Fire Lines by Cara Thurlbourn
Series: Fire Lines #1
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy
Length: 298 pages
Published on 26th September 2017 by Bewick Press
Cara Thurlbourn: Website | Twitter | Goodreads
eARC recieved from the author via Fay Rogers
When your blood line awakens, how do you choose between family and freedom?
Émi’s father used to weave beautiful tales of life beyond the wall, but she never knew if they were true. Now, her father is gone and Émi has been banished to the Red Quarter, where she toils to support herself and her mother – obeying the rules, hiding secrets and suffering the cruelties of the council’s ruthless Cadets.
But when Émi turns seventeen, sparks fly – literally. Her blood line surges into life and she realises she has a talent for magick… a talent that could get her killed.
Émi makes her escape, beyond the wall and away from everything she’s ever known. In a world of watchers, elephant riders and sorcery, she must discover the truth about who she really is. But can the new Émi live up to her destiny?
This also caught my eye at YALC as they were handing out samplers of it.
(I passed on my 2 copies – oops, look by Sunday you forget what you’ve picked up already – to friends so I’m hoping they love it too)
Fire Lines sets the scene instantly that Nhatu, the city Emi lives in, has banned magic as a way to protect them due to the previous destruction of the outside world.
But Nhatu is struggling itself with a clear imbalance between classes and poverty being on the rise. Emi’s life is not an easy one but its about to become harder and it is clear to herself that she holds some kind of magical power though she is unsure why.
Its also clear that even before she began showing signs of magic she disagreed with the teachings of her city due to her father being a great influence on her before his disappearance.
The first scene that made me realise I was going to devour this book happens really on which set the pace for the rest of the book too.
Emi’s plan to keep her newly found magic hidden for her mother, and her owns, safety soon falls apart as she steps up to put a halt to a public humiliation of her neighbour. She can’t stand the injustice that is taking place and burns the soldiers face with her hands.
This is what propels the plot forward. We don’t have to sit around waiting and reading about planning and hiding. We’re acting, and we’re acting fast.
Emi’s world falls apart.
She has magic. The world outside of Nhatu still exists. She is born from a fire stone. Magical creatures still exist too.
From the point Emi climbs over the walls of Nhatu and escapes into the vast world she thought was destroyed, with her childhood friend Tsam, the pacing of the book is fast which suited me great because I couldn’t put it down and was getting through a chapter per bus ride too/from work.
I loved the other characters we’re introduced too. Each of them are really interesting. As the main characters are from 3 different cities its awesome to learn about their cultural differences and livelihoods as Emi does.
Seeing the true outside world from her point of view was really helpful because it meant we, the audience, gained knowledge of this world in a very natural way. it wasn’t forced.
I think I have two tiny complaints about the book.
1. I felt some parts of the story were predictable. On the other hand you can also say that it was good writing/foreshadowing that I had an inclining some of the events that happened would do. There was a big reveal towards the end that really surprised and hurt me though.
2. Love Triangle Trope. It wasnt a major fully fleshed out one but there were little hints that this could’ve been something that happened. Emi was worried about interacting with one male because she didn’t want another to get jealous. Honestly I just kind of wished these parts didn’t happen, even if they weren’t major, because there is a time and place y’know? There was so much more going on it wasn’t needed.
Without giving too much away I’ll touch on other elements I liked:
– We see the background of the villain which indicates they weren’t always this way, they developed and grew due to his desire to be a watcher
– Elephants as companions! So adorable.
– A character is abused, drugged, and controlled but they’re not demonised for their actions. Redemption, growth, and a possible future seems likely for this character in the future books.
– A strong female warrior considered an equal to her male watchers.
I actually wrote out a full review and deleted it because I gave away so much that happened, so hopefully this is more spoiler free and restrained ha.
Yup. I really enjoyed this. I hope my friends are enjoying their samplers and I look forward to reading more by Cara! Super thankful for this opportunity.
Cara has a degree in English from the University of Nottingham and an MA in Publishing from Oxford Brookes University.
She lives in a tiny village in Suffolk and has worked in academic and educational publishing for nearly ten years. Cara blogs about her author journey and in November 2016 she crowdfunded her first children’s book. 10% of its profits are donated to animal rehoming charities.
Cara plans to write at least two more books in the Fire Lines series, as well as a young adult mystery series, and has lots more children’s stories waiting in the wings.
You can sign up for Cara’s newsletter, for giveaways, updates and latest releases, here: http://www.firelines.co.uk
Don’t forget you can stop by the rest of the tour