Firelight by Sophie Jordan is about dragons. Mindblown. Right there, in the bookstore. Because when I was a little girl, I was a fan of horses and unicorns (The Last Unicorn), and alien beings (E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial). Dragons have eluded me. And now I find myself asking: WHY?! Because dragons—or draki as they’re called in Firelight—are fascinating.
I’ve read vampires, werewolves, were-other animals, faeries, witches wizards demons ghouls etc. But nothing beyond the dragons so briefly mentioned in Harry Potter. My encounter with dragons has been severely limited. I have not read Eragon, nor have I seen the movie (should I?). My most recent brush with dragons was How to Train Your Dragon. Okay, I also know that “Here be dragons” is written on old maps in Latin as HC SVNT DRACONES (and basia basiliscum meum is kiss my basilisk. Thanks, Henry Beard). As a means to change my familiarity with dragons, Firelight was a good start.
Firelight introduces us to Jacinda, the first girl to be born with a fire-breathing draki spirit to be born in her pride in over four hundred years—which unfortunately makes her the most prized possession and property of her endangered pride. Coveted for her rare talent, her choices and future are controlled. And when she decides to make one decision that is wholly her own, she sets off a chain of events that result in her, her mother, and her twin sister, fleeing into the mortal world.
Suddenly, Jacinda’s not the most popular girl around. Her mother and sister are determined to let her draki fade away in the stifling desert town until Jacinda is human. The only time her draki comes alive is when she’s around Will—the all too human draki hunter.
The book is a page-turner driven by Jacinda, a very compelling character, and her dangerous romance with Will. Jacinda’s one defiant act of falling in love with Will shakes her world apart. She wavers between her loyalties to her family, her pride, and her draki. With Will, Jacinda rebels against her mother—killing off half her soul—and her draki pride, which is determined to breed her to further the line of fire-breathers.
Circling Will and Jacinda is a cast of largely unexplored secondary characters. I loved the glimpses we got of Catherine, the human girl Jacinda befriends at her new high school, who unfortunately, appears only when Jacinda needs something to do while she’s not with Will. There’s also Cassian, the draki prince that the pride wants Jacinda to mate with. He’s intriguing because we don’t yet know what his motives are—whether he cares for Jacinda as he claims, or if he’s actually just manipulating her as the pride demands. Sophie Jordan has sketched out something I want to keep reading about and hope to see further developed in the following books. More information on the draki pride and different types of draki, I say!
Jacinda is an impossible situation, one that the reader can’t help but also feel frustrated by—at times, I was impatient with Jacinda’s inability to control her own life. But her indecision makes her all too much a human teenager. I have a feeling that we’ll see Jacinda eventually come to grips with her rare talent. She’ll own it, instead of sidestepping it as she does in Firelight.
The first book in a planned trilogy, the movie rights were picked up the same month the book was released. Bonus: We’ll get to see all the creative ways the title can be used in headlines, in addition to the ones already floating around: “”Mandalay Fires up Adaptation…” “Is ‘Firelight’ Hot Enough to Sizzle on the Big Screen?” etc.
Lee likes all things spy, smelling books, and is almost always craving a cheeseburger. She tweets from @lkyim about reading books NOT assigned for class. Also she likes Greek mythology. And dogs.