The Fire Artist by Daisy Whitney
Release date: October 14th, 2014
Publisher: Bloombury USA Children's Books
Source: ARC provided by NetGalley
Goodreads link: (click here)
What's it about?
The Fire Artist is set in an alternate, not too distant future, but in this time and place, the main form of entertainment is no longer sports, but elemental magic. Instead of Major League Baseball, there are Leagues of magic users. In the past, they were considered sideshow freaks, but now they are on the main stage. Young men and women dazzle crowds by controling earth, air, fire and water, and even more rarely, ice. It is the dream of every boy and girl with elemental abilities to leave the minors and be recruited by the majors or to join the Lookouts, a group that protects the planet from dangerous weather conditions. This story is about a girl named Aria. Aria is a fire girl, but her abilities are not natural. Her cruel father was convinced that she would become a fire artist, so when she was younger he tried to coax the power out of her by burning her hands. In order to stop him from hurting her, she finds a way to steal fire from the sky with the help of her best friend, a wind artist. This stolen fire is painful, it must be renewed regularly and it could eventually kill her, but she's very good at wielding it, so it's her only chance to get noticed and get away from her abusive father and her shut-in mother. When she finally is recruited by the big leagues, she is determined to find a way to keep her fire from fading before anyone discovers she's a fraud. There is a way, but it involves a Granter, otherwise known as a Genie. She's sure this is the answer to her problems, but she falls in love with her Granter. Now she's torn between saving this sad, beautiful boy who is basically a prisoner himself and getting her own wish fulfilled. There is more at stake than just her fire. Not only is her heart on the line, but if she is caught making a wish she could be thrown out of the League and if she's discovered as a fake she'll be shamed and her entire family exiled. Either way, if she loses her place in the League, she loses her chance to get her younger sister away from her father, who is back to his sadistic ways, trying to coax powers out of her. Aria doesn't know who to trust, and she's right to be cautious. Everybody has secrets, including her. She must decide what she's willing to sacrifice and who she can save. The fire she desires may end up costing a lot more than she bargained for.
I really enjoyed this dark, fun, fantasy-fairytale. That's exactly what it is, a fairytale. I love that it combines magic, genies, family drama and forbidden romance, too. The story is unique and kept me glued to the pages. At times there were things that were slightly over the top (like an "encounter" her father has with a magically enhanced aligator), but those were things that gave it a fairytale kind of feel. You have to suspend disbelief occasionally, but that's what makes it fun. Suspend disbelief...enjoy the story. I also love Daisy Whitney's magical storytelling ability. I will defintely be seeking out more of her books and looking forward to whatever else she writes. If you're looking for a fun, brief escape from reality, pick up The Fire Artist.