Release Date: July 26, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Pages: 400 pages
Rating: 2.5 stars
Source: ARC from Publisher
Goodreads Summary: Every flame begins with a spark.I love the summary for Wildefire. A Polynesian girl, Ashline, who goes to boarding school where she discovers she is a goddess and meets other gods and goddesses from different cultures. The idea is fresh and brilliant but unfortunately, the execution was less so.
Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.
There is a lot going on in this book. The easiest way for me to review Wildefire is to list the things I liked and the things I did not.
What I liked: For some parts of the book, I liked Ashline. She was headstrong, independent and not whiney. I also liked the diversity in this story. There are gods from Asian, European and African origins. This made Wildefire unique. I don’t think I have ever read a book with a mix of so many different types of mythologies.
What I did not like: For most of the book, I was annoyed with Ash and found her to be a bit hypocritical. She hates her sister for being so violent but she is very violent herself. It is never fully explained why Ash and Eve have such extreme anger issues. Is from growing up as the only Polynesian kids in their neighborhood or a part of their mythology?
Without a doubt, Eve has major issues and should be locked up but I actually thought she was a sympathetic character. As such, I kept waiting for the real villain to appear and at one point, thought this person had come into the picture but then that storyline just sort of fizzled.
The first half of the book was hard for me to get through with the head bashing, the teenagers drinking at a bar, the odd way the dialogue is written and the creepy romance between Ashline, a high school sophomore and Colt, a college student. Additionally, I am still not sure about the focus of the story. There are multiple storylines involving Ashline and Eve, and a few involving lesser characters such as Serena, Raja and Colt.
The second half of Wildefire is exciting and better than the first half but the book ends with major cliffhangers and leaves more questions than answers. I plan to read the sequel because I am curious to see where the author is going with the story, or in this case, the stories.
Content: Profanity, kissing and sexual situations, heavy violence and underage drinking.