Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Fire & Chasm by Chelsea M. Campbell



When my youngest son asked me what my book was about, I only had to blink a minute before responding.  'Well, it's about this auror, except he's not an auror because he doesn't just catch dark wizards.  And he's not really an auror because he doesn't catch them, he just kills them.  Plus, he's a kid and he lives in a church.  And he falls in love with this girl that I don't like.  And he has to choose between the wizards and the church.'  His response?  'I'm gonna watch House M.D.'  I suppose if someone gave me that description, I'd probably say the same thing.

Surprisingly, this was actually a mostly great book.  It's dark and grim and dirty and the story telling is captivating.  You have the perfect amount of detail when you need it, and none when you don't.  The characters are incredibly complex.  Even though the backdrop of the story is a separation of church and state with a struggle for power, it doesn't go deeply enough into the politics that it pulls away from the true story in this book.

Az is where our story lies.  He has amnesia for his entire life up until three years ago, when he was found surrounded by dead, bloody wizards.  A priest took him to the school/church with him and he began his double life.  During the day, church-loving boy.  During the night, wizard slaughterer.  Only two people know his secret.  One of those people is incredibly dangerous.  The only clues that Az has to his past is a mysterious tattoo and a dagger.  It could have been a sword, or simply a knife, but I like the word 'dagger' better.  It's speaks more of malicious intent.

Az is stuck at a crossroads and has to make a life-altering decision.  The problem is, he can't make the correct decision without all the facts.  There are two paths to take to get his memories back.  Both of them are led by dangerous men who have the power to annihilate Az.

This book actually reminded me a lot of the young adult books around today like Hunger Games, Sand & Stone, Bloodmark.  It reads quickly and it's entertaining.  At the core of it is the danger and adventure that most teens dream of.  As I was reading, I kept thinking 'Please let Az be another hero!  The world needs more of those!"

So, I only had one issue with this book...the ending.  Though the end is full of action and adventure and ties everything up neatly in a bow, it was a little too cookie cutter for me.  This is how it's supposed to end.  There weren't any surprises thrown at me.  I felt like it was the same ending I've read a hundred times.  Now, the ending being predictable didn't ruin the rest of the book for me.  I'm just hoping that Campbell will choose to be a little more free form in her next novel.

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