I should have known. I should have known when I couldn’t find this book on release day and I had to ask the nice shop attendant to show me where it was and he led me to the freaking Romance section. That should have been a dead give-away, but did I listen? Nooo, I had to be optimistic and shove all my other reading aside so I could consume the third book in this series as soon as it came out.
I made it almost half way through - a good 170 pages or so - before I threw this book aside in disgust. The first book in this series was so very good! It took me completely by surprise – I wasn’t expecting anything deep when I picked it up, but I got some really gritty themes, interesting characters, novel and surprising situations, and even a number of plot twists that I didn’t see coming until I was caught up in them. Did I mention the extremely compelling love interest? The second book had a marked downward slant in terms of quality and impact, but it was still a fairly worthwhile read. The characters had stagnated a bit, and the new introductions just weren’t that interesting. It felt very middle-school.
Fire Study can’t even claim that much. This is like… a 14-year-old’s first stab at a novel. If I went back and re-read the 150-odd pages of the book I tried to write as a teenager, I bet it would read juuuust like this. “It’s so exciting! And then THIS happened, but she was really awesome so it was ok! And then THIS happened, but she’s got these amazing powers, so she beat it. And then THIS happened but she’s a natural leader, so it was ok, too. Oh, she might have used her powers for evil, but it's for the greater good, so she's totally over accidentally killing those guys. And oh, boo hoo, isn’t she a tragic figure, so very outcast and exiled?” Christ. I’m not even exaggerating here, I swear. I recently read a rant by Ms. Snyder about how she doesn’t understand that people sometimes call her main character a “Mary Sue.” At the time I agreed with the MS-ness a bit, but not too much. Fire Study, however, had proven just how very much her main character epitomizes what it means to be a Mary Sue. It’s kind of pathetic.
I’m struggling to find anything at all good to say about this book. Um. I guess I’d rather see it in the YA section than in the Romance section. I mentioned in my review of the second book that it read like Mercedes Lackey, but better… the third book is definitely more of “it reads like Mercedes Lackey, but worse,” yet I still think it would be marginally entertaining for younger readers. Well, except for Snyder’s propensity for rape and killing – maybe not so much with that for 13-year-olds. Though, I guess I did start my little sister on Martin when she was 15ish, so I could just be overly prudish.
Right, I need to stop wallowing in the mudpit of self-pity formed from seeing a great series turn to crap. Don’t waste your money on this book, it’s boring, flat, and useless.