I received this e-book from NetGalley and Atom in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: French teen Sacha Winters can’t die. He can throw himself off a roof, be stabbed, even shot, and he will always survive. Until the day when history and ancient enmities dictate that he must die. Worse still, his death will trigger something awful. Something deadly. And that day is closing in.
Taylor Montclair is a normal English girl, hanging out with her friends and studying for exams, until she starts shorting out the lights with her brain. She’s also the only person who can save Sacha.
There’s only one problem: the two of them have never met. They live hundreds of miles apart and powerful forces will stop at nothing to keep them apart.
They have eight weeks to find each other.
Will they survive long enough to save the world?
I have to be honest and say that after reading the first few chapters, I didn’t think I was going to be able to finish this. But then, much to my surprise, I found myself slowly drawn in until I couldn’t wait to see how it ended.
At the beginning of the book the problem is the two main characters. Sacha comes across as smug, arrogant, and an insufferable know-it-all. I wanted to shove him off a roof myself a few times! But then you slowly begin to see the heavy burden of the curse that is weighing on him, and his love for his mother and younger sister who he’ll sacrifice anything to protect. He also has a cheeky sense of humor that winds up being rather charming. Taylor is Sasha’s polar opposite. She is too perfect and has absolutely zero personality. But as she learns about her family’s legacy and their part in this ancient prophecy, she quickly learns that sometimes it’s okay to break the rules. When she and Sasha actually meet in person they bring out the best in each other. Taylor makes Sasha think things through a little more rationally before he acts, and Sacha teaches Taylor how to let loose a little and embrace her inner warrior. He also shows her how wonderful and beautiful the world is around her. Their relationship develops slowly and there’s actually only a hint at a blossoming romance near the end.
My other issue was that except for a couple of instances, the secondary characters tended to fade into the background throughout most of the book. Given that Sacha and Taylor are teens who are going to need a lot of help if they’re going to defeat the prophecy and save the world, this strikes a slightly discordant note.
Except for a slightly slow beginning, the world-building is magical and exciting, and the scenes which took place in France had me wishing for the umpteenth millionth time that I could go live there. Sometimes when a book is written by two authors, there can be a bit of a disconnect where one leaves off and the other begins. This is definitely not the case here. While the chapters alternate between Sacha and Taylor’s POVS, this is done absolutely seamlessly. The story ends on the perfect note, and sets things up nicely for the second book.
I’m really hoping the rocky start doesn’t turn away too many readers, because I do think The Secret Fire has a lot to offer to fans of the YA paranormal genre. I’m looking forward to the next book!