Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Review: Rise of Fire by Sophie Jordan


Rise of Fire by Sophie Jordan
Book Two of the Reign of Shadows series
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Rating: 1 star
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

The richly suspenseful sequel to Sophie Jordan’s romantic fantasy Reign of Shadows.

Luna and Fowler have escaped the kingdom of Relhok, but they haven’t escaped the darkness. When a battle against the dark dwellers mortally injures Fowler, Luna is faced with a choice: put their fate in the hands of mysterious strangers or risk losing Fowler forever.

Desperate to keep the one bright part of her life alive, Luna accepts the help of soldiers from a nearby kingdom. Lagonia’s castle offers reprieve from the dangerous outside world—until the king discovers both Fowler's and Luna’s true ties to Relhok and their influence over the throne.

Now pawns in each kingdom’s political game, Luna and Fowler are more determined than ever to escape and build the life they’ve been dreaming of. But their own pasts have a tight hold on their hearts and their destinies. Luna must embrace the darkness and fire within her before she loses not only Fowler, but the power she was destined to inherit.

What I Liked:

That didn't take long. Rise of Fire is my second read of 2017, and it's a two-star read. My first read, Wayfarer, was great, but this one was incredibly disappointing and irritating. I partially regret reading this duology, even though I loved Reign of Shadows

This sequel novel picks up exactly where Reign of Shadows leaves off - with Fowler trapped among dwellers, and Luna dropping after him. Luna finds him and together, they leave the dwellers' nest behind. But Fowler has been infected with dweller toxin, and he sickens quickly. The pair is rescued by solders of Lagonia, who take them to the king of Lagonia. King Tebald is cruel and ruthless and recognizes Luna as her mother's daughter immediately, as well as Fowler as the prince of Relhok. He allows for Fowler to be taken care of by his healers... because Fowler and his daughter Maris have been betrothed since birth. But upon learning that Luna is the true ruler of Relhok, King Tebald decides that two weddings are better than one, and Luna will marry his heir, Prince Chasan. Trapped in Lagonia and with no place to run, Fowler and Luna must trust each other and find a way out.

Redeeming qualities of this book... it ends well. The ending is warm and fuzzy and is a hasty attempt at reclaiming the book's positive attributes (whatever they were). I love a happy ending, regardless of how awful the story was beforehand.

Other redeeming qualities... Fowler is possibly the only person in this book with a functioning brain. It's too bad that he's sick and dying for more than half the book. Even then, he's still the only person that seems to have a good grip on reality. I always liked Fowler, and he is the only character in this entire sequel/conclusion novel that I liked. 

Moving on.

What I Did Not Like:

Ahhhh. Where do I even start? This book was an absolute train wreck (for me). As always, keep in mind that these are my reactions and feelings, and your own reactions and feelings might be quite different. Still, this section is worth the read!

First thing - Luna. I wanted to bang my head against the nearest wall, or throttle her, throughout the entire book. There was not one scene when I felt like I liked her like I did in Reign of Shadows. She's so stubborn and not in a good way; every time she dug her heels in, she got hurt, or Fowler got hurt because of her. She refused to run in certain situations, or hide, or back down, and in all of those cases, her stubbornness was utter stupidity. What kills me about her stubbornness? She refuses to "take orders" from Fowler, because I-am-woman-I-will-not-be-ordered-around. SERIOUSLY?! You'd rather die than take an order to hide? This isn't feminist, this is pure stupidity. Luna never recognized when it was time to be stubborn and when it was time to tuck her tail between her legs and find that shred of self-preservation. You know how some heroes/heroines have a selfless, saving-people quality? I could see Sophie Jordan trying to make Luna a character with that quality... honestly Luna came off as stupid and idiotically stubborn. 

Furthermore, to add to her fake feminism, about three quarters of the way into the story, she suddenly has three men fighting over who is going to marry her. And what does she say? Out loud? NOTHING. Not a word. She lets the king and two princes talk over her (easy, because she doesn't say a word). She lets the king declare her marriage to his son (and then himself, when he changes his mind). She lets Fowler and Chasan literally fight (i.e. punch, kick, fight to the death) over her. There was an actual fistfight duel in this book! And she said nothing! Did nothing to prevent it! And yet she loves Fowler and is always declaring how she's going to do things her way? But she never once resisted any of the marriage declarations that King Tebald made. Not once.

Somebody explain that feminism to me. And don't tell me it was a calculated silence - no, girlfriend was shriveled and shocked and silenced like a lamb. Or... a weak little girl. At 75% into the conclusion of a series, this is not what I wanted to see. Instead of a fully fledged kickbutt heroine that Luna likes to pretend that she is, we have a cowering, weak girl.

And I'm not finished yet! The romance in this book is a load of dung! Luna goes through at least nine changes of feelings towards Fowler in this book. She decides that she no longer has feelings for him when she learns who his father is (um, what?). Then she decides that she really does have feelings for him. But then she hates him again when he mutters a name in his fevered sleep. And then she fights for him, and then hates him again when she learns that he is betrothed (since birth and by royal decree, but that doesn't reach Luna's tiny brain), and it. Keeps. Going. I swear I have whiplash from all of that deciding about her feelings.

What's worse? There is a sort-of love triangle in this book! Don't get me wrong, Luna only has feelings for Fowler (on and off, as I mentioned, but no one else). Fowler, bless him, has feelings for Luna only (and never wavers). But of course enter Princess Maris, Fowler's betrothed, and her handsome but slimy older brother Prince Chasan, who sinks his claws into Luna. There is no romance between Chasan and Luna, or Fowler and Maris. BUT. The inclusion of these two characters (Maris and Chasan) is clearly to throw a wrench in the romance. Honestly this is so unnecessary and annoying.

Perhaps I misspoke - there is romance on Chasan's part. After like, two days? He is in love with Luna. I mean moony and possessive type of love. It's sickening and ridiculous and unnecessary. WHY is Chasan in this story? To torment readers. To add an "interesting" element to the romance? I assure you, there is nothing interesting or fun about this unnecessary "love triangle". Chasan's feelings, coupled with Luna's wishy-washy feelings towards Fowler, were obnoxious. 

So, the romance in this book is off-putting, poorly written, and dissatisfying - to say the least. I have a great deal of respect for Fowler, who is so in love with Luna throughout the entire story, and is a gentleman in every way. Fowler redeems the story a little. Luna deserves exactly zero square inches of his dirty socks, let alone him.

The climax of this book is so jumbled and rushed! This book ends so haphazardly, it's like the author threw it together and put same tape to hold it all together (does that comparison make sense?). There was a certain death and Fowler is casually okay with it? I'm not buying it. The ending was disjointed and it just didn't fit well. Especially with a deus ex machina move that Luna pulls - the author was probably scrambling for a way to save the ending. Deus ex machina, people. Look it up.

I am so irritated! This book was incredibly infuriating, especially after a great start to the series with Reign of Shadows. I haven't read a Sophie Jordan YA series that I actually liked.

Would I Recommend It:

I highly do not recommend this book, or series. Of course, if you've read Reign of Shadows, you should probably decide for yourself and read this book, because there is a good chance that you'll enjoy this book (as always). But if you were on the fence about reading Rise of Fire, or the series in general, don't. Don't do it! Not worth the time/effort/money. Thank goodness it only took me like, two hours to read this book (what was up with that, by the way? This book felt so short).

Rating:

1.5 stars -> rounded down to 1 star. Originally I gave the book 2 stars, but even the redeeming qualities (the few of them) weren't enough to save this one. I'm so frustrated I could scream! And to think, I'm about to read another Jordan book very soon (an adult one though - Fury on Fire. Reviews have been negative so far. Joy!).


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

42 comments:

  1. Oh. My. Goodness. This IS a trainwreck. I was on the fence with RoS but Nick or Nereyda shared a review that had me wanting the book (never bought it though and I'm glad I didn't). Luna sounds so freaking horrible! Like what even?! That's not feminism at all. It's called whining and immaturity. And her "feelings" constantly changing, what's up with that? It's as if she doesn't love him. I wouldn't believe the romance in the end if they stayed together because of her feelings. And I agree with what you said. Those redeeming qualities are nothing compared to all the negative things you pointed out *shudders* I'm glad I didn't waste time in this series. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this one :/
    Nick is always hesitant with Jordan's adult book so that's why I haven't bothered with picking up a book by her. Hopefully this ones good for you!
    Genesis @ Latte Nights Reviews

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    1. Trainwreck is exactly the word! It was all over the place and not at all enjoyable. I wanted to pull my hair out every time Luna ground her heels in (and for no good reason). Her feelings were so wishy-washy! That was not fun to read at all.

      I think I'm doing with Jordan's YA books. Her adult ones... I'll keep trying with those. But she ruins her YA series every time, so I'll pass.

      Thank you, Genesis!

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  2. Ohhhh... I haven't read the first book yet but I've been noticing more people who didn't like this sequel. So it makes me kinda worried to start the books.

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    1. I wouldn't start the series if I were you! Since you're apprehensive. There are so many better YA fantasy series out there!

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  3. This author is not for me. It seems she does well with first books but the seconds in her duets are always a disaster. I'm glad I skipped this one. But sorry it didn't work better for you.

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    1. I know what you mean! Her adult books are hit or miss for me, but it seems like her YA series always derail and end terribly. This book is proof, and Unleashed (I didn't read Unleashed but I heard awful things about it). Her Firelight series too. Bleeehhhh.

      Thanks, Lauren!

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  4. I don't think this is a duology I want to try. Especially not when a person who's dying by poison is the only one with a brain.

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    1. I do not recommend it, Lekeisha! Jordan seems not to be the best YA writer. Her adult books, on the other hand, can be pretty good. Hit or miss. :o

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  5. I loved book one can't wait to get this one.

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  6. Oh nooooo! I really loved Reign of Shadows so this made me sad :( I hope I don't hate it as much as you XD Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles

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    1. Oh, I definitely hope you like this one more than I did! It's more than possible! Happy reading, Brittany.

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  7. Oh man. This sounds really awful. Definitely not a way to start of your bookish new year! lol! I hope you enjoy your next read much better, and I will definitely stay away from this one. lol

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    1. I know! I didn't expect to pull out the 1-star rating that quickly. o_o My next read wasn't great either but the next one was good. :D

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  8. Oh noo, sorry to see you didn't enjoy it! The cover's really nice, though! -Jessica

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    1. It's gorgeous! The book, unfortunately, wasn't. :(

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  9. This sounds horrible. I have a signed copy of the first book sitting on my shelf but haven't picked it up largely due to the mixed review that I saw. Now that I see that some people who enjoyed the first one disliked the second one, I don't know that I want to read it. Great review!

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    1. It seems to be the norm with Jordan's YA series! The first book is fine but the next book(s) is/are bad. If you do end up reading the books, I hope you enjoy them.

      Thank you, Carole!

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  10. Awww, I'm so sorry you didn't enjoy this one. I wasn't a huge fan of Reign of Shadows and actually ended up DNF'ing it. So I don't have any plans to read this. I hope your next read is more enjoyable!

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    1. I don't blame you! I liked that one but this one was really disappointing. Thanks, Lisa!

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  11. This book sounds really, truly like a trainwreck, which is such a shame, especially since one of the characters is named Luna! I (Luna) was so in to her until you talked about her stubborn character. Hope you find a better read for the new year. :)

    ~ Pendragons 

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    1. Luna is a GREAT name! Clearly the author didn't do it justice. Thank you! <3

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  12. Sorry that Luna did not do it for you. I was waiting on this review, looks like I can take this series off my list.

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    1. I think that decision is a good one, Angela!

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  13. For some reason I have Reign of Shadows on my 'I Probably Shouldn't Bother' list and this review of the sequel has me thinking I should just forget about this series (and their pretty covers!) and get to reading something else - because goodness knows my TBR pile is toppling over!

    I'm sorry this one didn't work for you but thanks for the candid review!

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    1. You had a good instinct for the series! The covers are gorgeous, and the first book was good, but this one was a disappointment.

      You're very welcome and thank YOU, Di!

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  14. I really, really didn't like Reign of Fire so I wasn't planning on picking this up anyway but dang...sounds like Sophie Jordan really dropped the ball on this one! There was something about the way that Luna's blindness was portrayed in the first book that made me uncomfortable (like it was a superpower?) and I found the Luna/Fowler dynamic insufferable.

    I'm so sorry that your second read of 2017 was such a disappointment, Alyssa!

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    1. That's good, you're saving your time and effort! I know what you mean about Luna's blindness. It gets strange, at the end of this book.

      Thanks, Danya! My third book was disappointing too but the fourth book was good. ;)

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  15. I haven't read the first book in this series, but I am sorry about the second book. It sounds awful with all the flip flopping and it sounds like the main character just can't act like a normal person. Sorry ti was so disappointing, but at least the ending was ok.

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    1. Luna's wishy-washy feelings were so obnoxious! Possibly the worst part of the book. I liked the HEA though. :D

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  16. Not that I'm planning to read this series, but it's strange for you to not like a book this much. Bummer :(

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    1. It's definitely one to skip. I was incredibly disappointed, and angry! I haven't disliked a book so badly in months so I was surprised too. D:

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  17. Oh my word. I've enjoyed her adult books but haven't read much of her young adult. I think maybe I'd leave off them with this. Whew boy!

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    1. Her YA books have this pattern of being pretty good in terms of the "first" in the series, but terrible throughout the rest of the series. So bad!

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  18. I saw this on my feed a few days ago and saved it for later. As soon as I saw it I was 99.9% sure the author had fucked up this series with her romances and love shapes. I should have learned my lesson from her last duology and skipped the series...

    Nereyda│ Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist

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    1. Oh she sure did. She has a terrible habit of doing that, with her YA books. I didn't bother reading Unleashed but I know how badly that one went. And her Firelight series, *vomits*. I'm probably going to skip Jordan's YA books from now on, unless they're standalones.

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  19. Oh my goodness not another 'waste of time' book! And I enjoyed the first one! I had high hopes for this sequel! Ugh not sure if i want to continue it just to close up the series.. Thanks for your honest review!

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    1. Girl, I'm on a roll. o_o I had a lot of expectations for this book too! I really liked book one. This one was a mess. It's probably worth reading if you read/liked book one, but go in with super low expectations. It's not magical at all. -_-

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  20. Ahh! I've been looking forward to reading this series, but holy buckets this sequel sounds obnoxious. I might try it anyway since it's short, but god that sounds bad. Luna sounds horrible. This review reminds me of what I thought about The Death Code by Lindsay Cummings and that isn't an experience I want to relive.

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    1. Obnoxious, and a mess indeed! The whole experience was so irritating. I didn't mind Luna as much in the first book, but she was awful in this one.

      I will be avoiding The Death Code! Good to know, because I read the first book in that series. o_o

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  21. Uuuugh, this book sounds goddamn awful :( I'm so sorry it was so crappy. Ahhh. It sounds horrible. Thrilled that I never read book one.. hahaha. This just sounds so bad. Gosh. I would hate everything about it too o.O Thank you for sharing your thoughts about it sweet girl. <3

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    1. It really was! It was almost comical, how much I disliked the book. It wasn't a great conclusion novel at all!

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