Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Sophie Jordan

The first book in Sophie Jordan's Firelight series introduces us to Jacinda and the world of draki.  Draki are descendants of dragons with the ability to shapeshift to human form, their greatest defense from those who hunt them.  This book begins in full fantasy mode as Jacinda enjoys spreading her wings and flying with another draki, only to be pursued by dragon hunters, barely escaping.  In fact, the only reason Jacinda was able to escape is because the human hunting her threw the others off her trail, a human she felt a connection with.  Jacinda is confused by her encounter, but doesn't have long to dwell on it, as her mother forces her and her twin sister to leave the draki's hidden sanctuary in the middle of the night, and move to blend in with humans "for her protection."  Jacinda has been branded special ever since her abilities have manifested.  Almost all drakis manifest a particular ability, whether it be to be able to thrive underwater or turn invisible, and Jacinda managed to manifest what no dragon has in a very long time: she is a fire-breather.  Her people see her as very important for their future, meanwhile her twin sister never manifested at all, and sees this new change in surroundings to be the chance she's waited for: to be normal.  Jacinda at first finds her new home to be brash and horrible, but that all changes when she meets Will at her high school, the hunter who helped her escape from the draki-hunters, whom she remains inexplicably drawn to.  Much like with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, hunter and hunted are drawn together, although Jacinda does all she can to protect her secret from Will, and his hunter family, and guard the one secret the hunters don't know about draki yet - their ability to change into human form.  Firelight is quite a fast-paced thrilling read.  That fantasy aspect is there, but this story very quickly morphs into a paranormal romance with the spirited sort of female protagonist readers didn't get in Twilight.  The draki history and hints of other aspects to the story, such as their natural enemies whom they know little about, could keep this rich premise going for several books to come.  I really enjoyed Jacinda and Will's relationship, and really all of the main characters are pretty fully-realized and fun to spend time with, with even some one-note secondary characters coming into their own by the book's end.  There were some revelations that you could see coming a long way away, and some things hinted at that you have to wonder why Jacinda never got clarification for until it was conveniently revealed at the perfect moment, but overall, Jordan does a pretty good job of maintaining suspense all the way throughout this novel.  The ending left a tad bit to be desired, with several loose ends.  It's more of an abrupt ending than usual for a book like this, and it's a shame that this book has to suffer for the sake of the larger series, but I'm sure most readers won't mind as soon as the next installment rolls out.  Firelight is definitely the sort of book that paranormal romance readers will eat up, ravenously.  It's original, exciting and leaves you wanting more.

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