Book Review: Embers & Echoes

Embers & Echoes (Wildefire #2)
Published By: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: August 2012
Page Count: 480
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Fantasy/Paranormal, Mythology

I loved the first novel in this series so I had extremely high hopes for this one. Wildefire ended with some major emotional moments and I was anxious to see how those would be resolved. Sadly, I had to wait to work this one in because ARC's and other novels had higher priority in my review list. I finally decided it was time to work this one in so I could read the final novel quickly after its release.

In some ways I feel like Ember & Echoes suffers from a mild case of second book syndrome. I didn't love it like I loved Wildefire, but I do feel like there is a lot of necessary pieces that are revealed throughout this one.  There is just so much information in this novel that I felt overwhelmed at times. Ashline's past begins to impact her present. I loved the writing structure of this one; Knight tells the story through present tense and flashbacks into Ash's past. I didn't expect to enjoy the flashbacks as much as I did, but they ended up being my favorite part of the novel. I think Knight has some serious potential as a historical fiction writer and I'd love to see more of this style from him in the future. 

In addition, I wasn't expecting the setting to change so drastically. Instead of the Northern California Redwoods, this installment takes place in Miami, Florida. Knight does a nice job of explaining why the setting shift happens, but I still missed the Pacific Northwest elements. I'm often drawn to novels that have a strong sense of place. I love when the author can bring a place alive with their words. Knight does a beautiful job of painting a picture of Miami. I've never visited this locale, but I have to admit that Knight makes me want to change that fact.

The plot of this one is action packed, but there were times when I lost momentum in my reading. Some moments dragged for me more than others. I fully admit that part of this could be a result of real life stresses interfering with my reading time. 

There were several new additions to the character line-up in Embers & Echoes. I enjoyed getting to meet new gods and goddesses from a variety of cultures. The mythology aspects are what truly make this series shine. My favorite new character was Wes, the Aztec God of Night. Wes' sense of humor is just as witty as Ash's. These two compliment each other well and their conversations kept me in stitches. Wes also has a little bit of that tall, dark, and handsome thing going on. He is endearing, strong, and fiercely loyal. I always appreciate the humor in Knight's writing - it helps to offset some of the tragic moments. The body count in this one is high - prepare yourself.

Lastly, the complicated relationship between Ash and Colt is still a dominant thread of this story. So many times in YA, a female will continue to suffer through a dysfunctional relationship or change who she is to make the guy happy, but I love that Ash is not that sort of girl. She is strong, intelligent, and has a pure heart. Once she finds out who Colt truly is and what he is capable of, she can't wait to put distance between the two. She is able to realize that this relationship is toxic and she has the strength to do what's right. I also love that Ash is constant in her personality; love is not something that can sway her from doing what is right. The entire time I was reading this one, I kept thinking of a song by The Civil War's called "The One That Got Away". I feel like this perfectly encapsulates the relationship between Ash and Colt.

All in all, this was an enjoyable read that added a lot of information and tension to the Wildefire series. I can't wait to get my pre-order of Afterglow to see how everything will end. I have enjoyed that this series doesn't sugarcoat life. Knight melds happiness with  sadness in a way that accurately mimics the ebb and flow of life. 

One Last Gripe: I was pretty shaken by some of the characters who were killed off. I won't mention who they were, but it hurts my heart.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: In addition to the historical moments, I also really enjoyed learning more about the Cloak.

First Sentence: Ashline Wilde lay battered on the side of the Pacific Coast Highway and watched her boyfriend emerge from the fiery car wreck, back from the dead.

Favorite Character: Ash

Least Favorite Character: Lily

Fan the flames: A teen goddess fires up her search for love and family in this sequel to Wildefire.

Ashline Wilde may have needed school to learn that she is actually a reincarnated goddess, but she’s ready to move beyond books. She leaves her California boarding school behind and makes for Miami, where she meets a new group of deities and desperately seeks her sister Rose, the goddess of war. But she’s also looking for love—because even though her romance with Cole had to be snuffed, Ash is a volcano goddess—and she doesn’t get burned.

This sequel to the edgy and action-packed Wildefire continues a fiery drama on an immortal scale.