Saturday, February 02, 2013

REVIEW: On it's way to be a roaring FIRE by HEATHER JAMES


Fire (Elements of Power, #1)

by Heather James


Published January 5, 2013 by Heather James
Find a copy for .99¢ at Amazon

3.7 Stars (Rounded to 4 on Goodreads)

Is control over the elements a gift, or a curse?

Roxy thinks that she is in control of everything: with flames flaring at her fingertips and an equally fiery attitude, what more could she need? But then she meets Brae, a prince from a rival Realm, who turns her assumptions of superiority upside down.

Jasmine has none of Roxy’s confidence or intensity. But she does have a secret - and Brae - and she’s not going to give either up willingly.
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Visions of 'The Last Airbender' danced through my brain while I read this novel. That's not a bad thing but it was somewhat distracting. James envelopes us in a rich, lush new world consisting of element worshipping nations with supernatural abilities to match. It is an interesting world, but confusing as to level of technology. My first impression was more medieval then futuristic technology is introduced, leaving me conflicted. 

Jazz and Brae had intense emotional connection. One scene in particular had me reaching for the tissues. There really was not enough time and dialog between the two in my opinion. The relationship needed to be cultivated and tended to and we are thrust into the rest of the story before we get a good grasp on their feelings. The love triangle introduced was expected and forced. It really isn't necessary in my opinion. Roxy is irritating, disturbing but at the same time surprisingly flat. You get more of her background later in the story but it is not enough to make a connection or generate interest. Brae seemed like an impressive character up till the end. What a twit! He seriously made me want to jump into the book a whoop his sorry butt. 

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The beginning was languishing and suffered from an ill attempt to jump right into the story. Part of the problem was it was dragging along a lot of explanations. There were a good deal of typos (they were on a bike, then a car, then it was a bike again) and some grammatical errors that diminished my reading experience. Once we stuck on Jazz's POV before the trip is where things got interesting. The pace was sputtering a bit and came to an awkward and abrupt halt. Really... the ending was like someone getting slapped with duct tape over their mouth in the middle of a conversation. I couldn't tell if she was trying to tidy the book up in case there wasn't a second installment or if she was trying to make a dramatic cliff hanger. Either way, it didn't seem to work the way she wanted. Confession: it did make me turn the page and wish there was more... so it did reel me in for another book.

There was a cliff mentioned over and over and I was disappointed that it never materialized. I thought she could make the surprise happen with it incorporated thus making the surprise more dramatic. As it was, what ended up happening was expected and boring. We don't get any closer to realizing Jazz's parentage, though one very brief scene may set the stage for more information. 

There is a great deal of promise here. Most of the characters could shine if they get polished with enough elbow grease. Jazz is the furthest along but Imogen, Avery, Brody, Cam and Brae.. let's face it, the rest of the ensemble cast all need flushing out. James created a fascinating world and it is obvious she spent time and effort to work on the details. Being a huge fan of supernatural abilities, the fire throwing was right up my ally. I'll let you in on a little secret... my favorite character as a child was Firestorm (and Ice Man) who fought with SpiderMan. I used to chase the boys on the playground pretending to throw fire balls at them when they made me mad. So you'd think my favorite character would be Roxy. Alas, no.

Be that as it may, I was drawn to the idea, the supernatural abilities and the connection between Jazz and Brae. James is adept at character development, but at 197 pages, I felt it was rushed and needed more length to simmer the plot. The descriptive vocabulary needs to be diversified. If you enjoy world-building, supernatural abilities, diplomatic intrigue, mysteries and touches of romance then you will enjoy FIRE. Though it is a bit rough around the edges, Heather James is well on her way to creating a fascinating series. My hope is that we'll get a longer second novel that's more polished and refined. The star here is Jazz, who completely sucked me in and I don't think she'll let go anytime soon. So bring on book two and let's see what happens next!