ARC Review: The Secret Fire

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Goodreads Summary:

French teen Sacha Winters can’t die. He can throw himself off a roof, be stabbed, even shot, and he will always survive. Until the day when history and ancient enmities dictate that he must die. Worse still, his death will trigger something awful. Something deadly. And that day is closing in.

Taylor Montclair is a normal English girl, hanging out with her friends and studying for exams, until she starts shorting out the lights with her brain. She’s also the only person on earth who can save Sacha.

There’s only one problem: the two of them have never met. They live hundreds of miles apart and powerful forces will stop at nothing to keep them apart.

They have eight weeks to find each other.

Will they survive long enough to save the world?

I received this ARC from NetGalley

I didn’t go into this book with the highest expectations, but I found myself absorbed in it pretty quick! There were plenty of issues with this book, but I found I didn’t really care, it was fast-paced and fun, and sometimes that’s all you need!

There were pretty generic YA tropes in this: the pretty girl who doesn’t know she’s pretty, the bad boy with a heart of gold, the tough chick who’s just misunderstood, the best friends who are complete opposites, etc. And yes, it was kind of annoying, but I appreciated that Sacha had reasons for wearing that bad-boy exterior, and that down to it he was still that kid who loved learning and trying to find some reason to hold out hope. Taylor was pretty, but she didn’t care about looks, she was focused on her future, on becoming a scholar, she was a nerd and she wasn’t going to apologize about it! So the fact that the characters were relatively complex made their seemingly unoriginal characterizations a bit more original.

I enjoyed the beginning of the book more than the second half. I liked the characters bonding, showing vulnerability, finding people to trust while they tried to figure out how their “abilities” played into the grander scheme of things.

The grander scheme of things though is where I started to find bigger flaws with this book. There isn’t really an explanation for what the big threat is. Yes, if Taylor can’t save Sacha something terrible is going to happen – but why? And the end of the book felt so rushed, Taylor and Sacha taking on the lackeys for “bad guy,” it lasted all of two pages, a pretty anticlimactic battle scene if you ask me.

I also didn’t like the lack of interaction between Sacha and Taylor in the second part of the book. The fact that they were so in touch in the first part of the story, and then in the second half we get very little direct interaction between the two, it just felt off balance. The two main characters felt so “connected,” yet we never see them talk to each other more than twice in the last chunk of the book, I didn’t get it.

Anyway, beyond those few flaws I noticed, I did have fun with this book, and I would probably continue the series.

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