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VINE VOICEon August 11, 2011
I'm not sure what I expected from Wildefire...I saw the rave reviews, but I still wasn't completely convinced. The premise sounded a little been there, done that to me. Wow, was I wrong. I discovered from page 1 that this book was something different. Wildefire is something awesome.

This book revolves around a mythology theme, which is becoming pretty popular in YA lately. I'm not complaining about that at all. I love mythology. I especially love Karsten Knight's unique take on it. You don't really get a full explanation or back story until pretty late in the book, but that was never a problem for me because Ash was so compelling I sometimes forgot she was supposed to be a mysterious goddess.

Ashline was my most favorite part of the book. From the first scene I knew I was going to love that girl. She is totally kick ass and brave without being annoyingly stubborn. She was a pretty perfect character in my opinion. All of the secondary characters were fantastic! They were all really well developed which was great because they are all essential to the story. Eve, the villain and Ashline's sister, was wonderfully done. Wow, I hated her. I wanted to punch her in the face on many occasions, that's the sign of a well done villain in my book.

Knight definitely knows how to hook you very early on. The events of the first 20 pages were kind of huge and it sets the tone for the rest of the book. It's unputdownable after that. I think Karsten Knight has only just begun. Wildefire is an outstanding debut and I'm dying for more.
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VINE VOICEon July 26, 2011
Also appears on The Screaming Nitpicker.

After an incident in her hometown leaves a girl dead by a lightning strike (that may or may not have something to do with her sister), Ashline Wilde is happy to get away to Blackwood Academy in California on the opposite side of the country. She just wants a fresh start, the opportunity to be normal, and maybe a romance with that really cute park ranger. Then she gets a bombshell dropped on her: she, a few of her classmates, and even her sister Eve are reincarnated gods and goddesses. When Eve comes back into Ash's life with intentions that aren't the kindest, Ash will have to master her fiery powers and face down Eve once again.

I got pressured into reading this book. Many of my Goodreads friends read it and their opinions fell on both sides of the spectrum with a few in the middle. Some of my friends (and you know who you are) asked me if I'd read it and said I should when I replied that no, Wildefire wasn't in my reading pile. Now I've read it and I'll parachute into that middleground. Not good, not bad, and certainly not a "me" book.

What seemed to attract so many people to it was the promising premise and the diversity of its characters so many readers were wishing for. On those, Wildefire delivered. The premise was a fresh one and the cast had a diversity in races I wish the rest of YA literature could embrace. I love having characters from all different backgrounds--Polynesian, Japanese, Haitian, and Egyptian, to start--but their actual characterization leaves a lot to be desired. None of them have their own distinct personalities that set them apart from one another and they sound almost alike in what they say.

I'm picky about romance in YA books and hardly notice them anymore because I'm not much of a romance person, but I kind of liked what Ashline and Colt had. Yeah, Colt says some pretty creepy things sometimes, but I've seen much worse and I can't expect every character ever to be good at words because some people (including me) are bad at words. Their development is good and their date into the woods at sunset was a great scene both for them and as a scene in a book. Certainly not my new favorite couple, but they're fun to read about.

The first chapter of the book is infamously divisive due to the violence and the book nearly lost me there too. I've read the myths too and I know the goddesses tend to go after the women and not the cheating gods of spouses, but that doesn't mean I can't be irritated. There were more than a few things off with how the characters acted, especially with the principal just standing by and letting a girl be beaten up by two different people. It isn't a book easily judged by the quality of its first chapter, that's for sure.

The prose and writing has its strong moments, especially during action scenes where Ash and her friends have to fight or in Ash's visions of a small girl being studied by scientists. Then it attempts to be pretty prose and only succeeds occasionally. There were more than a few "wait, what?" sort of moments to do with the prose. I would quote them so you could see what I mean, but I would rather not because it's an ARC. Cutting some of the failed pretty prose attempts before final publication would be a great idea.

Wildefire in its first half is somewhat dull. Ash is settling in at her new school, meeting and getting to know all the important players, but very little happens until about thirty-five or forty percent of the way in. Maybe this has to do with how impossible it was for me to concentrate on this book. I never became emotionally invested in the characters or their situations either. It's not a good thing when I have to sit down and force myself to read a book because I can't pay attention to it. It wasn't that I wasn't in a reading mood--I've been reading a lot the past few days--but Wildefire couldn't keep my attention.

The second half is when the story really starts to kick in, but close to the end of the book (and I admit this with shame), I skipped about seventy pages to get to the end because I still wasn't interested and I was ready to get the book over with. I don't feel like I missed anything vitally important. A truly good book is good from the first page to the last; readers shouldn't have to endure a dull first half to get to a worthwhile second half.

I don't know if I've said this before, but I'll close my review by saying it: I WISH PEOPLE WOULD STOP ENDING THEIR BOOKS WITH CLIFFHANGERS. You don't need to use cliffhangers to make people read the next book in your series. If the reader liked the first book, they'll probably read the books that come after it. Ending books with cliffhangers just results in frustrated readers. Wildefire definitely wasn't a "me" book with all its strengths and flaws, but give it a try if you're interested.
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VINE VOICEon June 5, 2016
This was a well-written paranormal story with some hints of romance. Ashline Wilde has come across the country to attend a secluded boarding school in Redwood country. She wanted a fresh start after watching her sister call down lightning and kill one of Ashline's schoolmates. But Blackwood Academy isn't quite the refuge she was hoping for. First, she and some friends rescue another student from being kidnapped. Then, they learn that they are not human but are reincarnated gods from a variety of mythologies. Third, her sister Eve isn't nearly as much out of her life as she would like and is determined to do anything and kill anyone to get Ashline to come away with her.

Being a YA story, there is a love triangle of sorts. Pete the soccer star and Colt the college student/forest ranger are competing for Ashline's attention. Between battles with mercenaries sent to capture the paranormal kids and Eve creating her own unique kind of chaos, this book is packed with excitement and danger.

I really liked the dialog as the kids segue from normal teens with concerns for classes and parties to gods and goddesses learning to use their powers. This is the first book in a trilogy so there are strings left untied. However, it is a complete and engaging story in itself.

YA fans of urban fantasy/paranormal romance will enjoy this one.
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My Thoughts:

I was soo excited to read this book. It has been on my wishlist for a while, and I couldn't wait for it to come out. The storyline sounded freakin' awesome, and I just knew I was going to really like it..so where did it all go wrong?

The writing was okay, the characters were eh, the plot was okay...This story had the potential to be AMAZING. A girl who turn out to be the Volcano Goddess? um.awesome! Tragically, however, me and Wildefire just did not click.

Firstly, I felt like I kept reading and reading and it took FOREVER for the plot to develop. It's not good when you keep looking to see how many more pages you have until it's over. I kept waiting for that "OMG I can't believe that just happened" moment. And that didn't come until the last page. Even then..eh.

I did not connect with any of the characters, wasn't invested in any of their lives. I felt like they were a bit generic, nothing special. For me, if I can't connect or relate to any of the characters, it's all down-hill from there.

I also had difficulty with some of the dialogue because it just didn't fit. In some passages I found myself thinking no. no. no. I realize the writer of this book being male and all had a daunting task trying to write the inner workings of a female main character, but I don't think he quite hit the nail on the head, so to speak. For example, the main character Ash (who's a girl) says the following to her friend (also a girl) when they are out dress shopping: "Damn, girl. You better get a defibrillator to go with the dress, because Rolfe is going to have a heart attack when he sees you in that." Awkward.Cheesy. and not something I picture being said in this context.

With the main story line of this book being about Ashline and some of her school mates discovering they are Gods, there wasn't nearly enough detail relating to the subject. I felt like it took until the last 40 pages to really get anywhere and even then there was too much left out. Too much time was spent on the build-up and not enough on the actual story.

So what did I like? The whole Polynesian Volcano Goddess subject. The idea of these kids being reincarnated over and over again and not remembering their past lives.Having kick-ass powers. And it did have one of my favorite settings-boarding school.

Favorite Quotes:

"There are two types of people in this world...Those of us who fear what we cannot control, who sit in the driver's seat of life and take charge of our own fates. And then there are those who fear choice, those so burdened by the mistakes that they've made that they seek solace in what they cannot control, knowing that no matter the outcome, at least it wasn't their fault. I challenge you to figure out which one you are."

"Strange to think we spend our entire life growing up under the wings of one religion only to find out that we're actually the fruits of another. Do you still believe?"

Bottom Line: I reallyreallyreally wanted to love this book. Sadly, I was left wanting. 2.5/5
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on January 13, 2014
I wanted to like Wildefire, I really did. A book that includes all gods and goddesses from the world's cultures sounds like it could be amazing. Instead, the book felt disjointed and the action didn't really start until near the end. I'm all for a thorough set-up, but the ratio of set-up to plot was off for me. The reason I kept reading, however, were the characters Knight created. They weren't enough to save the novel though.

The book starts in the middle of a fight between Ashline and Lizzy, a girl at her school. Ashline's sister arrives and escalates the fighting to a crazy level. From there, the story takes a while to unfold. Ashline leaves her school in favor of a private school, far away from the events of the first chapter.

Knight was able to write fantastic characters. They encompass the teen years perfectly. With each character, not only could I picture them as real, but I could see how they would have fit into my high school circle of friends. Ashline's sarcasm won me over. She had a quick wit and a dry humor that I loved. Colt is sweet and persistent without being too much. Even Eve, the evil sister was written well. She was evil, but Knight wrote cracks into her toughness.

My main problem with the novel is how long it took to get to the things in the book description. Maybe it's because I was expecting something else based on that description, but I found myself anxious and not in a good way. I was interested in the action of the book description. It's quite possible that if someone had handed me the book, told me it was about a teen goddess, and sent me on my merry way, I would have enjoyed it more. I just didn't find myself enjoying the build-up. It seemed like there was a lot going on, but it didn't seem to move the novel forward much.

The other thing that turned me off right away was the fight in the beginning. Not that it was over a boy, things like that happen when you're a teen girl. I was a little bothered by how violent it was even before Eve arrived and made things worse. I'm not usually bothered by violence, but something about these few opening scenes bothered me. It might be because I didn't know the characters before being dropped into the middle of a violent fight.

Ultimately, this wasn't the book for me. The characters were well written, but that couldn't make up for the rest of the novel. Things took a little too long to develop and by the time the action really started, I was already taken out of the novel. I know this will be a book for some, but just not for me.
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on July 22, 2011
Ashline Wilde hoped that by leaving home and moving all the way across the country to attend Blackwood Academy would finally rid her of the memories of the destruction left in her sister Evelyn's wake. But fleeing her home didn't mean escaping her dreams.

Months later and she was still struggling with her guilt in the part that she had played. Guilt that turned her dreams into nightmares as she replayed the incident that transformed her sister Eve from a troubled teen into a wanted criminal.

Life at Blackwood was a definite improvement over Scarsdale High School. Even if the change of scenery hadn't affected her fiery temper, just knowing she was far away from any reminders of her past and hidden away from whatever it was her sister had become made her feel much better.

But when an off-campus night of fun leads to the discovery that not everyone at Blackwood was as they seemed, and that they were in fact immortal gods and goddesses, her hopes to finish out her year quietly and without incident were shattered.

And when she learns that she, too, is a goddess and that her choice to attend Blackwood may not have been as random as she thought, Ash doesn't think things could get much worse. She was wrong.

With the sudden appearance of strange lights in the woods surrounding Blackwood and the return of her vengeful sister, things turn deadly, not only for her, but for everyone unlucky enough to get in Eve's way.

Unless Ash can figure out how to access her powers and confront her sister once and for all, she is at risk to lose everything, including her immortality.

***

Wildefire is an absolute powerhouse of a debut book. The story is unique, the writing is outstanding, the action is intense, there is sarcasm and humor aplenty, and an ending that will cut you off at the knees.

This book is more than just a modern day twist on mythological gods and goddesses. Not only do they encompass a broad range of cultures and ethnicities, their histories and abilities offer a refreshing change from many of the stories in this same genre.

Ashline Wilde is an amazingly strong female main character and one that doesn't fit into the mold of the typical teenage heroine in these stories. She comes from such a diverse background - a young Polynesian girl who, along with her sister, Evelyn, was adopted and raised by a well-to-do Jewish family in New York.

She is more than ready to fight for what's hers, but also knows right from wrong and is willing to back down if that's the best course of action. She is tough but very likable, and while she may never be a damsel in distress, she is one that readers will root for.

Wildefire takes readers in a completely new direction with its approach to this genre, but still retains all of the elements that make this kind of story so addicting. There are immortals, fierce battles, hidden agendas, secrets, enemies, shocking surprises and a jaw-dropping cliffhanger ending.

Karsten Knight is a phenomenal writer who has taken a risk and pushed the boundaries with his debut book. He gives readers a heroine who defies societal norms but who stands out as rather exceptional. He ups the level of violence, but not just for the shock value or in a way that is out of character for these immortal gods and goddesses.

And with writing that has such fluidity interspersed with humor, he invites readers into this story and dares them to become ensnared.

Wildefire is truly one-of-a-kind and an absolute must read first book in this new series.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon July 30, 2011
Wildefire by Karsten Knight stars Ashline Wilde. After suffering a traumatic experience involving her wild sister causing the death of a field hockey player though a lightning strike Ashlyn moves to a boarding school in California. Soon after arriving she finds herself drawn to a group of students and they find out that they are gods which explains odd moments in their past and they quickly gain use of their powers. While the others are told who they are Ashline's past and powers are still unexplained and her powerful storm goddess sister is inflicting chaos.

This book suffers from a bad publishing decision. The person in charge of marketing the book spoils a major piece of the plot and the ending in all of the press materials. An important development in the last thirty or so pages is printed on the back flap. So while reading the book you know what the big reveal will be which ruins a large chunk of the story. Aside from that the book was fairly good. The mythology was well developed and original. While there were a few snags in the writing that dragged in the beginning (including a section written in second person) and a large number of plot points left dangling I did enjoy the book and I cared about the characters.

Appropriateness: There are quite a few drinking scenes including the kids drinking in a bar complete with fake ID's. The sexual content is limited to heavy makeout sessions (and includes a scene where Ashline forcibly kicks a boy out of her room for being too demanding). Ashline is in her late teens and acts true to her age. I would recommend this book to the older end of the YA audience, readers 13+
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on January 28, 2012
What made me keep turning the page?
To find out who/what Ashline was
The mysterious past of the characters
To see how Ashline and her sister Eve resolve their differences
Ashline's sarcasm and "don't mess with me" attitude

Any complaints?
I felt like a lot of things didn't really tie together, like something was missing

Recommendation:
YA Paranormal Fans
Fans of mythology

Final Thoughts...
Wildfire was a very entertaining read. Ashline was a "kick butt" kind of girl. I loved her "don't mess with me" attitude along with her witty sarcasm. I also enjoyed the other characters in the story.

On the other hand I felt like something was missing from this story. All these great elements were there, but it felt like some parts were underdeveloped. I wanted to know a little more about Ashline and Eve's childhood together, and what suddenly made Eve such a "bad girl". I also felt that Serena should have played a bigger part in the story. Maybe these things will be answered in the sequel.

The ending was a total shock! I love when a book can surprise me, and I did not see the ending coming at all!

Overall, this wasn't my favorite book, but I did enjoy it. I will most likely read the next book in this series when it comes out.
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on September 15, 2011
I laughed so hard I almost fell on my butt on the floor, I cried till my eyes got all puffy and swollen and lived myself so into this book that when I was done I felt as if the characters in this book were my own friends and enemies.

It's really hard to write a review about Wildefire without write too many spoilers, so I'm just gonna jump right into it: This book is maybe one of the best book I've read so far. And trust me, I've read a lot of books. There was so many surprises along the way that you never knew what was about to happen. Usually, you can figure out how the story is going to end pretty well when you read a book. Well, dear readers, not this book.

The first page of the book, Karsten jumps right into the action, leaving me sitting wide-eyed and immediately loving Ashline-Ash-without hesitation. She's doesn't hesitate to say what she means, she's kind, cares about her friends, and is also fierce. I absolutely adored her.

There was some pages that I had to force myself to read, but only because there was a lot of informations, but it fit so well into the book that I'm happy I read it and didn't just skip a page.

the romance picks up pretty fast, you get the whole "aha" feeling when you're introduced to Colt. And can I say, I loved him! Cocky, kind and handsome, I'm pretty sure every girl would have fallen for him.

Ashline's friends was also put a big smile on my face. I loved Jackie, Ash's best friend. She's just as fierce and funny as Ashline. And all her other friends that we get to know in this book are loveable and put a big smile on my face.

At the end, I sat there with my heart beating so fast I was afraid it would burst out of my chest, with both a wide grin on my face (I even laughed so hard that my brother looked at me like I was crazy) and had tears in my eyes. There was SO much emotions raging inside my chest I couldn't name half of it!

It's a sad, funny, heartbreaking book with a lot of action that I could have read more times, the best of it is that you don't know what's going to happen. Karsten have written this book so amazingly that I'm pinning for the second book. I can't wait to see what happens next!

If you love a good book, I would definitely recommend Wildefire. I hesitated a little before I bought it, but I'm so happy that I did. Loved it!
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on September 23, 2013
When you are assumed responsible for your sister's death, you get sent across the country to boarding school to live. But what's so bad about the beach, redwood forest, and boys?

Ashline's first mistake is rescuing a blind girl from being manhandled in a dark alley. Her second is accepting the scroll. Her third is dating. Her fourth is not running like mad, when she finds that her new band of friends all have magic powers.

Of course, Ash has the power of deity flowing in her veins too. She's a reincarnated volcano goddess, and learning to control those powers in the midst of high school and rampant teenage hormones is not easy. Waking up from a "hot" dream with the bed on fire does wonderful things for her rep in the dorm. Plus, dating when bursting into flame in emotional situations is a likelihood does not make for much "fun."

Though mixing pantheons isn't new, this young-adult novel introduces readers to gods and goddesses less advertised in other mythological fiction. Karsten Knight balances coming-of-age and societal responsibilities with the developing powers and real-life rebellious tendencies of the near-immortal characters in the first book of the Wildfire series.

Most authors shy from creating a blind character, but Knight imagines a capable and intelligent young lady. She performs a relevant and necessary role within the novel from almost the first day Ashline enters Blackwood Academy, forging the group of friends who will see Ash through her explosive first year as an "active" volcano goddess.

The stereotypes of boarding school students are polar opposites . Ash is not of the studious variety. This book models teenage behavior in relation to alcohol, skipping classes, avoiding curfew, corralling sexual urges, bullying, and violence. The author is careful not to condemn these actions, but she does list possible consequences through means of her plot for some of the actions of her characters. A taming influence for much of the book, Ash bursts into flames when she thinks about boys (Hard to date when you set Mr. Right Now alight.). Because the near-immortals exhibit few inhibitions, this is not recommended as a book for young and impressionable readers.

You can see the epic ending rolling in like a crushing tide... It's life vs. death. It's the song of a blue flame. It's fire vs. water. It's love or deception. It's about family. And, someone has to die.

The second Wildfire novel...
Embers & Echoes (Wildefire)
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