Actual rating 3.5 stars.
After enjoying the first book in this trilogy ‘Burn for Burn’ despite its immature narrative tone, I was eager to see where all the elements that were introduced in the debut were going… and well, ‘Fire With Fire’ took an unexpected turn - and I loved it! I felt this book was much better than the first. Having established all the characters in the first book, there was no confusion over who was who. We also got many of the plot elements developed further or answered in ‘Fire With Fire.’
There are a few turn-abouts with the characters which are executed deliciously. It follows suit of the first novel with the main trio of characters unveiling a different point of view to reveal an alternate opinion on their group of friends (and frenimies). I was a little frustrated with how the facts (and the reasons Lillia, Kat, and Mary began their little pact) were forgotten, or became blurry, the more convoluted their situation became.
We don't get the numerous flashbacks like in the first novel either, which was a welcome change.
The paranormal element gets heavily explored here too - and I loved it. It was hands down my favourite part of the book. I can confidently say ‘Fire with Fire’ does not suffer middle-book-syndrome. It felt more complete to me than the debut.
I'm getting really frustrated with Lillia, she got date raped in the past from drinking and hanging out with randy teenage boys - and then keeps repeating that behaviour. No-one deserves to be drugged and sexually assaulted, but it seems like she hasn't learnt her lesson and intentionally putting herself in a position for it to happen again. Dumb.
Lillia is my uptight drama queen. And although she can annoy the crap out of me at times, her antics and personality really pad out the narrative.
Excited about the exploration of Mary's character, but am still on the fence about her storyline - I wanted more face time with her - it was a little brief and left me feeling like I'd only scratched the surface.
Kat's character still felt like she did in the first novel, even though she's meant to be edgy, maybe a bit gothic, I found her a little vanilla.
The pacing was also much better - but in saying that, there were also a few spots that really dragged. The writing style felt like it had improved from the debut - it didn't feel as flat. Though, we don't get as much of the comedic elements as we did in ‘Burn for Burn.’ Neither did we see much of Nadia (Lillias little sister) and that familial dynamic Han writes so well.
It was nice to read towards the end how the main cast were acting a little more responsibly and having realistic reactions to things that had both happened, and we're currently happening.
The cliff-hanger (and ending of the novel) threw me, and I did not see it coming in a million years! It has me gagging for the final book in the series ‘Ashes to Ashes.’ Packaged with beautiful cover art, a diverse cast, a contemporary story line with a paranormal edge, this series has spacious typesetting and large font aiding to its overall aesthetic and ease of completion.
Another quick read, despite its 517 pages. I spread it out over 2 sittings and 2 days, but could have easily completed it in one. I was dubious about this series at the start, but am coming to love it now. Let's hope ‘Ashes for Ashes’ can bring it on home!
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