Wildefire by Karsten Knight

by Karsten Knight
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
July 2011

Ashline Wilde is a goddess.

Not in that “every woman is a goddess” kind of way, but in the “no, a REAL goddess” one.

Adopted as a young child, Ash works to find her place as the only Polynesian student in her high school. Unfortunately, her wayward older sister Eve returns to wreak havoc on the fragile peace that had settled since she ran away.

When the dust settles, Ash finds herself at a private school located in California. Just as she believes she has finally found the path to a new life, strange things begin to happen. One night, after rescuing a fellow student, Ash learns her true nature and the nature of some new friends: they are all gods and goddesses.

Sadly, Ash and her friends do not have very long to understand their gifts before Eve returns to again create trouble.

In Wildefire, Karsten Knight has created a gem. With tons of stories about vampires and werewolves, Knight has chosen to take a different route in this supernatural novel. There aren’t a great many books discussing ancient deities in teenage form out there, so kudos to Knight for taking it on!

To put it simply, this book is fantastic! Knight creates a story that is engaging from start to finish, which can be hard to do in a series opener. The first book in a new series will normally devote a great deal of time to introducing characters, telling backstory, etc. While Knight does some of this, he also lets his story unfold on its own. He seemed to realize that if he’s going to create a series, then he is going to need to keep readers enraptured. We need to be wondering “What’s going to happen next?? Knight does this exquisitely.

That wondering can be a two-edged sword. A writer must both give readers enough to keep us reading but not so much that we have no reason to read anything further. Again, Knight understands and delivers on this balance.

Knight also does something that many writers of YA fiction fail to do. While the majority of his cast of characters are teenagers and that is his target audience, the novel is not completely riddled with melodramatic teen angst. He smoothly interjects the daily battles teenagers face without making it tedious for others outside that age range who might pick it up.

Other than the fact that I will have to wait until 2012 to read the next book, there is nothing about Knight’s novel I didn’t like. It was a quick read that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys supernatural fiction.

Robin Gwaro describes herself as “a woman just trying to keep it all together. Most days, I have the juggling act down! Others, I have the broom and dustpan handy to clean up the mess. My life is not always easy, it is not always neat, but it is always worth every minute!” Her personal blog is Just Wandering. Not Lost.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.