Current Giveaways

Word Spelunking’s temporary hiatus is now permanent. All requests are closed and there will be no new content. Thank you to everyone I’ve worked with and everyone who has read and supported this blog. Y’all are awesome!!

Aeicha @ Word Spelunking

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Review: Destiny's Fire by Trisha Wolfe

TITLE: Destiny's Fire                  AUTHOR: Trisha Wolfe 
PUB: Omnific Publishing              PUB DATE: 1/10/12
FORMAT: eARC                          
 SOURCE: from pub. in exchange for my honest review

It’s the year 2040, and sixteen-year-old Dez Harkly is one of the last of her kind—part of a nearly extinct race of shape-shifters descended from guardians to the Egyptian pharaohs. Her home and her secret are threatened when the Council lowers the barrier, allowing the enemy race to enter the Shythe haven. As the Narcolym airships approach, Dez and her friends rebel against their Council and secretly train for battle. Not only is Dez wary of war and her growing affection for her best friend Jace, but she fears the change her birthday will bring. When Dez’s newfound power rockets out of control, it’s a Narcolym who could change her fate… if she can trust him. Dez’s guarded world crumbles when she discovers why the Narcos have really come to Haven Falls, and she's forced to choose between the race who raised her and the enemy she's feared her whole life. 

Book Trailer

THREE WORDS: Compelling, Vivid, Inconsistent

MY REVIEW: I haven’t read much YA Steampunk, but after reading Trisha Wolfe’s Destiny’s Fire I’m definitely intrigued by the genre. Wolfe has certainly created a unique, compelling world.

In Destiny’s Fire we are plopped into the year 2040, in a placed called Haven Falls. A superhuman race of shape-shifters, descendants of the guardians of the Ancient Egyptians, divided into two kinds- Shythe and Narcolym- have long been at odds. Dez Harkley, a Shythe, and her friends secretly train in anticipation of the day they must fight against their enemies. But Dez has a secret, one that could destroy her safety and her friendships. When the Shythe Council allows the Narcolym into their safe haven and even allow young Narcolym to attend their Academy, everything changes. Dez must learn to control her newfound power and finds help from an unexpected source-a Narcolym boy who shares her secret. As more secrets are revealed, Dez is caught between her best friend Jace and this new, mysterious boy, while at the same time the tension between the Shythe and Narcolym comes to a deadly head.

The world-building in Destiny's Fire is lovely and intricate. Wolfe has created a vivid, believable, and engaing world. Wolfe's creativity and attention to detail is both impressive and captivating. There's a wonderul mix of steampunk, dystopian, paranormal, fantasy, romance, mystery, and action in this book.

The otherwordly aspects of the Shythe and Narcolym are unique and intriguing. Wolfe has laid out a complex, well developed, and thought-out story and idea. The powers and abilities that the Shythe and Narcolym possess are wicked cool and fun.

Overall, Destiny's Fire is solidly written. When the book begins, we find ourselves right in the middle of Dez's story and world, and the history of her people isn't completely explained, at least not right away. At first, I found myself a bit lost from a lack of backstory, but as the book progresses more and more of the details and history are explained. And after finishing the book, I realized that Wolfe does present most of the important information, backstory, history, etc at the perfect times without ever overwhelming readers.  However, I did find the pacing unbalanced and inconsistent. Some parts of the book are very fast paced, while other parts drag slowly. And I think there are some scenes that could be condensed, while others need to be elaborated on.

The story is equal parts surprising and predictable. There are definitely plenty of twists and turns that I never saw coming, but I saw a few of the major revelations coming from very early on in the book. But there are still plenty of intriguing questions I'm eager to see answered and explored in future books.

Destiny's Fire has a likable enough cast of characters. I genuinely like Dez, but her character seems to be a little all over the place as far as character traits and personality goes. I like her fiesty nature and capability, but sometimes I find her "kick-butt, ready to fight no matter what" attitude to be a bit too much and in your face. Her naiveté about certain things (like Jace’s feelings for her) was less endearing and more unbelievable, and felt a little forced. Actually, a few of the characters’ actions and reactions felt more forced than natural.

Jace, one of Dez’s best friends and romantic interests, started out as such a sweet, likeable, compelling character, but in the middle of the book his character is faced with a heart breaking realization, and his reaction doesn’t seem to fit his earlier characterization. One thing that I noticed frequently in this book is that just when I felt like I had gotten emotionally comfortable with a character or situation, some revelation or event would come along and kind of pull the figurative rug out from under my feet. I can understand that these things were included to keep the story interesting and unpredictable, but they often felt unnatural and forced, as if they were meant for pure shock value alone. 

Luckily for Jace, his character really redeemed himself in my eyes toward the end. Jace's brother and sister, Nick and Lana, are enjoyable characters that add quite a bit of humor to the story. Reese, Dez's other romantic interest was a little harder to like. 
When we are first introduced to him, he comes off as a real jerk, manhandling Dez on the dancefloor, but we later learn that he was merely playing a part...this whole scene here and his character in it really bothered me... 

*begins rant* The fact that he's a jerk doesn't bother me as much as the fact that Dez, our MC, actually finds the whole think hot and attractive. Playing a part or not, putting your hands all over someone without permission is not ok, and it is most definitely not hot. Then later in the book, after we, the readers, and Dez get to know a sweeter, more caring side to him, he becomes jerky Reese again...and claims it's for Dez's own good. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of male YA characters that act distant, mean, or like, well jerks, then claim it's for the female character's own good or protection. And I'm even more tired of YA female characters that fall for this behavior and call it "romantic" or "sexy". *ends rant*

Destiny's Fire features a classic love triangle between Dez, Jace, and Reese. Dez's feelings for both guys feels real and genuine enough, but I don't really like the way Dez seems to use Jace as a substitute for Reese. The Reese/Dez relationship does possess qualities of insta-love, but I am intrigued to see where this romance goes...but I'm still totally Team Jace ;)

The book has a satisfying ending, but sets up any future books nicely.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Trisha Wolfe has offered readers an enjoyable, vivid and compelling story. I had a hard time really connecting with some of the characters, but I did find the world-building to be impressive. Destiny's Fire is definitely worth a read. 

3/5 Cupcakes

Find the author: Blog / Website / Twitter / Facebook 
Trisha Wolfe is the author of the YA Steampunk/Paranormal Romance DESTINY'S FIRE. Her published short stories have appeared in YA literary journals and Fantasy magazines. UNVEILED is her first novelette and part of a Dystopian series releasing TBA. She’s written four books in the past two years, and is currently working on the sequel to DF and a new project. She’s represented by Lauren Hammond of ADA Management


Anonymous said...

Great review! This one is definitely on my to read list.

Sarahbotbonkers said...

I don't think I have read a book from the YA Steampunk genre. But I think I'll give this a try. Great review! :)

Sarah @ Smitten over Books