REVIEW: Fire with Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian


fire-with-fire-9781442440791_hrAUTHOR:
 Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

PUBLISHER: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers

DATE PUBLISHED: August 13, 2013

RATING: 3.5 out of 5

SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads): Lillia, Kat, and Mary had the perfect plan. Work together in secret to take down the people who wronged them. But things didn’t exactly go the way they’d hoped at the Homecoming Dance.

Not even close.

For now, it looks like they got away with it. All they have to do is move on and pick up the pieces, forget there ever was a pact. But it’s not easy, not when Reeve is still a total jerk and Rennie’s meaner than she ever was before.

And then there’s sweet little Mary…she knows there’s something seriously wrong with her. If she can’t control her anger, she’s sure that someone will get hurt even worse than Reeve was. Mary understands now that it’s not just that Reeve bullied her—it’s that he made her love him.

Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, burn for a burn. A broken heart for a broken heart. The girls are up to the task. They’ll make Reeve fall in love with Lillia and then they will crush him. It’s the only way he’ll learn.

It seems once a fire is lit, the only thing you can do is let it burn…

 

I “trashed” a bit on my review on the first installment of this trilogy, Burn for Burn, but this time, I’m going completely in contrast. This book, Fire with Fire. This 500 plus-paged book just took my breath to another universe! That level. I was in a state of euphoria after.

giphy

(and when I say WAS, I meant like a month ago and that this review is looooong overdue)

 


 

Writing Style

Again, I’m smitten by Jenny Han and Vivian Siobhan’s flair in writing. I exhausted all of its content in just a few sitting which rarely (more like never) happen to this overly-intimidated-to-more-than-2-inch-thick-book bookworm. Well it has huge spacing though which, when compressed, would more likely only comprise approximately 400.

I have never doubted Jenny Han’s writing aptitude being dutiful fan of all her novels but since this is a collaboration with another author, it’s likely a difference would come in the surface. To my surprise though, there barely was or none at all. The writing was sleek and fluid and easy to get into as typical.

Plot

The story picked up shortly ahead where it left off at Burn for Burn. If you’ve read it a long while later from it’s predecessor, there’s no need for a refresher as there’s several retrospective details therein to help the reader follow.

The plot is practically culpable to my uncharitable 3.5 rating but to clarify, this is a good score on my scale though on a borderline. I intentionally rated it on the lower limit because when I thought about it through and through, this was already a very very familiar territory, a cliche. Fire with Fire’s plot is paralleled to many other stories that are so hackneyed you already know the ending long before you even begin reading. The protagonists schemed against a guy by making him fall in love so hard and dropping him like a hot potato while he was still over the moon. While most elements supporting the plot were original, there should be considerations about how practically archaic this type of scenario is since John Tucker earned a spot in the box office.

However, the plot twist was the saving grace. While I had a hitch this story is headed to this, it was more than what I expected. The ending just pushed me off a cliff. I needed the third book right away and I meant that in the most serious tone since it’s a matter of life and death on hand here.

Characters

The good about this story is the dynamic character development. As this is told in three perspectives, each were given their own spotlight. Unlike its predecessor, the protagonists and supporting actors were given enough limelight to carry out their role and contribute to the development of the plot.

  1. Lilia – Still was Princess Lilia but more bold in terms of living outside Rennie’s shadow
  2. Kat – Still rocked her badass front but showcased more of how an awesomesauce  friend she was
  3. Mary – Finally crept out of her shell! You’re one book too late, girl!
  4. Rennie – “Desperate times call for desperate measures so hey let’s be friends again, Kat!”
  5. Reeve – He proved to be capable of leaving Douchebagville
  6. Alex – I’d take this underdog home, if you please.

Theme

Pretty much like the first installment, Fire with Fire’s central theme is retribution. This time, the girls are conniving against one person, Reeve, and if you’re in the shoes of the victim i.e. Mary, exacting revenge is the only way to make peace. It’s ridiculous when you think about how twisted these adolescent minds are but it’s not far from possibility. Certainly way more realistic than their tactics in Burn for Burn.

But between the process, the bait i.e. Lilia fell on her own snare and got enraptured in love with the target. This is not a boring case of insta-love, thank heavens! This then transports us to another theme about shattered friendships and betrayal. One thing led to another until a web of convoluted events is produced. Since we’re talking about juveniles here, the bickering scenes were sufficiently immature. Credits are due to the authors.

Before I close this discussion on themes, allow me to highlight one that resurfaced every now and then on this book. Social stratification is very conspicuous here. The line between the rich and the poor are drawn very clearly and while this took place on a very modern age, we saw how money still became a matter to consider. Well, let’s face it. It still is and it’s fine to be jealous once in a while as long as it doesn’t become a religion.


That’s a wrap but let me leave a noteworthy quote from the book:

“If you’re super tall, don’t be a dick and stand in front of a short person.”

Please hear out my sentiment.

Thank you for reading!

Best,

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8 comments

  1. This book sounds really interesting! It also reminds me a bit of Pretty Little Liars–kind of mysterious, kind of morally ambiguous, haha. I haven’t read any of the books in the series yet but I did enjoy Jenny Han’s other writing, so I might check this out. Great review 🙂

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