WE ARE THE FIRE Book Review by Jessica Olson

We Are the Fire

By Sam Taylor

In the cold, treacherous land of Vesimaa, children are stolen from their families by a cruel emperor, forced to undergo a horrific transformative procedure, and serve in the army as magical fire-wielding soldiers. Pran and Oksana―both taken from their homeland at a young age―only have each other to hold onto in this heartless place.

Pran dreams of one day rebelling against their oppressors and destroying the empire; Oksana only dreams of returning home and creating a peaceful life for them both.

When they discover the emperor has a new, more terrible mission than ever for their kind, Pran and Oksana vow to escape his tyranny once and for all. But their methods and ideals differ drastically, driving a wedge between them. Worse still, they both soon find that the only way to defeat the monsters that subjugated them may be to become monsters themselves.

Sam Taylor grew up in Arizona’s desert and now lives among Connecticut’s trees. When not writing, Sam is busy being mom to the world’s cutest boys, whirling through dance workouts, and baking too many cakes. She does not possess fire magic, but does have one fire-colored cat. WE ARE THE FIRE is her debut novel.

Website: www.samtaylorwrites.com

Twitter: @jsamtaylor

Instagram: @jsamtaylorauthor

Jessica's Review

Perfect for fans of the Ember in the Ashes series, We Are the Fire by Sam Taylor is an explosive, fiery debut sure to keep teens reading well into the night! It’s the story of a pair of Tuliikobrets—teens turned fire monsters by the dangerous alchemical experimentation of a controlling government set on creating child super soldiers. Pran and Oksana are all each other has in their camp of fire-wielding soldiers, and they cling to hope of a future someday together.

As the story progresses, their love and loyalty is put to the ultimate test as they fight for freedom but disagree on the methods required to do so. This book is fast-paced and action-packed, but it also features deeply sympathetic teen characters that are highly relatable. Dark, gritty, and emotional, We Are the Fire is the ideal read for audiences who are craving something fresh in YA fantasy. It was fun to read a story that began with its main characters already in a strong and stable romantic relationship. Additionally, it features some very well-done chronic pain rep, as Pran’s alchemical transformation resulted in intense chronic injury in his leg that plays a very important role not only in his character arc and growth, but also Oksana’s as she struggles to help him in any way she can.

It is ultimately a story that will show teens that it’s possible to find hope even in very difficult, dark times, and that that hope will come from those we care for and lean on. It illustrates in a very poignant, emotional way just how vital friendship and love is, and that we all must cling to those things even when the future looks bleak.

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Jessica S. Olson lives in Texas, where she spends her time singing praises to the inventor of the air conditioner. When she's not hiding from the heat, she's corralling her three children, dreaming up stories about kissing, murder, and magic, and eating peanut butter straight from the jar. Website: www.jessicaolson.com Twitter: @JessicaOlson123 Instagram: @jessicaolson123