Review: Into the Fire by Ashelyn Drake (Birth of the Phoenix #1)

17452685Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Month9Books
Publication:  September 9th, 2014
Formats: Paperback
Pages: 300

Rating: 2/5


Seventeen-year-old Cara Tillman’s life is a perfectly normal one until Logan Schmidt moves to Ashlan Falls. Cara is inexplicably drawn to him, but she’s not exactly complaining. Logan’s like no boy she’s ever met, and he brings out a side of Cara that she isn’t used to. As the two get closer, everything is nearly perfect, and Cara looks forward to the future.

But Cara isn’t a normal girl. She’s a member of a small group of people descended from the mythical phoenix bird, and her time is running out. Rebirth is nearing, which means she’ll forget her life up to this point—she’ll forget Logan and everything they mean to one another.. But that may be the least of Cara’s problems.

A phoenix hunter is on the loose, and he’s determined to put an end to the lives of people like Cara and her family, once and for all.

I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange of an honest review. Thank you. (I was not compensated in any way.)

I was so excited when I got the mail with Into the Fire in it because it features phoenixes which are creatures I had never read before. And if you've been reading my blog for a while, you might know how much I love reading about new things. Also, it was hyped, which always boosts one's enthusiasm. In the end though, it didn't live up to my - quite high - expectations, but not even to the lower ones.

In the basics, there were two big problems with Into the Fire:

1) It was over-dramatized big time. Like, even the most subtle predicaments were made to look like world-ending disasters and there were tears and melancholy and something death wish-ish thing even at a time. To make matters worse, it looked outright funny next to how strong the protagonist wanted to look like. She was described as so feisty and the whole text visibly wanted us to consider her really bad-ass. But how on Earth do you expect me to do that when she's constantly crying and fretting? Seriously.

2) Over-dramatizing is one thing. It's happened many times in the history of books and in some cases these books still gained a fairly extended fan base. In Into the Fire, however, it did not work at all. At all, I mean. I was thinking a lot about why at the time and after a while It just struck me: the book is almost completely lacking emotions. It doesn't tell you how the characters feel or how an external or internal force makes them feel. Occasionally they toss a "It made me angry.", but even that's just telling not showing hence it didn't come through. None of it did. I simply didn't believe it, didn't feel it, which is a major enjoyment-robbing factor, especially in a book that intended to be so emotionally packed.

Now, let's go into some details.

I though it was a fantasy book?

When I went into Into the Fire, I was sure it was going to be a fantasy. Based on the synopsis, I deducted that deduction. (It doesn't make much sense, but I did anyway. :D) However, it turned out to be a book with tons of romance and hardly any fantasy elements. Ms Drake had a few cool ideas on the Phoenixes, such as raised body temperature, dreaming your rebirth, or forgetting your previous life, but it was all drained in the first couple of chapters and then nothing until the very end, when Cara was reborn.

Cheesy (non)romance

I already mentioned that the emotions was missing from the book for the most part as well as I expressed my surprise when I realized out of romance and fantasy, it was a lot more romance than fantasy. Both play a role why the romance was just awful.

It was insta-love, however, I reluctantly came to terms with it, having learned that the Phoenixes can "imprint" on somebody, like in Twilight. They both will be drawn to each other, especially the Phoenix person. What I considered the bigger problem was that they went on and on and on about loving each other to no end and rather dying than being apart and being depressed when they don't see each other for a day and nada nada nada. But I just rolled my eyes and by the end of the book I was close to being sick of it. This was another thing I wondered why and it wound me up at the same point: they can tell me they love each other, but if it's only told not showed, I will be like "Uh-huh. Sure. I'll believe it when I see it." And in a romance centered book that's more than a mortal wound. Moreover, I imagine there was some depth to the characters, but I don't know as it felt like they only talked about love all. The. Freaking. Time. Cara and Logan and Cara's bestie, love, love, love. And more love. I'm drowning in love...

Dual Story Telling - Distinct Voices

I was starting to get exasperated that it will be a completely negative review. I rated it two books and it does feel like that, but according to my review it hardly reaches one. Yays for dual POV! I am saved.

The story was told from two POVs,Cara's and Logan's. Even if it didn't help convey emotions for both of them, it was good for one thing; it was necessary to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Okay, necessary is a mild exaggeration. I figured out at halfway through the book, but that's not the point. My real point is that I knew who was speaking without looking at the name, because both Cara and Logan had distinct voices. Logan's is a bit more boyish, tougher and Cara's is a more delicate one.

Characters: 3/5
Writing style: 2/5
Romance: 1/5
Plot: 3/5
Originality: 4/5
Predictability: 3/5


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