I received this book for free from Book Expo America in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Fire Artist by Daisy Whitney
Published by Bloomsbury on October 14th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Source: Book Expo America
A forbidden romance literally heats up in this new fantasy from acclaimed author Daisy Whitney.
Aria is an elemental artist—she creates fire from her hands. But her power is not natural. She steals it from lightning. It’s dangerous and illegal in her world. When she’s recruited to perform, she seizes the chance to get away from her family. But her power is fading too fast to keep stealing from the sky. She has no choice but to turn to a Granter—a modern day genie. She gets one wish at an extremely high price. Aria’s willing to take a chance, but then she falls in love with the Granter . . . and he wants his freedom. Aria must decide what she’s willing to bargain and how much her own heart, body, and soul are worth.
In a world where the sport of elemental powers is the most popular form of entertainment, readers will be swept away by a romance with stakes higher than life and death.
Oh boy. When I heard that The Fire Artist would be at BEA, I wasn’t entirely sure I should pick it up. I hadn’t heard the best things about Daisy Whitney, but I have this thing with elemental magic that I find very hard to turn down. So when I coincidentally ended up at the Bloomsbury booth during the galley drop, I was like “YES.” *sigh* Ultimately, I should have listened to my instincts because this… this just wasn’t very good.
The Fire Artist tells the story of Aria, a – you guessed it – fire artist, who lives in an alternate version of our world where some people are born with the gift of elemental magic. It’s a rare gift that can open the doors to money and power, which could ultimately give Aria freedom from her abusive father and save her family. Unfortunately, she wasn’t actually born with the gift. She stole it from lightning, and it’s running out. So she turns to another route to keep her magic… jinnis.
That all sounds well and good, but the world building is so bizarre. So towards the end of the book, it comes out that more than 99% of the population does not have magic. Yet it seems like the whole world is oriented around the existence of it. There’s “Leagues” that recruit magic users but… for what? From what I can tell, they only put on circus-type shows, displaying tricks with the various elements. With Leagues, I would think it’s like a sport, with competitions but… no. Yet the Leagues are competitive. How? Also, the Leagues took over almost all sports facilities. They regularly train on baseball fields and took over a massive sports complex in NYC – but GUYS. Seriously, the existence of magic would not KILL sports, especially if less than 1% of the population has magic. It all just feels so shallow and convenient and WHY NOT. The only thing that did make sense was magic users being recruited to the Look Outs, or whatever, that protect the world from environmental disasters. The fact that this extremely rare gift of magic is otherwise only being used for entertainment is just… blah.
The characters are super bland. I did not feel anything for any of them. At a certain point, Aria keeps saying that this character and this character are sarcastic and snarky, and I was just like, “WHAT?” I didn’t get any personality, especially not awesome witty types, from any of them. This is not a character-driven novel at all, and the plot couldn’t make up for that absence. Aria bored me. Taj bored me. Their romance was insufferable. It starts out within 10 pages, that Aria is cyberstalking pictures of him online and referring to him as “the beautiful boy”. From that point on, you already know how it’s going to go. It’s classic paranormal instalove, and the writing makes it torture, because it’s giving into this trope, recognizing the trope, and at the same time trying to prove to you that I’M THE EXCEPTION TO THE RULE BECAUSE NO HERE THEY REALLY DO LOVE EACH OTHER IN SPITE OF ONLY KNOWING EACH OTHER FOR DAYS AND HAVING NO ACTUAL CHEMISTRY.
But it feels like I have known Taj for longer. I’m sure that’s what everyone says when they start to fall for someone. But maybe it’s a cliché for a reason. Because when it happens to you, it’s no longer a cliché. It’s the truth. I do feel as if I’ve known Taj for a long time, and it’s because he knows so much more about me than almost anyone. ARC of The Fire Artist by Daisy Whitney
It occurs to me that it would be far to early in a normal relationship to suggest running away with a boy. But this isn’t a normal relationship by any stretch, so I don’t feel clingy or needy by asking him. I feel as if I’m taking charge of my own fate. ARC of The Fire Artist by Daisy Whitney
Oh, and did I mention that the writing was bad? It’s really really bad. And lazy. And bad. And I’ll just let it speak for itself.
I exhale, my shoulders falling, and I realize I’ve been holding my breath since I left Florida. Of course, I’ll probably be holding my breath again until the next renewal. I suppose I am always holding my breath. ARC of The Fire Artist by Daisy Whitney
“But I didn’t find you. I thought granters had to be found,” I say.
He rolls his eyes, then speaks slowly, as if he doesn’t expect me to get it. “We are found. We are found in the wanting, and blah-blah-blah.” ARC of The Fire Artist by Daisy Whitney
THAT IS NOT AN EXPLANATION. THAT IS LAZY. WTF.
“You know the queen of England?”
“Right. Well, neither do I. Know her personally, that is. Though I know many other heads of state, but that’s a conversation for another time. Point being, she’s a figurehead.” He gestures carelessly to the [genie’s] lamp. “And that’s a figurehead.”
“Like an anachronism,” I say, and he taps his index finger to his nose. ARC of The Fire Artist by Daisy Whitney
And for the rest, the plot is just your usual contrived dribble. Clichés upon clichés. I figured out every plot twist before it happened, and in the end, it’s just the usual “LOVE TRANSCENDS ALL RULES” bullshit. Nothing original to see here. Move along.