Thursday, January 30, 2014

Fire Light by J. Abram Barneck

I received an eBook of “Fire Light” from the author in exchange for an honest review.
First Impression: Banshees, grim reapers, and football? This should be interesting…
Characters: Jake is a self-proclaimed “jeek” – a jock geek. He lives with his mom, stepdad, and sis Justine. The first few chapters reveal Jake to be an all-American sweetheart of a boy, who would do anything to help his sister and friends. Starting off slow, the story roars to life at a pivotal moment – Jake is shot. He then learns he is secretly a druid; the whole world is out to get him; he can’t tell his new girlfriend, sister, or best friend because he’s supposed to be dead. Oh yeah, and he’s on the run with a guy named O’Brian who is more than he appears…
In walks Alexis – half dhampir and all attitude. I’m not a big fan of her character, as I feel it was a bit overdone on the sexual side. However, towards the end of the book I came to understand her and hope to see her character develop in upcoming installments. Supporting character Luiz is Jake’s best friend. His Spanglish adds character depth and realistic elements to such fictional events.
World Building: Funny pop culture references make the story relevant, which I appreciate in good fiction works. The reader is treated to references such as Paranormal, King Arthur, and Star Wars. There’s even a hidden Princess Bride reference (see if you can find it!) The Disney history tie-in is fabulously whimsical. Other interesting points lay waiting in twists on the popular ideas of vampires and other supernatural creatures. I especially liked the twist on vampires!
Writing Style:  Author J. Abram Barneck has a witty and arresting attention to detail – that answers almost every question the reader might pose. This is especially apparent when Jake and his friends are on the run / off the grid. An important aspect of writing displayed throughout was Barneck using action instead of feeling to describe what happens to a character.
What I Enjoyed: Right off the bat, I want to agree with two things. Some states such as Utah (and MN!) have two seasons – winter and construction. The other is oatmeal cookies should not have raisins. Thank you.
I found some possibly unintentional Christian themes in “Fire Light”, which was nice in my interpretation. Jake and crew go through elements of faith and prayer, and there is even a possible Bible reference - Matthew 6:24 talks about serving two masters. Intentional or not, it adds to the believability factor.
Deal Benders: Sometimes story details were repeated, such as when describing Jake’s home. I also found the intensity of feelings between Jake and Alexis a bit ridiculous. I can accept they are teenagers attracted to each other, but let’s not say they are already in love. With a bit of this sexual tension left out, this would be an appropriate YA read. However, I could only recommend it to adults in this case.
Overall Rating: I gave this book 5 stars because it wowed me enough to remember all the details days later. A book doesn’t have to be Shakespeare to be wonderful, and I believe we need to give more credit to today’s talented authors from genres outside classic.
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