If everything about you changes, what remains?
Seventeen year-old Ruby, long-pledged to the much older Stiles from the Fireseed desert cult, escapes with only a change of clothes, a pouch of Oblivion Powder and her mute little brother, Thorn. Arriving at The Greening, a boarding school for orphaned teens, she can finally stop running. Or can she? The Greening is not what it seems. Students are rampaging out of control and as she cares for the secret Fireseed crop, she experiences frightening physical changes. She’s ashamed of her attraction to burly, hard-talking Blane, the resident bodyguard, and wonders why she can’t be happy with the gentler Armonk. She’s long considered her great beauty a liability, a thing she’s misused in order to survive. And how is she to stop her dependence on Oblivion to find a real beauty within, using her talent as a maker of salves, when she has nightmares of Stiles without it?
When George Axiom, wealthy mogul of Vegas-by-the-Sea offers a huge cash prize for the winner of a student contest, Ruby is hopeful she might collect the prize to rescue her family and friends from what she now knows is a dangerous cult. But when Stiles comes to reclaim her, and Thorn sickens after creating the most astonishing contest project of all, the world Ruby knows is changed forever. This romantic fantasy set in 2099 on earth has a crafty heroine in Ruby, and a swoon-worthy cast, which will surely appeal to the YA and new adult audience.
– summary via Goodreads
A couple of months ago Catherine Stine sent me an advance reader copy of Ruby’s Fire. I’d read and reviewed her novel Fireseed One when it was published, and was looking forward to visiting the Fireseed world again. Of the two novels Ruby’s Fire is hands down my favourite. I used to believe that second books tend to be less captivating than their predecessors, but not so for Ruby’s Fire. The book took all the best elements of Fireseed One and upped the heat. More action, more romance and more everything. Although it features at least two of the main characters from Fireseed One, it’s very much the story of Ruby and therefore reads as a standalone.
Ruby as a main character is wonderfully flawed, and her character grows in leaps and bounds. The book summary perfectly describes the plot – it’s a futuristic, sci-fi, adventure, and I think it’s bursting with originality. If I were asked for criticisms I’m sure I could come up with something, but nothing that wasn’t a niggle easily overshadowed by compelling characters and vivid world building.
About Catherine Stine
Visit her at www.catherinestine.blogspot.com and at www.catherinestine.com.
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