Series Review: Fire Spirits by Samantha Young
Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Overall Rating – 4 Skulls: B+
Samantha Young is better known for her popular contemporary romance novel On Dublin Street, but she is also a prolific writer of Young Adult Urban Fantasy. Today we bring you reviews of the first 3 books in her Fire Spirits series, so you can enjoy them before April’s release of the latest installment – Darkness, Kindled.
Smokeless Fire surprised me. I got it as a freebie so my expectations were low. Big mistake. The world building was intricate, the plot was engaging without being convoluted and the characters were full of depth, the kind you can understand even when you don’t agree with their actions.
Ari is apparently a normal girl. She’s having second thoughts about going to college and feels alienated and alone, specially because she’s dealing with her friend Charlie and his substance abuse problems. She’s been in love with him for years but she doesn’t know how to help him overcome his self destructive habits. She’s very loyal so I could understand why she gave Charlie the time of day even when he was an asshat. And let me tell you, the things Charlie does to her tell you right away he’s not the guy for her.
Enter Jai, a Jinn guardian and all around hot stuff. He’s charged to protect Ari once is discovered that she’s very important. The plot centers around the conflicts among the different Jinn Kings and how unbeknownst to her, Ari is at the center of it all. She’s frightened, upset and has no idea who she can trust in a world of mythical beings with special powers. I know next to nothing about Jinn mythology so I liked this world of chaos and balance.
As it’s common in YA, there is a love triangle but it’s somewhat different than the ones I’ve seen before. For once, both guys don’t give her the time of day and she’s the one interested in both (at the beginning she’s after one, at the end she likes the other.) Neither wants a relationship with her for reasons of their own. Yes, they like her but both feel they are not the right for her.
Overall, a great beginning to a series, specially for those who like their Urban Fantasy with a healthy dose of romance.
Scorched Skies is one of those books where you understand where the characters are coming from but you still find their behavior annoying. It’s centered around Ari’s relationships and the pain of rejection and loss. Her father makes a terrible confession that hurts her deeply and she has to deal with the fallout. In this book, the conflicts with the love triangle are more prominent, as Charlie wakes up and realizes his feelings for Ari, at the time when she turns her eye towards Jai.
The conflict in this book is not as exciting as the first one because a lot of the action centers around the emotional turmoil. I wanted to pummel Jai until he was blue in the face. If I known more of his thought process, maybe I would have been more patient with him but I felt so bad for Ari. I was really glad when she decided to be in charge of her destiny.
This author definitely knows how to write sexual tension. Even though this was YA and all, you could almost see sparks flying when Jai and Ari where in the same room. If you want to get the adult version of the club scene, just read it from Jai’s POV – I don’t mean that it was explicit, just that listening to Jai’s thoughts and feelings on the matter made everything more raw. Definitely a must read if you were dissatisfied with this book as I was. This will give you something to tide you over until you read Borrowed Ember.
Borrowed Ember caught me off guard. The first part focused on Ari’s and Jai’s relationship (scorching!) and just when I started wondering if the author knew where she was going, the overall story arc coalesced and the tale became darker, full of loss, disappointment, grief and heartache.
I was shocked by some developments that didn’t turn out as I thought, specially with Charlie. I don’t want to give you spoilers, but just know that in this book he shows his priorities and what kind of man he really is.
I loved the relationship between Ari and Jai, how they understood and supported one another. Ari seemed too mature and understanding of Jai’s foibles at times, but then she’s had to grow fast so it’s not completely outside her character. They were also so hot together! Nothing explicit happens – this is YA after all – but what there was, was scorching. *fans self*
The book ended with a terrible choice for Ari so the reader is sure that whatever follows in the next book will bring her a lot of pain. At least we won’t have to wait too long to find out.
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