Plot: Sacha can’t die. Not until his eighteenth birthday, when an old family curse will take his life. Until then, it doesn’t matter what he goes through. He cannot die. But Sacha is determined this will not be his fate, fighting against the odds in order to survive.
Taylor thought she was a normal girl. Pressured into tutoring a French boy – Sacha – Taylor is instantly intrigued by him. But Taylor is no more normal than Sacha is and the events unfolding around her means Taylor has to learn how to tap into her potential. Without her power, all is lost.
Quote: `Sacha could have told them it wasn’t a trick, wasn’t magic or illusion. It was just the way things were: he would die on the day of his eighteenth birthday and not one day sooner. What would kill him later, today saved his life.`
Opinion: I received a copy of The Secret Fire for free from Netgalley to review. That in no way affects my opinion. But I loved this book. I loved it and am eagerly awaiting the next in the series now. I knew it was fantasy based and the blurb intrigued me as to what the characters were capable of. It is the first book from an unknown author to me that has gripped me in this way for quite some time.
The plot is a perfect blend of teenagers trying to find their way in the world and magic. Sacha is aware of the curse surrounding him, and so the introduction to his fate is a matter of fact statement. Taylor, on the other hand, must learn what she can do and it is her introduction to the world of magic that provides the explanation to the reader. Yet despite magic and curses and the potential to explode light-bulbs every time Taylor grows angry, it remains easy to follow.
With the characters being teenagers, I did expect there to be a moment where their reactions and attitudes would be clichéd and stereotypical. If that did happen, then I blinked and missed it. Sacha’s nonchalance and attitude is refreshing, humorous and engaging. It makes his fear more believing and gripping. Taylor does follow the tropes of a normal teenager girl for the majority of the book, but her reactions are realistic and at no point did this become annoying. The characters kept my interest and therefore kept me engaged with the book.
The writing style is very strong. The tension naturally increases as the plot progresses. However, this was not forced in any place and kept the reader engaged the whole way through the book, anxious to find out what would happen. Despite being the first in the series, the open-ending also didn’t leave you disappointed you didn’t find out all of the answers.
All in all, definitely a series I would recommend for young adult fantasy readers. Strong writing, gripping plot and engaging characters. What more can you want from a book? Definitely a recommendation.