Kissed by Fire by Katharina Gerlach
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
(Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)
A terrible accident leaves Lydia with no memories of her past. Thrown into a system that frightens her at every turn, she begins to realize, slowly, that she isn’t like the humans around her. In fact, she might not even be human at all. Through the love of a young man and his sister, and the questionable help of a new student who seems very intent on being more than friends, Lydia finds out not only what she once was but who she’s meant to be.
I liked this story. It has a love triangle and a lot of fantasy YA tropes but I like how it played with them instead of letting them take over the story.
Lydia, for example, starts out weak and frightened, but becomes strong without becoming snarky or annoying. Those who want a spunky, smart-mouthed heroine need to look elsewhere.
Colin is the sweet young man who assigned to help Lydia through her first day of school. He was a joy to watch through the whole book and I very quickly began cheering for him and Lydia to get together.
Harm, a typical bad boy hottie trying to get Lydia’s attention, turns out to be far more than his role in the story suggested, and I have to admit I loved his arc and his relationship with Lydia the further I got into the story.
There were a number of other fantastic characters in this. The women, I think, were especially portrayed well. And there was a nice little twist with a human girl who might be able to wield magic.
There were, however, a few issues that made the book difficult to read.
First, and most importantly, though it’s supposedly set in America, everyone speaks as if they were British. This is actually a symptom of a larger issue: though the main characters are solid, the setting is not. I mean, there’s a Council and relationships between the various members of the story, but it isn’t clear where they are inside this world or how that plays into their culture and individual choices.
This weakness also led to some confusion regarding the role Native Americans play in the story. They are the only minority represented in this world in this book, and I have to admit those characters confused me more than once They were, in my opinion, the only characters that were not as well developed as they could have been.
One final, minor quibble. At times, the writing felt more middle-grade than YA.
Other than that, the romance is very sweet and, I think, worth the time. Which says something given the enormity of the issues I’ve mentioned. I’ll be reading the next book in the series.
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