(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)
To save a kingdom, Zara must choose between a prince who could be the answer and a rising rebellion that threatens to take control.
When Zara Dane is chosen to marry Prince Sebastian Hart, son of the man who ordered her father’s capture, Zara knows she must fight to save everything she loves from ruin.
Being betrothed to the prince means a life trapped behind the towering stone walls of the Camelot-forged realm. Under the watchful eye of the prince’s first knight, Sir Devlan Capra, changing her future becomes difficult.
When an unlikely rebel reveals the truth about the deadly secrets that fuel King Hart’s twisted world, Zara’s path to rescue her father becomes clouded by deception. The Rebels clear her path by forcing Zara’s hand with an ultimatum: sway Prince Sebastian to join the Rebels, convincing him of his father’s evil nature, or they will take him out.
But Zara is uncertain about a future under the Rebels’ command and where the prince’s heart truly lies. She must decide who to trust, what to believe, and what she’s truly fighting for before the king destroys all of Karm, including her heart.
[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]
Fireblood had it all, really: complicated and realistic characters, a believable world, plot twists and even a fast-paced plot. So why do I feel so melancholy after finishing the book?
Well, the problem is that the ending sucked. I really thought Trisha Wolfe was going to break down some of the clichés that are so common in the YA genre. After all, the first two thirds of the novel had all kinds of inverted and subverted tropes as well as new takes on old clichés. But then something happened and it felt like the story took a totally random new direction into Clichéland. I was just so disappointed in the predictable ending that it’s colouring my whole perception of the novel.
Despite the admittedly horrible ending, Zara was a great character throughout the novel. She was strong and feisty without swinging too far into the territory of a stereotypical action girl. I loved her conflicted feelings over Sebastian and Devlan; it was a love triangle I could actually identify with and believe. That’s pretty rare in YA these days, so I’ll give Trisha Wolfe credit where credit is due. I loved Devlan because I’m a sucker for the bodyguard-falling-in-love cliché. He’s a complicated character, which makes it more realistic and his character arc never really followed the traditional bodyguard one.
The world-building in Fireblood was fantastic. An evil despotic ruler taking civilization back to the Medieval period while constantly monitoring his people with technology? Sounds good to me! Although the way I’ve described it makes it sound so trite it’s really not and you may hate it at first, but Trisha Wolfe really added a lot of depth to her world. She reveals some aspects of her world at a more natural pace as well, trusting in the intelligence of her readers rather than spoon-feeding information to them.
The plot was fast-paced and unpredictable for about two thirds of the novel, then the dreaded ending happened. It was just so forced and didn’t really fit at all with the mood of the story that I had a hard time finishing Fireblood. That just goes to show that without a good ending, an amazing novel can become just another mediocre one. Do I hold out hope for the rest of the series, though? Of course! Trisha Wolfe is an incredible writer and I think she’ll learn from this first novel in the series.
I give this book 3.5/5 stars.