Friday, October 8, 2010

Blog Tour! Review of BLUE FIRE by Janice Hardy

We all know about the dreaded Middle Novel Syndrome (MNS) -- it affects book two of many a trilogy, with the primary symptom being that nothing happens. Nada.

Janice Hardy's BLUE FIRE is book two in The Healing Wars trilogy, and man, this book escaped MNS with a capital E. Do yourself a favor -- don't read this book before going to sleep. I made that mistake, and I was lying awake for nearly an hour -- after all that action, I couldn't relax!

Basically, it’s nonstop awesome.

But before I continue my (spoiler-free!) review, here are the official details: 
Part fugitive, part hero, fifteen-year-old Nya is barely staying ahead of the Duke of Baseer’s trackers. Wanted for a crime she didn’t mean to commit, she risks capture to protect every Taker she can find, determined to prevent the Duke from using them in his fiendish experiments. But resolve isn’t enough to protect any of them, and Nya soon realizes that the only way to keep them all out of the Duke’s clutches is to flee Geveg. Unfortunately, the Duke’s best tracker has other ideas.

Nya finds herself trapped in the last place she ever wanted to be, forced to trust the last people she ever thought she could. More is at stake than just the people of Geveg, and the closer she gets to uncovering the Duke’s plan, the more she discovers how critical she is to his victory. To save Geveg, she just might have to save Baseer—if she doesn’t destroy it first. 
So if you didn’t read the first book, THE SHIFTER, that’s probably close to gibberish. (BTW, it’s time to read THE SHIFTER.) Anyway, you’ll still be able to understand this review. 
Let me set it up this way – pretend you’re reading a prequel to THE HUNGER GAMES (OMG Suzanne Collins write it RIGHT NOW!) and District 13 has just been blown to smithereens, and the rebellion’s pretty much done, the bad guys have won. But before there’s like decades upon decades of awful Hunger Games under an evil ruler, there’s this one girl who might be able to prevent all that, even though she doesn’t realize it. And like Katniss, she gets pulled into the middle of it all. That’s where THE SHIFTER begins, and BLUE FIRE continues her story. 
Got it? Good. 
I rarely read middle grade novels, and I generally don’t read high fantasies. But this is upper-middle-grade with very high stakes, and there are no elves to speak of. The world that Janice Hardy has created jumps off the page and envelops you.

First off, the entire trilogy’s premise is amazing – certain people can heal with a touch? Great, right? Take that wonderful-sounding idea and make it dark and twisted. Buy and sell it. Use it in a political war. Throw a fifteen-year-old girl named Nya in the middle of everything.

I love Nya for a number of reasons, but mostly because I always understand her choices. She makes tough ones, ones that cause people to die. And she gets herself into and out of dangerous situations with complete plausibility. Part courage, part luck, part skill, part stubbornness, plus a whole dose of sass.

In BLUE FIRE, Nya begins with the same simple goal that she had in THE SHIFTER – keep the people she loves safe. Unfortunately, because of her unique ability to shift pain from one person to another – an ability that’s unfolding into something a bit more – this is tougher than it sounds. The Duke of Baseer (the big bad) wants her, and he’ll do anything to get her.

Nya gets pulled deeper into political intrigue, further into the war that has ravaged her home and left her an orphan. In BLUE FIRE, she questions everything she believes, and she realizes that simply protecting her loved ones might not be enough.

BLUE FIRE is an action-packed middle novel – of course, it ends on more of a cliffhanger than THE SHIFTER, with more loose ends to tie up, but it provides an excellent bridge to book three while being a satisfying story on its own.

If you’ve read THE SHIFTER, definitely pick up BLUE FIRE, which came out this week – it’s worth it! And if you haven’t begun THE HEALING WARS yet, it’s time to start!

(And Janice, for book three, I know there’s this whole war going on and there are super-important things at stake… but more romantic Danello scenes, please! He’s so swoon-worthy!)

Janice Hardy happens to be one of the FNC’s favorite writing gurus (check out her awesome advice blog), and she wrote a new guest post for us tomorrow! And we’re also going to give away our signed ARC of BLUE FIRE!

Janice Hardy’s first FNC guest post
The Healing Wars website


  1. Fantastic review, thank you! Especially thank you for the catch-up section for newbies. Will be getting to work soon on book one!

  2. Thanks for a great review, guys! (which was a hoot to read, by the way, I love your style!)

    No fears, there is more of Danello in book three, and they do have a few moments to get cozier :)

  3. Great review. I loved The Shifter and can't wait to read Blue Fire. I follow Janice's blog and she always gives such great advice.

    I'll be at a SCBWI weekend conference tomorrow but will try to stop by for the interview and to enter the contest. I so would love to win.


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