Book Review: Wildefire by Karsten Knight

WILDEFIRE by Karsten Knight
Publication Date: July 26th 2011 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Summary: Every flame begins with a spark.

Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.

Review Overview:

  • Unable to relate to main character Ashline
  • World-building fell flat
  • Fantastic concept overall, great diversity of characters, but execution fell short

I originally had the intention of posting this review for I Heart Simon & Schuster month but I couldn’t find a place to squeeze this one in. After hearing about WILDEFIRE through Waiting on Wednesdays across the blogosphere, I was really excited to dive into this one. I’m a fan of mythology and I had not read any YA book so far that can compare to Percy Jackson. Though I hoped that WILDEFIRE would be fantastic, the novel’s execution failed to live up to the concept.

Ashline is an adopted Polynesian teenager who grew up on the East Coast with white Jewish parents. One of the reasons why I wanted to pick up this book was for its diversity. I loved the idea of a Polynesian main character and as I continued on reading, I found out how even more diverse the cast of characters are. I also loved Ashline’s sharp tongue as it made dialogue so much fun to read. However, one of the reasons why I couldn’t get into this book was my disconnection with Ashline. I just couldn’t relate to her character. WILDEFIRE is written in third person but I’m not going to blame the point of view for my inability to relate to her. I couldn’t find any reason to relate to her which led me unable to sympathize with her character.

The world-building fell flat for me in WILDEFIRE which is a huge disappointment. While I love the idea of reincarnation of the gods, it just was not properly executed in this book. The reasons behind why these reincarnated gods got to this boarding school were not concrete enough to hook me into believing into this world. I didn’t buy into the magic that made their powers come alive out of the page or turned the scary and mysterious monsters real.

On another note, I felt like the summary was very spoilery. I felt like I spent 3/4 of the book waiting for Ashline to realize that she is a Polynesian volcano goddess – which was really anti-climactic since I found that out from reading the summary. It would have been nice to have been as surprised as Ashline when she figured out her powers.

I was really looking forward to this one and I’m disappointed that it didn’t live up to my expectations. While the concept was great, I just couldn’t get into WILDEFIRE.

Other Reviews:
i swim for oceans


  1. Sorry to hear Wildefire fell short for you. :( The concept does sound pretty cool, but I think I would’ve been turned off because of the whole boarding school thing. It’s like Hex Hall meets Percy Jackson, which I’m not sure would really be appealing.

  2. I’m sorry to hear that it didn’t work out for you. I originally had plans to buy the book but after reading the reviews on GR and now yours, I’m glad I didn’t. Still, the cover’s gorgeous so I might give it a try; will most probably get a copy from the library. :)

  3. Aw, sorry to hear it didn’t work for you. I haven’t read it yet and after reading a bunch of reviews that said similar things to what you’re saying, I’m not sure if I’m interested anymore. I think I might wait until all the books are published.

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