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The Girl Born of Smoke by [Billings, Jessica]
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The Girl Born of Smoke Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Length: 312 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jessica Billings is currently going to school in Michigan, but will always consider herself an Oregonian. She likes photographing bugs and majored in biology and education at Oregon State. She is now pursuing a master's degree in environmental engineering. She learned to scuba dive when she was 14, but refuses to dive into the frigid waters of Michigan.

Product Details

  • File Size: 648 KB
  • Print Length: 312 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1451582722
  • Publication Date: April 2, 2010
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003F779P4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #991,126 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A Girl Born of Smoke starts off with an young girl, Aurora, running from a mysterious man and finding sanctuary with two strangers. After I read the first few chapters, I thought I knew what was going on, but I was wrong. Jessica Billings spins a tale that takes you through fascinating and unexpected twists and turns that truly leave you guessing about what is going to happen next. The moment you think you know who the good guys are, you will find yourself proven wrong in the next paragraph. I managed to catch on to some of the twists, but one took me by surprise and had me eagerly reading more.

Beyond the well-crafted story line, the characters are diverse and distinctive and a pleasure to get to know as the story progresses.

This is an excellent first novel of a new author who I hope will be writing more.
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Format: Paperback
Right from the very beginning, we have a sense that there is something different about this girl Aurora, who is beating a hasty retreat from her home, with no sense at that point of where she is going.

As if by fate, Aurora connects with an odd couple who seem to revel mostly in their differences, who just happen to be sojourning in Aurora's former neighborhood. Soon, they are prepared to bring her to their home, far away, and help her establish a new life.

Establish she does! When she settles into her new home, she connects with some interesting people, the most significant of whom is Djerr, someone who will join her in the Citizen's Army, which has been locked in battle with the Wizard's Army. The Wizard's Army is not, at this stage, composed of Wizards, but rather by people who await the arrival of the new wizard, with the intention of serving that wizard, whose destiny is to bring peace and order to a beleaguered, war-torn land. Little do the faithful realize that the wizard they seek is in their midst!

Billings writes a crafty tale that will surprise readers with many twists and turns. Aurora is a strong enough character to withstand some rather dark aspects of her personality that make her more real, more human, than most protagonists.

The Girl Born of Smoke should be on your bookshelf today! Thanks for an entertaining read Jessica!

Jim Henry
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Format: Kindle Edition
I really wanted to like this one, but in the end I was disappointed. There were some solid ideas, and definitely some potential in the plot, but overall there were issues too glaring to be ignored. The character development was confusing to me, with what I think were attempts at adding depth to them by allowing for growth and change just made it seems like the characters had some pretty severe personality disorders. At one point the main character changed enough I wondered if the author was playing that the book had been "lying" to the audience the whole time, with the main character actually knowing exactly what she's doing and playing a different character to manipulate people (including the audience). I didn't particularly like the new character, but I was certainly intrigued and tearing through the book quickly at that point. Alas, it appeared to just be a mood swing. There was a tendency for stuff to happen and people to do things that frankly didn't always seem justified, given the whole story a kind of disjointed/underdeveloped feel. The dialogue was clunky and used modern (childish, even older characters) vernacular in a way that made it very hard to immerse myself in a world of magic and bladed weapons. There was a real problem with time in the book- I couldn't tell how much time actually passed or the real age of the characters. The science based magic system was interesting, but honestly added nothing to the story except extra pages. The ending had a very strange pace compared to the rest of the book, and while I think it was supposed to be a spectacular ending just left me thinking, "That's it?" It kept me interested enough to read to the end, but all in all I think this novel needed a lot more work and revisions before it was ready for publishing.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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Plot/Storyline: 5 Stars
"Thin tendrils of smoke rose up from the blackened ruins, twisting and coiling in the still air." The first sentence of Ms. Billings' book immediately brought to mind a picture of a burned out building shell. I am a, "why did this happen?" kind of person, so I was immediately hooked. I wanted to know why there was a fire. Why did the townspeople just stand by as her home burned to ruins? Why was no one helping her?
The answers to these questions came gradually through the book as the author allowed Aurora's story to unfold. Bits and pieces of her old life came to light as she interacted with the people in her new life after the fire.
I liked the lore behind the "Why were there no more wizards in the land". Aurora's travels with both armies for the upcoming battle allow her to grow and understand the futilities facing both sides. She struggled against admitting she was the gifted wizard everyone in the land was waiting for, while seeing that a change in the way the world operated was needed.
I don't want to say much more because I feel it would be along the lines of a spoiler, but I will say that I enjoyed the climactic "battle" between Aurora and the "Bad Guy" that decided the fate of the world as she knew it.
Characters: 5 Stars
I'm a mom of three teenagers, and a massive worry-wart. From the very beginning of the story, I worried about Aurora. A young girl alone in the world, no one to care for her, my heart went out to her. As the story progressed and Aurora faced the challenges of her life, I grew proud of her just like I would of my own children. When she faced her past, I wanted to hold her in my arms to comfort her as she cried.
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