2 out of 4 stars
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The Fire He Started by Sarah Connor is a fiction book that contains supernatural elements. It is geared toward young adult readers. The main heroine, Terra, is a high-school student who loves her jock boyfriend, Erick. But, after a while, Terra starts seeing major problems in their relationship. Erick begins acting very possessive of Terra and being jealous of every boy that she talks to in school. He eventually even turns abusive. His controlling behavior spirals out of control, and Terra becomes determined to leave him. However, it won’t be easy because Erick is obsessed with having Terra all to himself. There is nothing that he wouldn’t do to have Terra in his life, including committing murder.
After running away and meeting three mysterious strangers who vow to protect her, Terra feels safe for the first time. But, can these strangers really be trusted? What dark secrets are they hiding? Will Terra ever be free of her past and Erick? Find out in this suspenseful first volume of the Paralystax Series.
I really enjoyed the book’s premise and the first half of the novel very much. There was an air of mystery surrounding Terra and the other characters. The book contained very dark themes, including abuse, murder, rape, and attempted suicide, so it wasn’t a typical teen story. The supernatural elements also seemed to have promise at first.
The author also did a good job of making you feel compassion for everything that Terra went through. She was very young and had to deal with a lot of pain and suffering at Erick’s hands. She lost many people in her life, and it was horrifying. As a reader, you wanted to find out more about the three puzzling characters that Terra met and learn who they were. More so, you truly hoped that they were really on her side, and she wasn’t in for more heartbreak. Also, Erick was never far from catching up to her, so there was always a feeling of dread.
Unfortunately, the supernatural elements of the book weren’t very satisfyingly written. We learned just bits and pieces of information about the three strangers and what they were hiding, but it wasn’t nearly enough to care about them as characters. The plot began to drag after Terra met them, which was a shame. It became a very predictable pattern of Terra fleeing from Erick, him finding her, and her running away again. The book quickly goes from a very engaging read to a pretty boring novel to get through. The plot picked up a bit toward the end, but it still felt like this book was just meant to set up other volumes.
Other points of concern were the very dark and heavy themes of the book. I didn’t personally have an issue with the heavy themes while reading, but I don’t think that the book is suitable for young adults. We saw teens in the book attempting suicide, committing rape, and murder, among other things. It was all very bleak, and it could be overwhelming for young minds to have to read all of that.
I’m rating this book 2 out of 4 stars. I did find the writing itself and the premise of the book very engaging and intriguing. This was a professionally edited novel. I also appreciated the author’s ability to make the readers feel for Terra and her situation. My excitement lasted for about half of the book until the pacing of the story began to slow down a lot. The supernatural mysteries weren’t satisfyingly written or revealed. It’s my hope that much more will be unveiled in the second volume of the series and that the pacing will pick up. I do feel like the rest of the series has potential with the supernatural element being a much stronger focus. I would recommend this novel for adult readers who don’t mind the very dark themes and who like mystery books that contain a supernatural component.
The Fire He Started
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