Author: Estevan Vega
Premise: Arson Gable feels like a freak. He can create fire. He never asked for it. He never wanted it. But he can't shut it off. Before now, three things were true: he both loved and despised his grandmother; his life was going nowhere; and he was alone. But when a strange girl--who feels more normal behind a mask than inside her own skin--moves in next door, Arson hopes to find something he's never had: purpose. Using what he fears most about himself, Arson must face his consuming past and confront the nightmare that is his present as he walks the fine line between boy and monster. Dark, moody, and breathtakingly relevant, Arson, the chilling chronicle of an isolated boy with unimaginable ability, is sure to ignite the hearts and minds of a new generation.
So everyone knows, I received an e-copy of this book from Partners in Crime Tours, but the opinions about to be expressed are entirely my own. With that, let’s begin. First off, the cover of this book is sweet. The mask freaked me out a bit, but after reading the book I understand its significance. The book itself was a surprise to me. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it was vastly different from what I got. At first many of the characters confused and frustrated me. I couldn’t figure out why Arson loved his grandmother so much despite the blatant abuse she piled on him, and couldn’t get over just how crazy she is, going from one emotion to another in a matter of moments. There was also this elusive event that had taken place years ago that pegged Arson as a monster in his grandmother’s eyes, an event I got progressively more and more frustrated not knowing about. The beginning took a while to get going, setting up a lot of background information on the characters and their motivations, except of course that pesky event. Arson’s ability to start fires was actually used really well, never becoming overused or all-encompassing. It’s a very dark novel, showcasing human suffering in many different ways, from the pain of being a teenager who is very different from the norm, to living in a loveless marriage, to death. There were moments I had to take a break from reading due to the heaviness of the material, yet it was executed well. The characters were fairly well-developed, and their interactions, though frustrating at times, were realistic. The writing style felt a little juvenile at times, but it was outweighed by the insanity of the twists. My roommates kept asking me what was happening in my book, as I would often laugh or yell aloud while reading. I thought I had the ending pegged at least three times before the end, just to be dead wrong. My biggest frustration with the book was the end. I was so upset when I read the ending, as I felt it was more than unfinished. It wasn’t until I realized there is a sequel that my rage abated. The love story is adorable, and the next book is sure to make it even more interesting. But so far, all I can find on the new book is the cover, located here: http://agoodaddiction.blogspot.com/2011/07/cover-reveal-ashes-by-estevan-vega.html
But I will definitely be grabbing the sequel to this atypical novel.