The Secret Fire – C.J. Daugherty and Carina Rozenfeld

the secret fire cover

Genre: Urban Fantasy, YA, Paranormal

Publication Date: September 10th 2015 by Atom

Format: ebook ARC from Little, Brown Book Group UK via Netgalley  (Thank you!)

French teen Sacha Winters can’t die. He can throw himself off a roof, be stabbed, even shot, and he will always survive. Until the day when history and ancient enmities dictate that he must die. Worse still, his death will trigger something awful. Something deadly. And that day is closing in.

Taylor Montclair is a normal English girl, hanging out with her friends and studying for exams, until she starts shorting out the lights with her brain. She’s also the only person on earth who can save Sacha.

There’s only one problem: the two of them have never met. They live hundreds of miles apart and powerful forces will stop at nothing to keep them apart.

They have eight weeks to find each other.

Will they survive long enough to save the world?

(From goodreads.com


Wow. When I started this book, I wasn’t sure what I was expecting. I know I wasn’t expecting what was delivered though. But my, was it a good surprise! Although a little slow off the mark, this book was full of action and mystery and it was incredible!

I think I’m going to start off by talking about the plot. So many things happened, I could only just keep up (this was a good thing – I did keep up and it was extremely fast paced). It also took so many unexpected turns that shocked and scared me and kept me wanting to read on and find out what happened next because like, I needed to know. There were a couple of parts which took a more sinister turn which added to the story, but I’m that girl who can’t even listen to horror movie trailers with her eyes shut. I get so jumpy about these things for some reason, so some parts I found a little scary. (The majority of the population will probably find them creepy at most!)

I loved that this novel was set in both England (Oxford and a town I guess isn’t far away) and Paris. This added a depth to the story and made things a bit more complex for the characters due to them being in different countries. I also love Paris (who doesn’t?) but it didn’t just focus on the gorgeous centre, Sacha visited many parts of the suburbs and the areas where tourists don’t get to see, the non-romantic, rougher areas of Paris. This, in my opinion, made it more realistic and believable, as a character like Sacha would not have spent all of his time in the centre. I think that part of this comes from having the two authors, one being french.

The novel focused on two main characters: Sacha and Taylor. I especially liked Taylor as I could identify with her and a lot of the things she said and did (especially the spending a lot of time on her studies and everyone gets annoyed with her). I know some people didn’t like Taylor because of this (reading other reviews on Goodreads) as I guess that not a lot of people study as much as Taylor does but I think I can say that I do prioritise studying and books over a lot of things (and like Taylor I have no regrets!) so I liked having a character I could genuinely relate to as it’s uncommon to have one like this. Sacha I found to be quite an angry character at times but I liked the way he changed as events unfurled and I really did like him as the book progressed.

The focus changed usually after every chapter to the other character, which enabled me to keep up with what was happening to both of them, rather than it being narrated in two separate parts. Both were in third person, which worked well as it allowed descriptions that would have been held back in first person as the character didn’t understand what was going on whereas this could be explained in third.

One thing that I didn’t like was that the other characters in this novel were somewhat underdeveloped. The exceptions being Taylor’s Grandfather and Louisa. Georgie and Tom (Taylor’s boyfriend) were very basic, for want of a better description. Georgie is a strong character, attractive and rarely studies, Tom is basically obsessed with rugby. That’s all I really got. I know they didn’t feature a lot in the story (Georgie more than Tom) but they were important when they did appear and it would have been better if there had been a bit more to them.

The magic that is included in the novel really kept me interested as I find the concept of being able to control energy (or something similar) extremely intriguing in books. I also found the idea that it’s something that has to be refined and doesn’t just come perfectly a nice touch because I’ve read books with similar concepts and the person with the power has just been in control from the moment they realise they have it and I just find that a bit unbelievable (yes, I know, I’m talking about having the power to manipulate energy – because that’s believable, but I’m sure you know what I mean)!

Would I recommend this book? Yes, yes I would. I really enjoyed it, which did surprise me as there were times when I was contemplating putting it down because creepy people appeared (I’ll say no more, don’t worry) and they really freaked me out… As I said, I just can’t deal with horror / anything remotely creepy. (I wouldn’t call this a horror novel at all!) On the other hand, I am going to sit here impatiently waiting for the sequel because I desperately want to know what happens next!

Rating: 4 / 5.

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