Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Review: FIRELIGHT by Sophie Jordan

Jacinda is a member of the draki…beings descended from dragons.  She appears human most of the time, but now and then her inner-dragon manifests itself, allowing her to stretch her wings…literaly.  Her pride lives separately from humans deep in the Cascade Mountains under the heavy cloak of magic fog.  One morning while taking a flight around the forest with her friend, she is attacked by hunters…a group of humans who know about the draki and hunt them for the wealth that their hides and blood will bring. 
When a teenage hunter traps Jacinda in a cave, she fears her life is over.  Instead, the boy seems in awe of her and lets her go, protecting her from discovery.  As the pride’s only fire-breather, the pride wants to teach her a harsh lesson for her protection, but her mother sneaks Jacinda and her twin sister away in the night to go live among the humans.
Now Jacinda finds herself trying to fit in to a human high school and failing miserably.  The only bright spot is Will, the young hunter who let her live.  He doesn’t recognize her in her human form, but is drawn to her through an unexplainable bond.  She must decide whether her feelings for Will are worth the risk that getting close to a hunter can bring to her and her family. 
I loved the author’s take on the dragon myths.  We aren’t given a lot of details about how dragons evolved into draki, but the idea that these beings could exist in the modern world is thrilling. 
Jacinda is a fun character, but flawed.  She is genuinely a strong girl.  I say ‘genuinely’ because there is a disturbing trend in YA where the female character is a total pushover, but every once in a while, the author makes a point in telling you how strong she is.  It’s like if they say it enough, the reader will believe it.  In Jacinda’s case, we see her struggles to suppress her draki, while at the same time fighting to keep it alive.  This inner-conflict tells a lot about her character. 

While her strength is admirable, Jacinda has a strong selfish streak that can be off-putting to some readers.  Because her sister Tamra never manifested, she is treated as an outcast by the pride, and she has to watch on as Jacinda is fawned over.  When their mother moves them to the human world, it is Tamra’s turn to shine, but Jacinda gives little thought to her sister’s needs…she only wants to go back home.  She is also very angry with her mother for moving them away from the pride, even though her mother was only acting to protect both of her daughters.  While Jacinda is selfish, I think this is common among young people and it will give her character room to grow in future books. 
My favorite character is Will.  He is filled with compassion and courage.  In his family of hunters, Will is both revered and an outcast.  A brush with death in his youth left him with an ability to sense draki, making him the most powerful of the hunters, but he doesn’t want that mantle bestowed on him.  It will be interesting how Will’s situation plays out in the end. 
Overall, I give Firelight
Plot- 4 bookmarks
Character Development- 4 bookmarks
Love Story- 4 1/2 bookmarks
World Building/Mythos- 5 bookmarks
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) -A young Amy Adams (Jacinda/Tamra), Josh Hutcherson (Will), Kellan Lutz (Casius)

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