Series Review: Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Series: Firelight Trilogy
Author: Sophie Jordan
# of Books: 3 (Firelight, Vanish, Hidden)

There is a spin-off novella that takes place after Hidden called Breathless

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Heat Rating: getting warm
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

It took me a really long time to finish the series. I actually contemplated not reading the last book (Hidden) when I had it in my hands (for the 5th time it seemed) but when I saw the size of it, I knew I could read it in 2 hours and 2 hours to finish a series I invested double the time into was “worth” it. And to an extent it was–but it is important to start this review from the start.

I started this series right when Firelight came out. This means I was still a teenager and my threshold level for idiotic heroines was a lot higher than it is now. If I were to read Firelight now, I probably would enact my 50-page rule and drop this series all because of Jacinda.

Jacinda is a very hard character to like. She’s vain, selfish, hypocritical and simply annoying. Perhaps the most redeeming quality to her is that she cares for her family–occasionally. I just did not like her and that really throws me off a series–especially when it’s that character telling the story from a first person POV so you have to spend time in their head.

But because I was younger when I read Firelight, I actually didn’t mind it. Part of the reason is the overall concept of the book. If you ignore the love-struck whinny heroine, the premise of the book is really neat. It isn’t everyday that a novel targeted for girls features dragons and as much as I dislike Jacinda, I liked that she was the paranormal creature for once and not her love interest. I don’t particularly like werewolf books so it was a nice change to read about dragons–and Ms. Jordan does this part of the book very well. So while the plot is nothing overtly original, when you strip it down to the basic premise the world it takes place in was interesting for me and that is what held my attention.

Just a note on Ms. Jordan’s writing: when you read her young adult novels it’s obvious that she writes adult romance novels. Her style reminds me a lot of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s (who also writes YA and adult romance novels) in that the romance details are a little more “spicy” than the typical YA novel. This doesn’t mean there are extensive love scenes but there is a lot more talk of sex and more heated kissing descriptions than the average YA novel.

Book 2, Vanish, is where I really started to dislike this series. I honestly couldn’t tell you what happened in this book–it came back to me a bit when I read the description of Hidden and a little more as I was reading Hidden (Jordan does a good job of refreshing details in the sequels). But I spent the vast majority of the book being mad at Jacinda because, low and behold, we get the another Book 2 Curse: the love triangle “climax” plot. UGH. And this love triangle is just as bad as Twilight‘s. Jacinda also suffers from Bella-Swan-I-can’t-live-without-him syndrome with both boys and to be honest I’m not sure why. Her “interaction” with Will in the first book isn’t enough to fall in love with him (in my opinion) and I’m not sure why she likes him (or him her) to be honest. I think it has something to do with biology (if you do read these books, you can probably see what I am talking about) and nothing else. They have nothing in common and because of that I just didn’t see the connection. So, I think it is obvious that I am team Cassian and I’ve been team Cassian since the get-go. I see them together more so than her and Will for a few reasons but I think it simply comes down to the fact that they are better suited for each other. The love triangle in this series is the prime example of why I can’t stand them in novels and it’s right beside Twilight for worst love triangle ever…but I digress.

I know you are probably thinking: this book probably has a lot of action considering Jacinda is a dragon and Will’s family hunts them. Well, that is a wrong assumption though I totally had the same thought. While there is some exciting “events” this isn’t an action series by any means. There is a lot more action in Hidden than the other 2 novels–which made it more enjoyable to read–but don’t think there are going to be some epic battles. The action is quite tame and isn’t a huge part of the plot lines.

warning

As I said, Hidden was a lot faster paced (might have been because I was skimming it as well…) but I still found it frustrating to read because Jacinda was in full hypocrite, I-love-him-but-I-love-him-too mode. I have to write about a spoiler here because it’s bursting to come out of me: ( you can’t feel guilty about nearly killing a man who was about to kill you and then feel no guilt–and SAY SO–when a guy who tormented you dies by the hand of someone else because he was attacking that someone. WTF!? Do you hear yourself when you think these ridiculous thoughts in your head! ) There was one really good twist near the end that I didn’t see coming but it’s not enough for me to sing this series’ praises anytime soon. Also, I just need to say this: it was weird reading about Jacinda making out with boys in her dragon form. I’m assuming the picture I have of dragons in my head does NOT match what they look like in the books (or I just missed a descriptive line about what form she was in) but it just gave me the creeps…bleh!

When I was reading reviews of Vanish in an attempt of trying to remember what happened in it, I read a review where the reader suggested that the story should have been told by Tamara because she was a lot more interesting. Listening to Tamara complain in Firelight would have frustrated me to no end; but I really did enjoy her character more in Vanish and Hidden than I did Jacinda’s. So I would have liked more from her and I actually was hoping Breathless, the novella that takes place after Hidden would be about her but it isn’t. It’s actually about Az, Jacinda’s friend who I couldn’t care less for. I’ll read it if we get it at the library but I’m not going to go out of my way.

Conclusion:

I think if I was 16 again, I would enjoy this series. That isn’t to knock or insult 16 year olds everywhere–it’s just that my reading tastes have changed immensely in the years since. I don’t care for love triangles; I can’t stand whinny teenage heroines and I like my novels to have a lot more substantial drama and action. Older YA fans probably won’t enjoy this series as much but if you want to read a mild, quick trilogy series that is also written well than it might be worth a shot.

Rating: 3/5

Similar Reads: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer (Nightshade Series #1)

Synopsis for Firelight (from Goodreads):
A hidden truth.
Mortal enemies.
Doomed love.

Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki, a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.

Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will’s dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away;if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She’ll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.

Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.

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