Wildefire (Karsten Knight)

WildefireWildefire by Karsten Knight

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From Goodreads: "Every flame begins with a spark. 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."

I have mixed thoughts about this book. I was intrigued in the beginning -- but I was quickly put off by the following: gratuitous violence with (relatively) no consequences, unrealistic dialogue, and unsympathetic characters. Seriously -- Ashline throws a girl across the parking lot, knocking out a few of her teeth, and all she gets is detention? Where I come from that would have been expulsion followed by police charges. The rest of the book follows along the same lines. The main characters get away with some really nasty stuff, as the "authority figures" turn the other way. This, I had a problem with.

But I kept chugging away, and was eventually drawn back in. How? I'm still puzzling out this one. To me, the strength of the book is the idea behind it. A bunch of gods from different mythologies get together to fulfill some destiny? (Said destiny as yet unrevealed.) I think that's pretty cool, especially since Karsten Knight drew on some of the lesser-known gods and goddesses out there. While the match of their human personalities with the god-traits were fairly simplistic in this book, I think there's a lot of potential in the idea. I enjoyed learning a little bit about deities who aren't the run-of-the-mill Greek gods, and I really think there are things to build on here.

I'll avoid spoilers here, but I will say that there are a few other things that stayed with me after I'd finished the book, and there are questions raised that I definitely want answered!

The ending made me gnash my teeth, as it is one of the most CLIFFHANGER of cliffhanger endings. (And for those who don't know: I despise cliffhanger endings.) But it wasn't enough to make me swear off reading the next book.

Final thoughts: The idea is better than the execution, but the series has potential.

Source: I received an ARC of this title from the publisher.

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