Tuesday, May 22, 2012

And I finally write a review...of Firelight by Kristen Callihan

Posted by Simcha 5:26 PM, under | 7 comments

OK, I'm going to do it now. I'm writing some reviews.


Really.


Sheesh. This is a lot harder then I remember it being.


Alright, maybe if I start with one mini-review I'll get back into the swing of things.


Hmm. But which book to start with? I'm just so behind and there are so many books...


Well I owe Netgalley a bunch of reviews so that seems like a good place to begin. 


OK, here I go....


Firelight by Kristen Callihan.


I remember that I had been really eager to read this book, which seemed like a retelling of Beauty in the Beast in a Victorian setting.  It sounded like a winning combination to me, and one which I couldn't wait to try.


The heroine of this story is Miranda Ellis, a young woman with the strange ability to conjure fire.


Miranda lives with her surly, mean-spirited father who has never let her forget that their loss of fortune is all her fault. Therefore, when Miranda's father announces that he has given her over to the rich and powerful Benjamin Archer, in exchange for a loan, Miranda feels that she has little choice but to comply.


Archer has been fascinated with the beautiful Miranda for years, ever since  saving her from an attack by three street urchins. Despite the danger, Miranda had been fearless and bold, leaving Archer intrigued. It was for that reason that Archer was back in London after so many years. He was ready to claim the girl that has occupied so many of his thoughts , even though he knows that it's probably a very bad idea. Not only does Miranda not realize that the two of them had ever met but she also knows nothing about the terrible curse that has led Archer to live behind an iron mask, and Archer will do his best to make sure she never finds out.


At first Firelight seemed as if it might actually be delivering the story that I had been hoping for. The characters and events that we are introduced to in the beginning very much parallel the story of Beauty and the Beast and I was looking forward to seeing how the story would play out in this new setting.
But after a few chapters, reading the book became a struggle due to the  flowery dialogue and overwrought professions of love, which quickly began to grate on my nerves.


After moving in with Archer, Miranda finds herself falling in love with him, despite the fact that he tries to maintain his distance and never allows her to see under his mask. Miranda is also afraid to let herself relax in case Archer finds out about her secret ability. Archer, in turn, is frustrated by his feelings for Miranda which he tries to contain, knowing that he can never really be with her. But the two are still drawn together, despite their efforts to stay apart. Miranda loves him but thinks he doesn't love her. Archer loves her but has to pretend he doesn't so she doesn't try to get close... Blah, blah, blah...You get the point... And if you are like me, you will probably get a little annoyed by it all as well.


In addition to the disappointingly boring romance I also didn't understand the purpose of Miranda's ability to create fire. It didn't seem to have any real place in the story, other than giving her father a reason to resent her. A couple of times Miranda has to struggle to control her ability but I just didn't see how any of this added anything to the story as a whole. At first it helped make her character more interesting but after a while it seemed more like an extra  limb that was hanging around for no reason. 


As the story progresses it veers away from the Beauty and the Beast story-line until there is very little left two connect the two stories, which I found disappointing. The mystery behind Archer's ailment is what kept me plowing forward through the story, and eventually the excitement and surprise revelations lured me in again. 


While Firelight didn't turn out to be quite what I had been hoping for it did have its entertaining moments. And it seems to have racked up a lot of rave reviews on Goodreads so I guess there are many readers who feel quite passionate about this book. So I suppose you'll just have to decide for yourself on this one.


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Well it looks like this review did not turn out so "mini" after all. I guess I'll save the rest for another day then. And now that I got started perhaps it will be easier next time. In fact, I'm really looking forward to telling you about If Walls Could Talk, which is also from Netgalley, and while I had so much fun reading.


'til next time then!

7 comments:

A belated welcome back, Simcha! I've missed you.

When I heard about Firelight, I immediately checked it out as I love B&B retellings. However, the first chapter put me off for some of the very reasons you've detailed, especially the prose. On that basis alone, I decided not to continue and, according to you review, it sounds like I would not have enjoyed it either.

Lol, if that is what you call a mini review then I am scared ;)
I have seen the rave but also many that say that they expected something else

Blodeuedd: You should be scared! Wait until you see what I have planned for my full-length review *evil cackle*

Stephanie: Thank you! That's so sweet. Yeah, this book was pretty disappointing, especially since I don't think I've read any other Beauty and the Beast retellings and had high hopes for this one.

I did enjoy Firelight, but I also was a bit surprised at the story. It didn't totally rock me, but it entertained me and so I was happy with that. :)

Bummer. Sorry you didn't get the story you were hoping for. :) Thank you!

i've been hearing so much buzz about this one!! sorry it didn't totally live up to the hype for you.

Love the cover, but don't think I would care too much for what's inside it. Thanks for the review.

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