My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Actual rating: 5/5 stars
Overall Impression: 5/5
What happens when you wake up in a hospital bed after a brutal fire, only to discover that you survived because you possessed a rare power? What if that power made you a target? In Tuesday Cross’s breathtaking debut novel, Of Flesh and Fire, Nyminia finds herself asking that exact question. Running from her past, her new circumstances bring her to a life at Rowling-Burroughs University. While trying to learn about the power she possesses, Nyminia navigates her way through friendship, love, and faces dangerous challenges from unexpected foes.
Characters: Each of them possess their own secrets, inner-conflict, fears, desires/goals and are easy to empathize with.
–Nyminia: Poor Nyminia has really had a rough start in life. I won’t reveal much about her history, however, very early in the book, she discovers that she has special powers which make her a target. It is easy to empathize with her as she is our MC and her first-person perspective allows us inside her mind, hearing her frequent internal monologue. She experiences a spectrum of emotions as she discovers more and more about the mysteries surrounding her powers and the danger she frequently finds herself in.
–Marcus Saarinen: My absolute favorite vampire. I want to look that good when I’m a few thousand years old. I mean, the guy’s introduced to us as a hot librarian, what’s not to love? Marcus is an excellent example of how a partner should act within a relationship. He’s not your typical brooding, distant YA male character. He is supportive of Nyminia and protects her while giving her space to grow and make her own discoveries. I think he is an excellent role-model for younger individuals gaining perspective on what a love-relationship should be like.
–Rowan: I’ll have what she’s having. I don’t know how that girl has so much pep and energy, but I really wish I could find a decent coffee that did the same. “Ro” is Nyminia’s best pal she meets early in the story. She is a phenomenal example of a true friend, and readers will enjoy watching their bond grow. She also has a special, um, power…one involving fur and fangs. Her brothers, Cash and Kit, share a similar power and I am excited to see them again in the next book.
–Headmistress Midwood and the professors: I won’t give away too much. They are also developing well and play into the story’s dynamics and growth of Nyminia.
–Ryanna: Secondary character. Being a mermaid…you can guess why I love her so much.
“Of course, mermaids are real too. That’s so awesome.”-Nyminia, Chapter 22 OFAF
–GUYS, THERE’S DRAGONS.
All in all, I am excited to see how these characters continue to develop over book II. I think they have a great foundation. They feel “real”, which is what we all want in a fictional character, and Tuesday made me fall in love with them.
Romance: Thankfully, OFAF does not have your typical YA insta-love, but rather an interesting twist of magic from the universe called “Fate-Pairing”. The fate-paired characters are essentially strangers when they find out that they are destined to be together, which creates an interesting dynamic for two people who have just recently met. They both choose to take it slow, at their own pace, allowing intimacy set in naturally as they get to know each other throughout the story. The romance is age-appropriate for slightly younger readers as there are no explicit/sexual scenes, only innocent kissing. Just enough for some spice and intrigue, but everyone keeps their clothing on.
Readability: Well obviously I can’t put this book down because I have now read it three times. For full disclosure, I assisted with a beta-read of the first draft, and have read a physical published copy twice. Each time I read it, I can picture everything very clearly in my mind, much like a movie. This book is excellent for fans of film and those who consider themselves highly visual. Chapters are shorter and end on a cliff-hanger, which pulls you in to keep reading and continue on with the adventure.
Tuesday has a penchant for dialogue. Most chapters have excellent forward motion because of the engaging dialogue. You get swept into a conversation between characters and can actually feel a palpable tension, fear, happiness, embarrassment etc. She is truly a talented weaver of words, and I am thrilled to read the second book.
For fun, read the chapter names in the table of contents at the very beginning of the book. It reads a little bit like a poem, beginning with “My First Death” and ending with “My Final Death”.
Check out my upcoming author interview with Tuesday on 1/23/18 for more insight into her writing process and upcoming projects!
This book is highly recommended for anyone in love with YA fantasy, but especially individuals age 14-18.