Monday, 27 January 2014

Review: Fireblood by Trisha Wolfe

Title: Fireblood
Author: Trisha Wolfe
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Release Date: 26th November 2013
Source: Bought
Rating: 3 out of 5

Description: To save a kingdom, Zara must choose between a prince who could be the answer and a rising rebellion that threatens to take control. When Zara Dane is chosen to marry Prince Sebastian Hart, son of the man who ordered her father's capture, Zara knows she must fight to save everything she loves from ruin. Being betrothed to the prince means a life trapped behind the towering stone walls of the Camelot-forged realm. Under the watchful eye of the prince's first knight, Sir Devlan Capra, changing her future becomes difficult. When an unlikely rebel reveals the truth about the deadly secrets that fuel King Hart's twisted world, Zara's path to rescue her father becomes clouded by deception. The Rebels clear her path by forcing Zara's hand with an ultimatum: sway Prince Sebastian to join the Rebels, convincing him of his father's evil nature, or they will take him out. But Zara is uncertain about a future under the Rebels' command and where the prince's heart truly lies. She must decide who to trust, what to believe, and what she's truly fighting for before the king destroys all of Karm, including her heart.

Fireblood was a book that I went into with a lot of expectations. The premise sounded fantastic and Trisha Wolfe’s books always have a unique world with strong well-developed characters. Wolfe’s previous novel, The Kyzatham Chronicles’ was a book that I loved right from the start. However Fireblood was a little underwhelming despite its fresh unique dystopian setting. Fireblood is similar to other dystopias where society has reverted to an older time period and its traditions to preserve itself. In this case Fireblood is set in a society where the king has made everyone live by the traditions as set in Camelot by King Arthur.  

Zara Dane is chosen to marry Prince Sebastian Hart. But marrying Sebastian means marrying into the family that has caused her so much pain. It goes against everything she’s been taught. Zara needs to find away to escape in order to save herself but she stumbles upon a rebellion against King Hart. Now Zara has to choose between helping the rebels sway Sebastian to their side or risk losing it all.  The choice isn’t easy as Zara decides who to trust, what to believe and where her heart lies.  

The world building was one of the major problems I had with this book.  The society itself was very interesting with technology hidden away, jousting tournaments and Knights of the Round Table. It was the fact that the world building and rules incorporated into the society raised more questions than they answered.  The reasons behind why Camelot was chosen as an inspiration for this society was not addressed. Also the reasons behind the virus that caused society to live this way was not explained a really plausible way. In short I really didn’t buy into the world. I think that some of this stemmed from the fact that King Hart has a presence in the characters minds, but we do not get to know him as we only get glimpses of him through out the book.  The rebellion aspect of this story was the part that stood out.  There were multiple players involved in taking down the king and their loyalties were tested. There was a bit of deception and uncertainly that made Zara really question what she wanted to do. There is also plenty of sword action in this story.

Regardless of the world building there is one thing Wolfe always does well and that is the romance and character development. Zara is stubborn, headstrong and determined. She always rises up to any of the challenges thrown at her. She never gives up, even when her faith is being tested. She never gives up. Sir Devlan is assigned to guard and watch Zara. However he is more than what he seems. Devlan was a standard love interest. He was stoic at first and then later opens up as were learn more about him. He was supportive and kind when he needed to be but there was nothing incredibly special about him. The romance between Devlan and Zara was one that grows over time at a slow pace. Although there are hints at a love triangle, it is pretty clear where Zara’s feelings lie.

Sebastian was meant to be a bad boy with a redeemable soul. I understand that he was meant to be portrayed as being in conflict over his morals but overall he appeared to be cartoonish.  Zara’s biggest conflict is what she wants to do with Sebastian. She kept finding some redeeming quality in him and wanted to do right by him. However right from the beginning his actions showed a very different side of him that was hard to ignore.  There were massive hints to his true nature but Zara was too forgiving or ignorant of it. I just wanted to shake her.  In the end his sudden turn in personality was not shocking.

The ending also was very rushed with the consequences of the final battle not really being delved into. A lot happens towards the end of the book and not all of it is addressed. Overall Fireblood is a good book with strong characters and romance but it does have shaky world building and predictable villains.

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