Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Fire Country by David Estes

Fadeout by Christina J Adams

Will I continue reading this series:
Still Undecided

"In a changed world where the sky bleeds red, winter is hotter than hell and full of sandstorms, and summer's even hotter with raging fires that roam the desert-like country, the Heaters manage to survive, barely."

I received this book for free in return my honest review. As soon as I read the synopsis for Fire Country I had a feeling it was going to be completely unlike anything I had ever read before, and on uniqueness it did not disappoint. From the dystopian world all the way down to a whole new slew of slang, Fire country has you on your toes from page one.
Siena is the 15 year old daughter of Roan, the next in line to be Head Greynote, leader of her people. Her father is cold and ruthless and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Even if it means sacrificing everyone who gets in his way, Siena included. She is also just moths away from turning 16 and becoming what all the female heaters do, a bearer. As a bearer it will be her duty to help keep the ever dwindling population alive by having one child every three years with whomever is chosen to be her call. 

Siena follows the laws of her people without question because for as long as she can remember she has been taught to obey the laws, to do what is for the greater good of her people because it is the only way they can survive. But as the book progresses Siena is forced to look more deeply not only at herself, but everyone around her and starts to question if anything she has been lead to believe is true at all.
While at first I found the dialect and obscure terms used in Fire Country to be confusing and a little hard to read, it wasn't long before I got the hang of it all and found it actually fit in really well with the tone of the story. I loved the way Siena would randomly have imaginary conversations with herself or inanimate objects too. I don't really know why, I guess there is just something funny about a scene where a girl has a conversation with what is essentially a cactus.

I loved how both Siena and Circ were written, especially how their friendship blossoms into something more throughout the story without either of them realising exactly when they made the transition from best friends to so much more.
I thought for the most part the storyline was really well paced and held plenty of twists and turns to keep me turning page after page to find out what was happening next. Including one twist that came so completely out of nowhere I literally had no idea it was coming and immediately both hated to keep reading because of it, but just had to keep reading because of it too. And for anyone who has read Fire Country, I'm sure you know exactly which part I am talking about.
There were a couple of downsides for me though, first being the lack of description of the world. I would have loved to know more about what had happened to the world that it got to how it was,or about the world in general. I found myself and a few different points not quite understanding what the animal or thing was in front of her because it just wasn't explained. But most importantly I would have loved to know why they only lived to 30 or so before dyeing. You are told they get sick from constantly breathing in the heat etc. but I found myself wondering why? What exactly was it about the air that caused them all to get sick?

Also, and this one is purely just me being picky, but I couldn't help but cringe at the names for each race. Fire country where it's always hot, Ice country where it's always cold, Glass People live in their glass bubble. I just found it a little bit too cliche. But not enough to stop me from reading, just enough for me to kind of roll my eyes a little and giggle and then move on.

My final general spoiler free gripe would have to be that it felt like the ending was a little bit too rushed and too perfect. I felt like the entire book had been well thought out and detailed and then all of a sudden the whole ending was packed into one nice neat little package with a big red bow on top.

Okay first and foremost, the part where Circ dies, oh my... wow! I was literally gasping thinking NO! And then the eternal optimist in me was screaming no she didn't see the body maybe he's not dead, boy was I so glad that I was right on that one!

The end battle really had me confused. Not the actual scene, but what the point of it was. I mean I understand the whole tribe is of just women and they go to help the heaters only because they know that without them there is no future generation for them, and then the marked men show up. Call me crazy but I'm pretty sure it would have been way easier for them all to just walk away from the heaters and let them rot. One tribe of all women and another of all men would make for plenty of future generation in my book!

I really disliked the part where Siena's father dies. Not because he died, but because it just seemed so anti climactic. There was no big fight scene where she gets to stand up to him and beat him, there is a just a scene where for some reason you are never told he is on his deathbed and deciding to tell her Circ is still alive. I found it really un satisfying as an ending to that part of the story. 

I wasn't a big fan of how Circ is brought back into it. I just felt like it could have been more detailed, more believable than he agreed to fake his death and work out at confinement to save her life. I mean the town wasn't that big, surely the next time anyone was in confinement and went back to town they'd be able to mention that the dead guy was not in fact dead.

To sum up, I thought it was a great story line, the characters were fantastic and the twists and turns of the plot line up until the very end were anything but predictable. With the exception of the ending being a little rushed and too tidy I thought it was a really great read and definitely deserving of my 3.5 heart review.

I'm still undecided on whether or not I will continue reading the series, not because I didn't enjoy the first book but because the first book was finished so neatly I just don't have a reason to pick up the next book. There was no cliffhanger or big drama at the end of the first book that would usually guarantee me picking up the second to find out what happened next. The ending of book one felt almost like the ending of a stand alone novel so I almost feel like I could not read the rest of the series and it wouldn't be too horrible. But of course as always, you never know what will happen in a few months time, I may catch myself wondering exactly what will happen to Sienna next and reaching for book number two.


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