Published by Bloomsbury on October 14th, 2014
Genres: fantasy, young adult
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Aria is an elemental artist—she creates fire from her hands. But her power is not natural. She steals it from lightning. It’s dangerous and illegal in her world. When she’s recruited to perform, she seizes the chance to get away from her family. But her power is fading too fast to keep stealing from the sky. She has no choice but to turn to a Granter—a modern day genie. She gets one wish at an extremely high price. Aria’s willing to take a chance, but then she falls in love with the Granter . . . and he wants his freedom. Aria must decide what she’s willing to bargain and how much her own heart, body, and soul are worth.
In a world where the sport of elemental powers is the most popular form of entertainment, readers will be swept away by a romance with stakes higher than life and death.
I had low expectations going into The Fire Artist for two reasons. One, the cover is terrible. They redesigned it and it is STILL terrible. Two, the plot doesn’t sound all that original. After reading it, it actually kind of is, but I still had a good number of issues with this book, and it ultimately left me really underwhelmed which is a monster shame because I really loved When You Were Here. I get the impression from a lot of readers that this author’s work is kind of hit or miss, and I can totally see that because this book felt as if it was a self-published freebie almost.
I will admit the mythology was interesting. I like elemental magic and the way it was described was inventive, and I loved how Aria had to steal her fire to have her powers, but I also had a lot of suspension of disbelief issues. You really expect me to believe that watching elemental magicians perform replaced major league baseball? And that people just started magically developing powers (poof) and science has no concrete explanation for it or at least doesn’t have a few theories as to why? And that there is actually basically a sports league for magic performers and the best magicians go to New York City? And that the training facility is in Miami? And that Aria gets her magic by her best friend harnessing lightning in a tornado (she is an air elementalist) and having that lightning strike Aria in the heart? And then in a completely off-the-wall development, there are basically genies called “granters” but they don’t live in a bottle, oh no, they live in the sewers of the cities they inhabit? And that the love interest, Jai, is a granter that lives in the sewers of New York City but they aren’t really sewers at all because when Jai enters, he changes the composition of the sewers and they change into tunnels with a library? I am telling you, all of this shit is REALLY HARD TO BELIEVE. I mean, it’s interesting, but I believe the execution was poor and lazy and another author could maybe have done better.
And then there were the characters. Flat, flat, flat. I finished and I still don’t even really feel like I know who Aria and Jai are, or any of the other supporting characters. They are all defined by their magic and nothing else. Aside from that, Aria has this extreme hatred for her father that is sort of nonsensical until the latter half of the book. I get that he abused her trying to bring her fire magic out by burning her hands but it is not made to be a big deal except for in one scene and then she goes on and on about how horrible he is to her mother and I didn’t actually see him being anything but respectful to her mother. Aria hates him and thinks he is an abusive asshole but he never says anything mean to her or does anything awful to her in the book and the one time he does it is a flashback so I kind of feel like the author failed to convince me of how horrible he was until the climax of the book and by then I was annoyed with the book and didn’t really care.
I loved that it was set in Florida because I feel there are not enough books set here and I love my state! But that and the inventive mythology are pretty much the only things I liked, and even the mythology was pretty screwy. So unfortunately, this book ended up being a fairly disappointing read for me even with my low expectations and the fact that I started out liking it. That changed quickly. I honestly don’t think I can recommend this one. There are just so many other great books out there. Meh.