4 out of 4 stars
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Outside the walls of The City, there's a raging pandemic. A dome protects its residents, but there are two sections. Those in the Smoke are assigned more menial tasks and have fewer privileges than those in the Flame. Once you reach the age of seventeen, you can apply for a place in the Flame by going through a series of trials called the Burning. However, fail and you'll be sent outside to the Ash.
Emery Kennish lives in the Smoke. She has a hard life, but it's all she knows. She would never risk being sent to the Ash by going through the Burning. Unfortunately, her brother, Whyle, gets sick. He needs Curosene, but it can only be found in the Flame. Will Emery be able to save her brother? What will she find out about the world she's always known in the process?
Wall of Fire by Melanie Tays is a dystopian novel along the lines of Hunger Games or Divergent. With no profanity or sexual content, the book is suitable for young adults. There is, though, a cliffhanger ending that is sure to leave you thirsting for more.
Emery tells us her story herself. While the present tense can be disconcerting for some, I enjoyed the mystery of only knowing what Emery knew. Guessing what would occur next is part of the fun of the novel.
There is a mix of characters in the novel. Some are good; some are evil. There are even those that you think are good that turn out to be bad. However, even when you find out they weren't what they seemed, you wonder if they might redeem themselves in the end. It's this constant uncertainty that makes the book realistic. In life, people are never just good or bad. There's always a duality. When authors can achieve this in their books—as Ms. Tays does here—the characters are that much more relatable and enjoyable.
My favorite aspect of the book was its fast-paced nature. The action starts almost from the first page, and there's no time to get bored. I also enjoyed exploring this new world. Though so much is different from our everyday life, there were enough similarities that I could picture what was happening.
The only downside of the book was that it was quite similar to other popular dystopian novels. The plot always appears to be centered on some virus that changes the world and a corrupt ruling power. However, isn't that the nature of this genre? It did not diminish my enjoyment of the book, and I can't fault the author for writing within such a specific genre.
Because I enjoyed the book so thoroughly, I rate Wall of Fire 4 out of 4 stars. It was exceptionally well edited; I found no error within its pages. I recommend the book to those that enjoy mostly clean dystopian books with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure. If you prefer standalone books, you might want to skip this tale.
Wall of Fire
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