Official Review: The Fire He Started by Sarah Connor

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kandscreeley
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Official Review: The Fire He Started by Sarah Connor

Post by kandscreeley » 22 Feb 2019, 10:29

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Fire He Started" by Sarah Connor.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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The Fire He Started by Sarah Connor is classified as a young adult novel. However, there's no way I can, in good conscience, recommend this to any teenager. The themes are too heavy, and the book is too dark.

Terra is a high school student who seems to have everything. A loving family. Great friends. Good grades. A cute, jock boyfriend. It isn't long into their relationship, though, before she starts seeing a different side of him; he's controlling and has quite the temper. She's determined to get away from him. He's determined that if he can't have her, no one can. He ruins everything. Until she meets three gentlemen that could change everything. But, who are they really? What secrets are they hiding? Is she really safe this time?

The book entices you from the beginning. It draws you into its web, entangling you with its mystery. The focus is on the characters, and you want to know why they are the way they are. I love a book that gets me involved from the beginning. Sadly, it wasn't long before I wanted to quit the novel altogether. One reason (among many) was the graphic descriptions of violence that were enough to make my stomach churn.

This is, also, the gloomiest, most depressing book I've read in quite a while. There are no lighter moments to break up the heaviness of the themes. These are themes such as controlling relationships, sexual abuse, and murder. So many bad things happen to Terra that you wonder how the story could ever be true. I'm not doubting that it can happen, but there is no moral to the story. There aren't any redeeming qualities. It's nothing I want to read about in its current form, and I can only see it bringing more sadness and turmoil to an age group that already has too much to deal with.

Furthermore, the plot is oversimplified, as Terra spends almost the whole of the novel avoiding her ex-boyfriend. While there are a few suggestions of more action, nothing is explicit, at least in this first novel. Even being in the young adult genre, I feel there should have been more varied conflict, which would have moved the story along at a faster pace. As it is, I didn't feel we would ever break out of the cycle of Erick finding Terra only for her to flee again.

What's more, this book ends in a cliffhanger. All the answers you are seeking are left unanswered. There is some foreshadowing, but it isn't enough to piece together the mysteries. I, for one, am not going to stick around for the second book to find out what they are, either.

Lastly, the book needs another round of editing. Apostrophes are often used where they are not needed, but they aren't used where they are needed. Words are either missing or added where they don't need to be. Verbs are often not in agreement with the subject. The errors occur throughout the novel and are often distracting.

This book is extremely difficult to rate. The writing style itself isn't bad; the errors are easily fixable with a good proofreader, but it doesn't deserve a perfect rating, either. In addition, the plot is too simplistic. The despair in the novel is overwhelming as well. For these reasons, I rate The Fire He Started 2 out of 4 stars. As I stated before, I do not recommend this for its intended audience. However, I could see this being enjoyed by adults that enjoy more of a sadistic horror story. Though the plot is dissimilar, it reminds me of the Saw movie franchise. At any rate, be forewarned; this is not a story for the faint of heart.

******
The Fire He Started
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Post by Emy Katherine » 28 Feb 2019, 19:33

A young adult mystery about Terra, a high school student, who is determined to get away from his violent ex-boyfriend. I love mystery books, but I don't think this one is for me. Based on your review, it sounds too intense for me. Furthemore, I am not a huge fan of cliffhangers, and I don't like that there are many unanswered questions. Thank you for the detailed review! :tiphat:

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Post by inaramid » 28 Feb 2019, 20:54

Oh my. Why is "sadistic horror" even a thing? <shiver>

It sounds like the book should have come with several trigger warnings. I liked the book cover though. It's unfortunate that the book itself did not really amount to much. Thanks for this review!

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 28 Feb 2019, 21:00

Although I don't like graphic violence, I can appreciate dark themes if they fit well into the context of a story. If there's no redemption or moral, though, it all becomes gratuitous, which is what seems to have happened here. Thanks for an interesting review!

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Post by Morgan Jones » 01 Mar 2019, 03:52

Wow, hardly can imagine how one could enjoy such a story, especially because even after all this misery most of the questions remain unanswered. I like reading horror stories from time to time, I enjoy the thrill if I'm getting something out of it by the end of the book. This story doesn't have that, so I'll have to pass. Thank you for sharing your opinion with us.
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Post by Cecilia_L » 01 Mar 2019, 08:33

While I can appreciate the occasional dark theme, graphic violence is a turn-off. I agree that this isn't a good fit for the recommended audience. Thanks for the honest review.

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Post by kandscreeley » 01 Mar 2019, 08:35

Emy Katherine wrote:
28 Feb 2019, 19:33
A young adult mystery about Terra, a high school student, who is determined to get away from his violent ex-boyfriend. I love mystery books, but I don't think this one is for me. Based on your review, it sounds too intense for me. Furthemore, I am not a huge fan of cliffhangers, and I don't like that there are many unanswered questions. Thank you for the detailed review! :tiphat:
I understand this one not being for you. It's very intense for sure. Thanks for commenting.
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Post by kandscreeley » 01 Mar 2019, 08:37

inaramid wrote:
28 Feb 2019, 20:54
Oh my. Why is "sadistic horror" even a thing? <shiver>

It sounds like the book should have come with several trigger warnings. I liked the book cover though. It's unfortunate that the book itself did not really amount to much. Thanks for this review!
It definitely needed trigger warnings. If you've been in any kind of abusive relationship, this won't be the one for you. Thanks.
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Post by kandscreeley » 01 Mar 2019, 08:39

ButterscotchCherrie wrote:
28 Feb 2019, 21:00
Although I don't like graphic violence, I can appreciate dark themes if they fit well into the context of a story. If there's no redemption or moral, though, it all becomes gratuitous, which is what seems to have happened here. Thanks for an interesting review!
I don't necessarily mind dark themes, either. But, it was overwhelming. Perhaps in the second book there will be some redemption or moral? I just am not sure anyone is going to stick around for it; at least I won't.
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Post by kandscreeley » 01 Mar 2019, 08:40

Morgan Jones wrote:
01 Mar 2019, 03:52
Wow, hardly can imagine how one could enjoy such a story, especially because even after all this misery most of the questions remain unanswered. I like reading horror stories from time to time, I enjoy the thrill if I'm getting something out of it by the end of the book. This story doesn't have that, so I'll have to pass. Thank you for sharing your opinion with us.
No... There's nothing at the end that makes it worth it. Maybe the second book will have some sort of redemption, but I just can't see myself reading it. Thanks.
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Post by kandscreeley » 01 Mar 2019, 08:41

Cecilia_L wrote:
01 Mar 2019, 08:33
While I can appreciate the occasional dark theme, graphic violence is a turn-off. I agree that this isn't a good fit for the recommended audience. Thanks for the honest review.
I don't have children. If I did, I wouldn't want them reading it, for sure! Thanks for commenting.
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Post by Bellotola » 01 Mar 2019, 16:53

I really appreciate the book as reviewed, the theme is cool,the dark cover is fantastic but not a fan of violence in any form.

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Post by Mbrooks2518 » 04 Mar 2019, 02:26

Depressing, full of despair without any lighter moments, reminded you of Saw...I'm out!
Thank you for the thorough review!

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Post by kandscreeley » 04 Mar 2019, 09:00

Mbrooks2518 wrote:
04 Mar 2019, 02:26
Depressing, full of despair without any lighter moments, reminded you of Saw...I'm out!
Thank you for the thorough review!
I think it's possible that the second one will be better, but I still can't quite imagine reading it. Thanks for your comment.
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Post by danielleamy » 04 Mar 2019, 19:20

I was initially drawn to this book from the title and cover. However, after reading your review I am grateful I didn't read it! Being compared to Saw was enough to put me off completely :? Thanks for the review!

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