Émi’s father used to weave beautiful tales of life beyond the wall, but she never knew if they were true. Now, her father is gone and Émi has been banished to the Red Quarter, where she toils to support herself and her mother – obeying the rules, hiding secrets and suffering the cruelties of the council’s ruthless Cadets.
But when Émi turns seventeen, sparks fly – literally. Her blood line surges into life and she realises she has a talent for magick… a talent that could get her killed.
Ideal for Fans of: The Hunger Games, The Raven Boys
Themes: Magic, Power, Family, Betrayal
Fire Lines has one of the most engaging beginnings I have come across. There are no prolonged explanations of the setting, on the contrary we are given a quite chilling scene of Emi in considerable
danger while there is a raid going on in her area. Emi as a protagonist is a very strong character from the get-go, reminding me very much of Katniss Everdeen (hence this book being perfect for Hunger Games fans), as she is forced to assume the lead role in her family, taking multiple jobs in order to have a roof over their heads. This made her a great voice for the story as she came across very determined.
Emi’s fear at being discovered was portrayed so vividly, I couldn’t resist getting chills at the descriptions of cadets ransacking people’s homes looking for any sign of magick. For this reason, I adored the first half of this book the most as it showed a lot of entrenched issued in this society, namely abuse of power and bringing to light the injustice endured by the people in the Red Quarter.
This reads very much as a journey story, as Emi is setting out to find a certain someone (of course I won’t reveal who due to spoilers!), with three other fellow travellers. Finding this individual was an interesting goal to drive the plot and along with the beautiful scenery (THERE WERE ELEPHANTS BEING RIDDEN), I stayed engaged throughout. The array of plot twists and betrayals were well incorporated into the story, although I did at times find the characters’ actions as being frustratingly irrational, which distracted me from the story. There is a fine line between being determined and unreasonable and at parts, the latter dominated.
Overall, this is a highly enjoyable read, with a great fantasy world. Focusing on magic stones binding a city, was very intriguing and the setting as aforementioned was stunning, in particular Tarynne, which had intriguing customs and traditions.
Cara Thurlbourn writes children’s and young adult fiction. 'Fire Lines' is her first novel. She has a degree in English from the University of Nottingham and an MA in Publishing from Oxford Brookes University. Cara blogs about her author journey and in November 2016 she crowdfunded her first children’s book. 10% of its profits are donated to animal rehoming charities.