Friday, May 15, 2015


by Alyxandra Harvey

Summary From GoodReads

Bad girls burn hot…

Red is the color of Kia Alcott's hair.
It's her temper, which blazes hot and always gets Kia into way too much trouble.
And it's the color of fire. Fires that Kia can start…just by thinking about them.

When her latest “episode” gets her kicked out of school, Kia is shipped off to her grandmother, who works for the wealthy Blackwoods. It's an estate shrouded in secrets, surrounded by rules, and presided over by a family that is far from normal…including the gorgeous and insolent Ethan Blackwood.

Ethan knows far more about the dangers of the forest surrounding the estate than Kia can ever imagine. For this forest has teeth, and Ethan is charged with protecting the outside world from its vicious mysteries.

But inside, even the most vibrant shade of red doesn't stand a chance against the dark secrets of the Blackwood family…

Thoughts on the book

Reading the summary of this book made it seem awesome.  A girl that can manipulate fire with her thoughts, a boy who guards his family’s secrets and protects the world from them – how could this book go wrong?  I had never heard of the author before, and I love trying out new stories and writing styles.


The story starts with a prologue about a girl, Kia who, after starting a fire at her school, gets sent to live with her grandmother she barely knows in a billionaire’s mansion.  She immediately finds out that the billionaire has a son her age, and shortly after she finds a “museum” of mystical things where she meets the son, Ethan.  Chapter one then goes on shortly after the prologue ends, making the prologue seem more like Chapter One and Chapter One seem like Chapter Two.  Almost the whole book is from Kia’s P.O.V. except for the random chapters that are in Ethan’s.  It’s weird to read that way.  I like splitting P.O.V.s when it’s done in a more regular fashion, like every other chapter, this is too random.  There are places where an Ethan chapter would have enhanced the story a lot, but Harvey sticks with Kia.

I didn't like Kia at all, she had no likable qualities.  She fancied herself a Goth, but didn’t even come close, her only backing for it was a bad attitude and red streaks in her hair, both of which are more punk then Goth.  She wasn't even punk she’s more of a wanna-be punk.  Her bad attitude didn't even feel genuine; it seemed more like she forced herself to act that way and to think that way so she could fit into the persona she wanted.  The relationships between the characters didn't seem to happen organically.  Sloane, one of Ethan’s friends, talked to Kia once, and voila! Sloane was now Kia’s best friend.  Kia’s former best friend inexplicably stopped talking to her (the logic used was that she was caught in the fire Kia had started accidentally and though Kia tried to burn her to death), and Kia was pestering her with texts and calls trying to get her to respond, then once Sloane became the new best friend she no longer cared about her old friend.  I guess Kia’s version of Goths couldn't have more than one friend at a time?  Ethan was the only character I actually liked.  He was the only one with any depth to his character, and his depth was more of the first step into the swimming pool rather than the concrete around the pool which was the depth of all of the other characters. 

Everything in the story was so predictable, and what wasn't predictable was so random that it didn't even fit into the narrative.  There also were no really engaging elements to the story either.  If there had been more Ethan chapters where the reader could get to know him better, there may have been at least a character to get behind and root for.  Even the conclusion left an empty feeling.  I think it was supposed to be a happy ending, but with the events right before that point it just felt stupid and a cop-out. 

Despite the lackluster writing and the bland characters the world was very cool (although, this could be because Harvey didn't elaborate on, and therefore ruin, it.)  The world had so much potential for a myriad of other stories.  I think Harvey got overwhelmed with the possibilities of it and tried to throw in as much of the mystical elements of the world as she possible could.  She should have just stuck with a few creatures to work with, and only hint at more oddities then just throw in names of others and have random side-events pulling in as many as possible. 

Overall I’ll give this book a 4/10.  It wasn't so horrible that I stopped reading, and the world was very cool.  All the elements for a great story were there, it was just the execution of it which was lacking.

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