Friday, January 27, 2017

A Well Written, Character Driven Novel: Fire Color One by Jenny Valentine

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I received this book for free from Philomel Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A Well Written, Character Driven Novel: Fire Color One by Jenny ValentineFire Color One by Jenny Valentine
Published by Philomel Books on Jan 31st, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: Philomel Books
Buy on Amazon

A father and daughter reconnect after a life spent apart to find their mutual love of art isn’t the only thing they share.

Sixteen-year-old Iris itches constantly for the strike of a match. But when she’s caught setting one too many fires, she’s whisked away to London before she can get arrested—at least that’s the story her mother tells. Mounting debt actually drove them out of LA, and it’s greed that brings them to a home Iris doesn’t recognize, where her millionaire father—a man she’s never met—lives. Though not for much longer.

Iris’s father is dying, and her mother is determined to claim his life’s fortune, including his priceless art collection. Forced to live with him as part of an exploitive scheme, Iris soon realizes her father is far different than the man she’s been schooled to hate, and everything she thought she knew—about her father and herself—is suddenly unclear. There may be hidden beauty in Iris’s uncertain past, and future, if only she can see beyond the flames.

Fire Color One is usually not the kind of novel I would find myself enjoying but I was thoroughly swept away by it. I love character development but I don’t really tend to enjoy books that are solely character driven. Fire Color One is primarily character driven. There is definitely a plot but it revolves around character revelations. Not around actual happenings. Yet it somehow managed to sweep me away till I had somehow run out of pages to read (*shakes fist at book for not being longer*)

This is a novel about grief, about relationships and a little bit about some revenge (and I am totes petty so I am all about the revenge life.) I think part of the magic of this book comes from how well the relationships are written. Iris’s budding relationship with her ‘new found’ father is magical and made me wish I could hang with my fam. I felt the warmth-ness of it and I loved how different they were yet how they found all these things in common and could find ways to be together even though he lay in his death bed and they had a timer on how much time they could spend together. I love that even though Iris’s mother was a shitty human being there was even a second layer to her. She wasn’t just a caricature (although she was still hella terrible.)

I kind of wish art was a bigger part of this book but I do enjoyed watching Iris and her father connect through art and over art. It was by no means the basis of their relationship but it was part of what made them such a great father/daughter pair.

This book features no romance which was really refreshing. I loved that through flashbacks we also got to meet her best friend and enjoy their relationship.  There were some romantic vibes I think but it didn’t matter one way or another.

Iris is my other fav thing about this book. She is a formidable character. I love how complicated she is. I love her reluctance. I love her angst and I love her character arc. She is flawed, neither likeable or unlikable. She just is. She is frustrated and unhappy with her family and she doesn’t really know where she belongs in the larger scheme of things. #same

I also really like the author’s writing style. We open with a prologue set in present time and then dive back into the past in a way where we are also very aware of the happenings of the presents. I feel like there is a word for this sort of narration style but I am not smart enough to know these things (even though I am a lit major.)  We are taken on a journey where we are aware of the end but where we need to piece together bits of the present to really understand the epic finale of the novel.

I love the emotional journey the book takes the readers on and I love that it is dispersed with bits of mystery and intrigue. There is something so compelling about the way the book is written that it leave you wanting more yet thoroughly satisfied. I would definitely recommend this to lovers of contemporary lit that will take you on a ride.


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Rashika has been tired since 2013. There are very few things that spark joy for her besides a nice cup of tea, warm, baked goods, good books and good TV shows. She is here to pile onto your giant TBRs and to-watch lists. Offer her a cookie and she might be nice to you.

3 Responses to “A Well Written, Character Driven Novel: Fire Color One by Jenny Valentine”

  1. Alex @ readstolive

    This sounds really intriguing! Especially due to the lack of romance. That seems like a real rarity in contemporary fiction, which is why I don’t tend to read it often. And man, what a cover. 😀

  2. Alyssa

    This sounds absolutely wonderful on all accounts, but I especially think I’ll appreciate the characterization. I love when authors make characters seem real with interesting flaws. I haven’t seen this around yet, so I’m glad you brought it to my attention!