by Daisy Whitney
Age Range: 12 - 17 years
Grade Level: 7 and up
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (October 14, 2014)
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Aria is an elemental artist—she creates fire from her hands. But her power is not natural. She steals it from lightning. It’s dangerous and illegal in her world. When she’s recruited to perform, she seizes the chance to get away from her family. But her power is fading too fast to keep stealing from the sky. She has no choice but to turn to a Granter—a modern day genie. She gets one wish at an extremely high price. Aria’s willing to take a chance, but then she falls in love with the Granter . . . and he wants his freedom. Aria must decide what she’s willing to bargain and how much her own heart, body, and soul are worth.The Fire Artist is quite the weird book; I wouldn’t say it all good or all bad, it’s just really weird. In this world, there are elemental artists who create beautiful displays and our main character, Aria, is one of them…. Kind of. You see, elements start to show around the age of thirteen but Aria was a late bloomer and she ended up stealing her fire from the skies (more on why in the next paragraph). Naturally, it’s killing her because that is what happens when your best friend (Elise, an air user) has to strike you in the heart with lightening. It’s an intriguing world that they live in.
In a world where the sport of elemental powers is the most popular form of entertainment, readers will be swept away by a romance with stakes higher than life and death.
The reason that Aria steals fire is because her father, a royal douchebag, took a match to her hands for years trying to coax the fire out of her. He promised her that fire doesn’t hurt fire users but that wasn’t true; her hands are scarred from years of torment and it’s really heartbreaking. Her older brother was sent to jail for setting cars on fire which meant that her father put all of his desperation onto Aria. It’s such a recognizable scenario, a parent who lost their dream forces their child into a life that they don’t want and it is just terribly sad. Aria was scared of her father but she tried to be strong because her mother was ill and she wanted to protect her younger sister from his evils. She was a really brave character and I appreciated that fact about her. Her scars run much deeper than her hands and the book talks about that a lot which was hard to read. Aria frequently referenced her trauma and since the author wrote about her abusive father, I was appreciative that she also mentioned her trauma that followed her around.
Aria has taken on so much responsibility to take care of her entire family and all of her actions are taken from that initial foundation that we were given. A series of events occur and she feels like in order to protect her family, she must find a granter (a genie) and ask for the natural gift of fire. Now here is where the real story begins; she meets a granter named Taj and they start to fall for each other. This book honestly isn’t even about her powers; it’s more about the granters. I read this more like Just One Wish than anything else. Things happen and craziest occurs with all of that but spoilers…
It was interesting at times but not entirely great as a whole. I felt like this novel was 40% abusive father, 40% genie love/drama, and only 20% fire artist which is odd considering the title…. If you really like genies, I think that this could be the book for you.