- Title: The Fire He Started
- Author: Sarah Connor
- Series: Paralystax Series, #1
- Genre: Horror, Dark Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller, Romance, Gothic, Vampiric, Otherworldly
- Publishing Date: March 5th, 2019
- Publishing Co.: Indie
- Length: 522 pages
- Format: Kindle Unlimited, Paperback, Hardcover
- Acquired: Given free hardcover copy in exchange for an honest review
- Amazon Link: The Fire He Started
“One of two things is going to happen, Leon: Either I run, or all of us die.”
“That can’t be the only option,” he says, determined to persuade me. “There has to be another way.”
“There isn’t,” I reply, jaded.
“You don’t know that,” he beseeches me.
I look up to him, hoping he’ll see the conviction in my eyes. That this as inevitable as the moon’s gravity guiding the tide crashing into the precipice beneath us as we stand on the edge of everything and nothing.
“You don’t know him.”
Terra’s on the run from many things in her life: Her mass murdering ex, the PTSD she struggles with from witnessing his carnage, three strangers—one of whom would try to win her heart, and the nefarious preternatural creatures these outsiders have been ordered to covertly eradicate. She will discover that not all humans are merciless beasts, and not all merciless beasts are human. Which will she have to conquer first?
First Chapter Challenge: 31 pages
The prologue is absolutely amazing. Full of supernatural teasings, mystery, with a complete helping of horror. The prologue has be so totally entranced, that I am already ready to jump into this book! What happens with the three chained up? How did Terra get there? Who are these “men,” that have lived for hundreds of years?
The first chapter is a little less exciting, but that can be attributed to the fact that it needs to build up the story. Even so, I like this first chapter as well! It looks like it’s building up the evilness of this character Erik, whom I predict will be hurting Terra in some way, forcing her onto a new path which will eventually lead her to where the prologue begins… I can’t wait to find out what happens, and how it happens!
Final Judgement: 3.5 Stars out of 5
Trigger Warning: This novel contains adult content such as sexual content and sexual violence, as well as adult language.
In this dark and thrilling novel by Sarah Connor, we follow the tragic story of Terra as she flees her rapist and the murderer of her entire family; Erik. What started out as a teenage romance became something much more sinister as Terra attempted to break away from the psychopath known as Erik. After he brutally murdered her entire family, she fled, erasing all proof of her existence. Finding a halfway house, Terra believed that she was safe from the monster tracking her… But Erik has more resources than should be believed–all thanks to his similarly psychopathic father’s connections. Again, Terra goes on the run, and this time all seems lost, until she meets 3 kindhearted souls who take her in. Will Terra be safe with them? Or will her past come back and stab them all in the backs? Literally.
To be honest, I actually put down this book a few times as I was reading the first third of it. I found the characters to be somewhat annoying, the events widely unbelievable, and the dialogue completely unrealistic. HOWEVER, and I wish to stress this point, the last two-thirds/half of the novel completely made up for it. I almost didn’t pick it back up again, but after letting it sit for a few weeks, I wanted to give it one more shot, and I am so glad that I did! I can now count myself as a Terra fan, and I will be picking up the next book in the series! 🙂
In the living room–what an ironic name today–I have to step over an internal organ of some kind. It’s an odd grey color. I put my hand over my mouth to keep from vomiting again (pg 53).
So on to the review… I will admit that the dialogue remains somewhat unrealistic throughout the book, as some characters–Terra especially–say paragraphs upon paragraphs to another character, seemingly without a breath or input from that character. And not only this, but the words are not what people would actually say in conversation… They’re what an author would write to sound more eloquent/flowery. The dialogue thus threw me out of Terra’s world, however I will say that these instances did become more infrequent as the book went on.
As for the characters, Erik is not a very believable character in my mind, his change is just too sudden, his connections too deep for a teenager. I get that his father has connections and thus aids him in his conquest of Terra, but I still can’t believe it. It takes the realness out of the story. I think if there had been more backstory to Erik or his father, that would have helped flesh out his character a bit, but perhaps then it would have taken away from the horror/mystery of him. I don’t know. I just know that I’m not entirely happy with him.
However, the other characters are actually pretty decent. Terra, though somewhat annoying with her constant self-guilt in the beginning, is fully fleshed out by the end, and I could imagine going to school with her, as a real human being. The 3 boys are likewise developed sufficiently, especially Leon. Oh, Leon. How my heart swells! As I said, the last half of the book completely turns around the first half, and thus it is these characters included in the end that really got me. I finally began feeling each of their emotions, rooting for Terra, and finding myself sitting literally on the edge of my couch, hunched over the book as I read the end chapters, each getting more suspenseful than the last.
“She’s coming back,” Johnny hisses and the subject is dropped. Masks on, effortlessly shifting irritated attitudes to nonchalant and calm personalities. As if this were the way they’ve been acting for centuries (pg 223).
On the subject of characters, let’s talk about this romance between Leon and Terra! I LOVE the love here. It is suspenseful, dark, teasing, fulfilling…everything that I want in a romance! I found myself falling in love with Leon… Sorry JJ (my fiance)! I may be picking up the next book simply to see how Terra and Leon’s relationship continues to unfold.
One thing that I was completely surprised about about halfway through, was the fact that there are some fantasy elements within the novel. The first half is based around Terra’s plight and her working to stay hidden from Erik. But the second half then changes focal points somewhat, and revolves around Terra and her relationship with the three boys, as well as their “job.” In fact, the POV even changes at times to show the boys working, without Terra involved at all. And their job involves something of the supernatural persuasion… I will not say more so I don’t spoil anything! But it definitely enhanced the novel tenfold 🙂
Before I can blink, he’s got those piercing eyes on me. I catch him when he’s unguarded, and again, I see the sorrow he conceals deep within. The story of him readable. But then it’s locked tight in and the key’s thrown into the abyss (pg 428).
So all I have left to really talk about is the writing itself. I will say that there are multiple grammatical errors throughout the novel, and as a budding English teacher, it hits me pretty hard whenever I come across these. There were also some instances where I became bored with the writing, as it becomes overly descriptive or redundant… Especially with Leon and his eyes. Though I understand that eyes and their color and everything are an important trope in the story, the continual description, relaying the same information and emotions becomes rather tiresome.
So, all in all, I DID enjoy this book… Though I could have done without the first half. I truly believe that the the second half is so powerful and heart-tugging that it could have stood on its own without the first half almost entirely… However, I still recommend this book as it stands, I simply advise caution for getting your hopes up too high for the very beginning. Wait until about halfway through, and then enjoy yourself! Will you join me in the rest of Terra’s journey? I have high hopes for the next book!