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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Review: Embers & Echoes by Karsten Knight

Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Series: Wildefire #2
Young Adult
Pages: 480
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology, Romance

Fan the flames: A teen goddess fires up her search for love and family in this sequel to Wildefire.

Ashline Wilde may have needed school to learn that she is actually a reincarnated goddess, but she’s ready to move beyond books. She leaves her California boarding school behind and makes for Miami, where she meets a new group of deities and desperately seeks her sister Rose, the goddess of war. But she’s also looking for love—because even though her romance with Cole had to be snuffed, Ash is a volcano goddess—and she doesn’t get burned.

This sequel to the edgy and action-packed Wildefire continues a fiery drama on an immortal scale.
*Advanced reader's copy provided by Simon & Schuster for an honest review*

The snark master returns in a fantastic and action packed sequel. Ashline Wilde, the Polynesian volcano goddess, is back and better than ever in this second installment of the Wildefire trilogy. She is one fiery girl that you don't want to mess with. Karsten Knight delivers the mother of all sequels that had me blowing through those volcanic pages like there was no tomorrow! New friends and enemies, a long lost younger sister found and captured, an older sister locked in the pits of hell, Seasons that will kick your ass, death and destruction, revenge, a boyfriend that won't stay grounded, riveting god fighting scenes, the unstoppable master of the snark, hidden past lives, and some kisses along the way--Ember & Echoes took my breath away and left me sweating for the final book.

If I had to rate my heroines on a scale of one to infinity, Ashline takes the top spot. She's feisty, she's quick with the comebacks, she's too hot to handle, and packs one hell of a punch. Karsten Knight knew what he was doing when he put together Ashline Wilde, the mother of all heroines. Keen and cunning, Ash happens to be the epitome of heroic. She can be both bold and brash (volcano goddess, remember?), but can also quick in analyzing the situation when her head is in the right place. Information is key, and Ash know it. She is down to earth and understands the bounty of friendship and family is worth whatever cost. Ashline Wilde stole my heart and my laughter the moment I read the first words of Wildefire, and she hasn't let go of me yet.

The pacing was well set. The arc of the story was absolute perfection. The final scenes of the novel completely took me by surprise. Never in a million years could I have foretold what I had read. Even the second person narration, something that I had completely forgotten after the length of time from when I read Wildefire, was an breath of fresh air and so much fun. The pieces of Ashline's past brought out through these sections of second person POV had that element of dragging me into the very steps of Ash's past life. That happens to be another part of Karsten Knight's series that really separates it from the typical young adult franchise.

The side characters made Ember & Echoes as well. I looked forward for upcoming scenes with their appearances  Wes, the handsome Aztec god of night; Aurora, the spirited Roman dawn goddess; Ixtab (esh-twab), the Mayan suicide goddess who is awaiting the day Aurora switches sides for her. Each one of them put a little heart and soul into the story. Even the Four Seasons--the baddies of the book--Throne, Rey, Bleak, and Lily, brought something to the table in their own evil and destructive way. Can't have enjoyable god/goddess battle scenes without picking sides.

I'm not sure how I really felt about the romance in the novel. Time and again, I find myself reading how characters find themselves thinking about the other from the moment they first laid eyes on each other and all the jazz. When Wes comes clean and admits something along those lines to Ash, I found myself biting my lip wondering how I should take that. The two only knew each other for about a weeks time, and though there wasn't much advancement in their relationship to any "I love you, you are my everything" type dialogue. Though I much rather prefer Wes definitely over Colt, any day of the week that ends in Y.

Final Summation: This divergent, unique take on mythology, an unforgettable female heroine, and narration that sucks me in, EMBER & ECHOES defies the realm of the status quo in YA literature. Emotions run rampant throughout the novel, and I found myself so involved with wanting Ash to succeed, wanting things to work out with Wes and for Colt to disappear, I was cheering, laughing, loving, and hurting all throughout Ember & ECHOES. One fantastic series that makes me bittersweet about the final installment. The Wildefire series is one that I completely recommend for Rick Riordan fans, any mythology fan, and anyone who enjoys snarky comebacks a la mode.

First Line: Ashline Wilde lay battered on the side of the Pacific Coast Highway and watched her boyfriend emerge from the fiery car wreck, back from the dead.
Story: XS
Cover: S