Thursday, 10 September 2015

The Secret Fire

The Secret Fire
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of Midas PR! 

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 am a complete C.J. Daugherty fangirl, I remember picking up Night School from the library, finishing it and immediately going out to buy my own copy so I could re-read it, then anxiously waiting for each new instalment  The final book is actually in my TBR pile, I need to hurry up and get around to it! Anyways, I couldn't not read this book and I've been looking forward to it for ages! Luckily for me, I got sent a copy to review, I even managed to use some restraint and not start reading it immediately! 

The Secret Fire hooked me from the first page and I actually ended up reading it until 3am, which was waaaaay later than I intended! I would have carried on reading until I finished it, I did try, but I was so tired I had to sleep! It was incredibly difficult to actually find a place to stop though, the amount of times something would happen and I'd finish a chapter and sit there like "I'll just read one more so I know what happens otherwise I won't be able to concentrate on anything else", is the reason why I ended up reading until 3am! 

I loved Taylor instantly, I couldn't not connect to her with her love of books and history! It's like she's me but more awesome because she can do cool things. I'm sitting there reading like "YES TAYLOR!" when she's talking about history or archaeology or her reading. She was so awesome. I think I connected to her more than any other character recently, and she really came to life for me. 

I liked Sacha from the start as well despite his whole "keep away" vibes, I mean...I can't really blame him for his attitude, and it's one of the things that made him so likeable. You could understand him and his behaviour and the way the character was written gave you such an understanding of him that it was so easy to immediately connect with him and like him and root for him from the start. 

Both the characters are connected and surrounded by mystery, and one of the huge questions was...why those two? Why did they need to be brought together? How are they connected, and a part of the book was working out those questions and it was such a great mystery, although I did suspect, but when it was confirmed it was done in such a fantastic way. Both of them also have missing fathers. The mystery of who Sacha's father was and what happened to him was solved in this book, but I'm curious about Taylor's. I kind of have a suspicion but I'm not really sure. 

I also loved Louisa! I wasn't sure if I would but over the course of the book I loved her more and more! I really wanted to say to her, "Don't worry, it's just areas like that, that look at you weird if you have tattoo's, it's all good if you're nearer to London!". Having tattoos and ya know...previously having purple in my hair, meant I got a lot of strange and hostile looks in certain areas where I'm from. I feel her feels essentially. Anyway, she made me laugh, and I loved her budding friendship with Taylor. It was fantastic and I think it's as good for her as it is for Taylor! She also has an interesting backstory that I'm eager to know more about! 

Each of the characters is really well brought to life, and are so full of depth. They come alive off the page and are one of the reasons it's so easy to fall in to the world and get lost inside. They all have backstories and histories to them that add other dimensions to them and help to bring them to life, and you just want to know more and more about the characters. 

There is SO much intrigue from the start, the things I mentioned above, then Taylor and what's going on with her and so on. The intrigue keeps you reading as you try to put things together yourself. Some of the questions are answered in this book but there's plenty left for the second part and I'm so ridiculously excited to get those answers and see how it all finishes! 

I absolutely loved the different POVs. They where done expertly and worked so well together. Each POV was written by a different author, but the POV changes where done with perfect timing. The switch was smooth and didn't stop the flow of the narrative and the narrative continued seamlessly. Then when they first met there were no separate POV's anymore, the POV still switched but they didn't get a chapter or so each anymore, and I loved how once they met the narratives kind of came together in to one even though they where still in separate countries. The first meeting was so perfect and done so well, and the POV changes continued to be fantastically and smoothly done. 

The romance was great, quite frankly. The two authors work so well together when writing the romance, and the characters and the events after the characters have met. The romance was so fantastic because you could see it building up as they learned more about each other and got to know each other better. With how the end of the book is left, I'm excited for the next one because they'll be around each other a lot and it'll come to fruition and be beautiful to watch, I reckon. 

The thing I loved most about the book was how original it was. It's such an original take on Alchemists, with the powers they have and the dark practitioners and the explanation for the Alchemists hundreds of years ago when they all seemed to be fakes and obsessed with making gold and so on. I hadn't seen the Alchemist part coming, I really should have because of the symbols, but to be honest, I wasn't really sure what to expect when I started reading! I was so pleasantly surprised to see the turn it took and even more originality spring forth. I just really loved the rich mythology behind it and the rich backstory. Oh and I must mention the Bringers. I don't know about you lot, but my brain supplied a nice creepy image of the Gentlemen from Buffy for them......

The settings where vivid and sucked you in to the world of the book, particularly France. I've not been to Paris but I really got a feel for what Paris must be like and I loved reading all about it! The only time I've been to Oxford was to go to a show there and I didn't actually get to have a look around or anything, but reading the parts about Oxford made me think I should probably go and have a nose! Taylor's hometown reminded me a lot of my own to be honest, and so I was picturing where I live! 

Like I said, there's still lots to be uncovered. The plot has lots of threads that are all woven together to make a complex and thrilling plot that keeps you reading. Some of these threads have been unravelled as they all wind together, but there's still some threads that need to be unravelled and I'm literally dreading the wait for the next book!

There's plenty of action in the book, don't worry, the romance is subtle and not the main focus of the book! There's action, romance, intrigue, history, curses, cool powers and more all woven together to create the book. There's plenty of plot twists, some you've half guessed at, others are surprising or shocking, and some are heartbreakingly sad. I was never quite sure what was going to happen next, even when I'd half guessed at something! The writing was so....evocative. So compelling. It created such a vivid picture as you where reading and was the other element that literally grabbed you and pulled you in to the book. 

I also want to mention another little bit that I loved. When we get the final explanation of how the curse happened, I loved that we where shown rather than told. I loved it. Like rather than reading it as part of Sacha's inner monologue, we get thrown in to the past and see for ourselves what happened. The entire book is atmospheric and cinematic, but this part was ridiculously atmospheric. I got chills reading it. 

The Secret Fire is not only everything I hoped it would be, it's more. I couldn't put it down. Well I could, but it was very hard to do and when I wasn't reading it I was thinking about it. The Secret Fire was filled with originality, romance, action, humour, emotion and so many feels. The threads of the plot wove together to create an intriguing and addictive read, with characters that come to life and a world that sucks you in with it. I couldn't get enough of the book and I'm so, ridiculously excited for the next book! 

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