, December 23, 2014
(view all comments by Cora)
I have to say upfront: I am not a fan of romance novels. I am, however, a big fan of dragons. I didn't realize when I bought this book that it was primarily a romance.
I'm evaluating Firelight by Sophie Jordan on it's own merits, trying my best to be fair and balanced. Some of my favorite people, including my youngest daughter, love romances.
Brief, Not Spoiler Free, Summary:
Jacinda is a dragon, who can shape-shift into human form. As a matter of fact, she mostly lives in her human form because it's dangerous to take her "draki" form.
In this world, there are dragon hunters, who kill "drakis" in their dragon forms.
Jacinda is special, a rare fire dragon who is valued among dragons and set apart from ordinary dragons.
When her mother explains the reality of being a fire dragon, she realizes she is not only in danger from dragon hunters, but also from members of her clan.
She, her mother, and sister flee and hide among the humans. Her mother hopes Jacinda, who isn't supposed to take her dragon form, loses her ability to shapeshift. However, Jacinda doesn't give up shapeshifting. She feels free and happy in her dragon form.
Living among humans, Jacinda meets Will, who is handsome, kind, and stirs her inner "draki" desires. So strong is the power he has on her that she is often in danger of shape-shifting when she is near him.
What I liked:
I loved the "draki" culture and the conflict between dragons. Although it seemed to be a tight-knit, harmonious community, the reader quickly realizes there is discord and division among the "drakis." There is a dark side to the close community.
Also, the conflict and danger from the dragon hunters is real and creates a deep sense of suspense and pending trouble.
The cultural conflicts are complex.
The dragon culture wasn't all good, but as with any culture a mixture of positive and negatives. The dragon hunters were primarily a group that is bonded together by their hatred of another group they fear. However, even among the dragon hunters, Will is different. He finds dragon hunting barbaric, but he is trapped in a family business.
Will's stance suggests that among the dragon hunters, there's a slim chance there might be others who are uncomfortable with their occupation.
The overarching reality is that these two groups cannot possibly live in peace, which makes for a good story.
What I Found Challenging:
I would have liked the story to be more focused on the darki culture, the conflict and crisis Jacinda's dragon shaped caused, but my challenge is unfair to the story. I think if I had started reading Firelight knowing it is primarily a romance, I would have felt differently about the novel as a whole. Early on, I realized the genre and shifted my thinking.
Jacinda is all over the place with her emotional response, which is typical teenage stuff; however, there were times when her emotional swings were a little too much for me.
Except for Will, The dragon hunters were dark, evil, racist, misogynistic. The group shared a mass antisocial disorder, reminding of the KKK. However, I wasn't satisfied with Will being the only dissenter; I wanted to see a glimmer of human softness, perhaps in one of the brothers or even the father. Even evil villains need a speck of good.
People who like or love fantasy romances will enjoy this book. It does an excellent job of telling an interesting romance story. I suspect for its genre, it's a strong story. I'd definitely recommend it to my daughter. The plot was predictable, but as I pointed out at the beginning of this review, I'm not the best judge.
All-in-all, it is a good read. Keep in mind that I would have stopped reading when I realized it was a romance, but Jordan's storytelling kept me engaged and reading.