09 December 2011

Blue Fire by Janice Hardy

Part fugitive, part hero, fifteen-year-old Nya is barely staying ahead of the Duke of Baseer’s trackers. Wanted for a crime she didn’t mean to commit, she risks capture to protect every Taker she can find, determined to prevent the Duke from using them in his fiendish experiments. But resolve isn’t enough to protect any of them, and Nya soon realizes that the only way to keep them all out of the Duke’s clutches is to flee Geveg. Unfortunately, the Duke’s best tracker has other ideas.  
Nya finds herself trapped in the last place she ever wanted to be, forced to trust the last people she ever thought she could. More is at stake than just the people of Geveg, and the closer she gets to uncovering the Duke’s plan, the more she discovers how critical she is to his victory. To save Geveg, she just might have to save Baseer—if she doesn’t destroy it first.

I liked this second installment, even if the writing gave me a little bit of trouble.

Janice Hardy seen through the eyes of her awesome blog, The Other Side of the Story, is a master at her craft.  The reason I picked up her series was because I was so impressed with her writing advice.  However, when I read Blue Fire, I found myself distracted by her writing.  Perhaps my expectations were lifted a little higher in light of her blogging prowess, but the moments I expected the writing to delve into and prolong were short, practically butchered.  The times where I expected rushing action came off rather flat.

On the writing style front, I was a tad bit disappointed.

The story, though, completely rocked.  I like Nya--she's a great character.  She has many personal faults but is a hero for all intents and purposes.  I love stories like that: Harry Potter-like stories where the main character doesn't set out to be a hero but is aimed that way because what they're wired to believe in and fight for is, in the eyes of the public, what makes them a hero.

Nya is also one of those character who just cannot catch a break.  This kind of story, where the characters are always the underdogs, really gets me to the edge of my seat.  I fear for Nya's safety and sanity every step of the way.  With every situation, I always ask myself, "What can go wrong?  What are the chances that it will go wrong?"

That's a great way to pull a reader in, which is why I am, again, so impressed with Janice Hardy's work.

The story is gritty and intense.  I loved the new relationships that were formed in this one, as well as the ones that were deepened.  My heart almost broke towards the end.

The incredible width and breadth of the world makes me think of Tamora Pierce.  Great detail and fantastic atmosphere.  Two thumbs up for worldbuilding.

A great installment, though lacking in the writing arena.  I've got Darkfall all fired up and ready to go.

Book Info:

  • pages - hardcover, 336
  • published - October 2010
  • publisher - Balzer + Bray
  • genre - fantasy
  • received via - Amazon :)
  • rating - 4/5
  • series - Healing Wars trilogy
    • The Shifter
    • Blue Fire
    • Darkfall