacinda, her mother, and her sister have to flee and blend in with human society. The best place to appear normal? A high school. The hunter Will just happens to attend said high school. Let the banality and predictability begin.
I really would have preferred the book to focus on the dynamics of draki society. The high school terrain has already been extensively covered by countless other YA fantasy novels, and Jacinda’s time there contributed nothing exciting. I found Will plain and unengaging, and Jacinda, the super-cool fire-breathing dragon, barely uses her powers. She was prickly and abrasive, and not in an intriguing Girl With the Dragon Tattoo type way, but more in an immature annoying fashion. My favorite character was Cassian, the enemy’s son, who seemed to have more depth and had to negotiate difficult boundaries within the draki society. The hunters just did not present a threat to me. It’s hard to be worried about humans when you can shift into a dragon.
I have read the other two books in the series (Vanish and Hidden), and there is improvement and action. As such, I would recommend skimming through Firelight and then get to the other two. However, don’t expect the characters to really grow or surprise you.
Recommended for fans of: Stephanie Meyer and Colleen Houck
Upcoming Book Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White