Posted in Book reviews, Han, HQ Digital

Book of Fire by Michelle Kenney #bookreview #Hanreview

Book of Fire by Michelle Kenney #bookreview #Hanreview
Release date: 25.08.2017
From Amazon: Life outside the domes is not possible. At least that’s what Insiders are told.
Twins Eli and Talia shouldn’t exist. They’re Outsiders.
Their home is a secret. Their lives are a secret. Arafel is a secret.
An unexpected forest raid forces Talia into a desperate mission to rescue her family while protecting the sacred Book of Arafel from those who would use it as a weapon. As Talia and her lifelong friend Max enter the dome, she makes some unexpected discoveries, and allies, in the form of rugged Insider August, that will change the course of her life forever.
She’ll stop at nothing to save her family but will she sacrifice her heart in the process?The Fire Sermon meets Gladiator in this brilliant YA debut.


My first thoughts

I was lucky enough to win a proof copy of this wonderful debut novel. I devoured it, I loved it, I want someone to wipe my memory so I can read it all over again. I felt like I was dipping into a world born from my childhood favourite sci-fi movies and books. From Logan’s Run to Mad Max, this book was what I always wanted.

The Characters

All characters are well rounded and being fully engaging, you care for them and you wish for the people of Arafel to remain safe. However, there are certain characters who take your heart straight away.

Talia is a new breed of hero that is emerging in the literary field; confident, strong and accepting of what fate brings her way. Those of you who have just read Will Hill’s After the Fire will feel right at home with the strong-minded twin from Arafel who finds herself on a rescue mission.
Being the protagonist and narrator means you get to know her a little more, feel her pain, urgency and motivation.

My favourite character was Unus, the Cyclops. He’s Ludo in Roman glory; the beast that’s friendlier than a Labrador puppy. Proving that we shouldn’t judge on appearances. I’d go so far as to say I loved him more than Ludo; and he’s been in my heart for over 20 years, so that’s some feat.

There are also Max and August. I’m going to say very little about them, as I feel they speak for themselves. August, however, I will say has won my heart like a certain Warden in Sam Shannon’s Bone Season. They are not alike in any way, other than I have the upmost respect for the challenges they face as part of their lives.

The Plot

It is a world building, McGuffin plot of the most outstanding order. It’s the perfect introduction to what I hope will be many novels inside this wonderfully constructed world. It’s a new age of future; one in which the people have driven themselves to and aspects are reminiscent of the ground-breaking novel Brave New World. It’s scary, but there is a way out in the form of the Arafel. I just can’t wait to see them successful.

Having to save her family is the perfect motivation for Talia. I’m quite happy with the partial resolution to the narrative knowing that there is a second book. Even if there wasn’t, the open ending is rather refreshing and the final line of the epilogue is fuel for the fan fiction bunnies out there.

The Roman element of the plot is genius. It gives an almost Steampunk feel to the novel. So much so that I feel there should be a name for this element or historical fusion. It’s integrated well and explores the idea that sometimes the way forward is the way back. I have always loved the ancient civilisations to the point that I felt at home reading the book.

The Writing

Kenney’s writing is digestible and clear, despite having many Latin words and phrases to add to the world building process. I often found I didn’t need to look to the glossary provided, but it’s a nice touch for those who are not as well acquainted with the past.

The mission is well constructed single person narrative and the action sequences are so well written it’s as if they’ve leaped of the silver screen.

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