Just finished reading Vanish by Sophie Jordan which takes up right where Firelight left off. I enjoyed Firelight, I thought the Drakis were really good to read about but, surprisingly (because 2nd novels sometimes suffer) I thought this book was better. There was plenty of action and it kicks in virtually immediately with a tense scene that ends with a revelation (in more ways than one as this revelation actually clears up the book cover as well – one of those ‘ah, I see’ moments). (And that’s just the first few pages).
This review may contain spoilers for Firelight so don’t read it – unless of course you want to read spoilers!
In Vanish Jacinda, Tamra and her mother return to their pride and village with Cassian. Jacinda’s return of course is surrounded by deep distrust and her fellow villagers treat her with either cool indifference or downright dislike. She is very unhappy, not only has she left Will behind, but returning to her home – which is something she wanted so very much at the beginning of the first book – no longer brings the comfort she once felt. She has lost her status in the pride, her best friend isn’t speaking to her and also she has gained a creepy stalker in Cassian’s cousin Corbin. I did feel sorry for her to an extent and sometimes wanted her to speak up for herself a bit more and defend her actions.
By a strange twist Will manages to find Jacinda’s village – which is a potentially very dangerous moment for them both and Jacinda manages to engineer a chance to talk with him alone – and this is really the start of her problems – but I’m not going to elaborate too much on the rest of the plot. Basically as the story unfolds – another draki is captured by the hunters (Will’s relations) – to be honest this isn’t totally Jacinda’s fault but she does feel guilty. After this the plot twists and turns a bit before finally setting the scene for No.3 – this is going to feel like a long wait!
Now, I did really like this book but that doesn’t mean I was always happy. Jacinda got on my last nerve at times – in the first book I read a number of reviews from people who thought she was selfish but I never really saw her as such, but, in this book, frankly, yes, she comes across as selfish, very selfish in fact sometimes, self-centred, indecisive and on the odd occasion annoyingly dense! The thing is, after all that, I don’t dislike her and I do understand that she’s a teenager and has the whole ‘angst’ thing going on – not to mention an outdated, chauvinistic and dictating pack to deal with – but sometimes I thought she could have displayed a bit more sensitivity!
Then we have the Will/Cassian thing going on – I’m not really a big fan of love triangles and in this case it’s made even worse by the fact that not only do Will and Cassian both want Jacinda but her sister Tamra has got a big time ‘thing’ for Cassian. Oh, the trauma of it all. I had mixed feelings, I never really felt the whole ‘Will’ thing (but I realise I’m in a minority there!) , I mean I like him, but I think I could take it or leave it, plus, I thought Cassian came across a lot better in this book. But at the end of the day I think there is no choice and the decision is already made. At least I think it’s obvious!!
What I really liked about this book is the way it makes you think about different things – like Jacinda wants to be liked for herself and not her star draki qualities – so even though this is a book based on myths the messages are relevant, after all, everybody wants to be liked for themselves – if you’re famous you don’t want somebody to ‘want’ you because you’re famous, or ditto rich people, etc, etc. And Jacinda is never sure with her pack if they just like her because she is so unique.
Also, I liked the whole pack dynamic and village and the way that this was explored a lot more in this book. It reminds me of a tiny little village trapped in time, hidden away from the world and oblivious to modern life (a Brigadoon if you will). And, it’s a bit sad reading about it all, because the pack is getting smaller and is in danger of becoming extinct – a bit like a remote village where all the younger people move away. But, the thing is the elders are so very old fashioned and harsh – they definitely need to chill out a bit if they don’t want to push all their younger people away!
And, I liked the writing style which flows really well, lovely descriptions and so thought provoking with the ability to play with your emotions.
On the whole a very enjoyable read and I would have no hesitation in recommending – in fact if you love Firelight you simply have to read it!