“There is no pain in this death, only peace, knowing I am going to die with the one I love the most.”—Katriona Wilde.
Katriona Wilde has never wondered what it would feel like to have everything she’s ever known and loved ripped away, but she is about to find out. When she inadvertently leads her sister and best friend through a portal into a world she’s dreamed of for six years, she finds herself faced with more than just the frightening creatures in front of her.
Kate’s forced to accept a new truth: her entire life has been a lie, and those closest to her have betrayed her. What’s worse, she has no control over her new future, and it’s full of magic and horrors from which nightmares are made.
Will Kate discover and learn to control who she really is in time to save the ones she loves, or will all be lost?
Wilde’s Fire is a pretty solid debut by author Krystal Wade. When I first saw the blurb up on NetGalley, I was immediately intrigued, as I have a thing for characters being thrust into new situations and worlds and having to adapt, all while trying to save the world. For the most part, this book delivered on all of my expectations, at least in terms of the story itself.
The strongest part of the book was probably the world-building. The author has created a fictional land called Encardia, in which Darkness has overtaken the sun and confined the people to living underground, in constant fear of the daemons that attack in the dark and have nearly destroyed the entire world. Kate, our main character, is suddenly thrust into Encardia when her and her sister, Brit, follow a light into an underground cave, which actually turned out to be a portal. In Encardia, Kate meets Arland, whom she had actually been dreaming about for her entire life. Arland is the one to tell Kate that there’s actually a prophecy about her, that she’s Light, and will save Encardia from Darkness. (I know, all these capital letters are a bit much. If you’re going to read the book, get used to them!) In Encardia we also meet probably my most favorite character, Arland’s cousin, Flanna. Flanna is an impossibly upbeat, cheerful girl who instantly becomes Kate’s friend. She’s full of great insight and understanding, and I just really enjoyed every single second she was on the page.
I do want to warn that we have a bit of insta-love here – I mean, this is a YA book, right? – but I was willing to let it go for the most part because of the set-up for Arland and Kate. Both of them have prophecies that pretty much dictate their lives, not to mention that Kate’s been dreaming about him for forever. To Wade’s credit, they actually go a pretty darn long time before they even kiss, so I give her major kudos for at least not having them dive straight into anything physical. I do admit to a minor problem, however, with the fact that Kate’s powers don’t really materialize unless Arland’s near her, though, although I’m assuming that the second book will move away from that, considering the cliffhanger-like ending. And as a heads-up to any parents, there are some minor smexy times in this book, although I wouldn’t really call any of it graphic in the slightest.
My biggest problem with this book is that I had some trouble with the style at first. Wilde’s Fireis told via Kate’s first person, present tense voice, and I found the sentence structure to be a bit choppy and unpolished at the start. For me personally, the book didn’t pick up until about 65% into it, when things really start coming to a head. There are a lot of daily activities, like mucking out the barn, milking cows, chopping potatoes, etc., and it did become a tad tedious. The bits where Kate is working on her weapons skills were better, mostly because I just find sword fighting and learning to shoot a bow exciting. I also liked the little bits where Arland would fill Kate in on Encardian history, and the magic usage. I also had a bit of trouble with the whole Brad plot line, particularly Kate’s feelings toward him once he wakes up. That whole bit seemed disjointed, and her feelings were so erratic and hard to follow, but maybe that was the point.
I also thought the sort of ridiculous, over the top declarations of love in this book were a bit much. If someone were to say some of these lines to me, I would have a really hard time not laughing in their faces, even if my love for them was all-consuming. Still, maybe that’s just the cynical part of me reacting to what – to me – bordered on cheesiness. Your mileage may vary, etc. :)
All in all, this was a pretty intriguing, decently written and solid debut novel. There are enough loose ends to make me want to immediately dive into the sequel, Wilde’s Army (which is also up on NetGalley). I am definitely intrigued about where the author is going, and what’s next up for Kate. I especially look forward to her character development, and the evolution of her abilities.Wilde’s Fire is now available in North America from a bookseller of your choice. If you want something a bit different, give it a read.
An e-galley was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.