Friday, December 02, 2011

Review: Arson by Estevan Vega

Estevan Vega
Released May 4th, 2010
by Tate Publishing

Goodreads / Purchase
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.
*A copy was provided by Estevan Vega for review purposes*

A gentle start is not what you should expect when going into this book. You get thrown into the midst of Arson's complicated and unorthodox life blind as a bat. Consequently, it takes a bit to get situated in the story. But once you do, it becomes quite the intriguing tale.

Arson, who lives with his senile grandmother, is just trying to live his life. When he becomes acquainted with his new neighbour, a strange girl who wears a creepy mask at all times, his life becomes even more complicated. Oh and by the way, he can create fire with his mind… I found the concept really fascinating. I was a bit disappointed that we didn't get a lot of insight into Arson's ability, however. I would have loved to see more of what he can do, or why. I'm not disheartened though, there are some events that transpire at the end that lets us know further details are forthcoming. This installment focuses more on establishing Arson's relationship with his neighbour, Emery. This relationship - though peculiar - is realistic and entertaining. I consider Emery as much a main character as Arson. And a very interesting one at that! Emery has been hiding behind her mask for years. This isn't a pretty masquerade ball mask either, think Micheal Myers! *shutters* I was incredibly intrigued by Emery. She has a fun, snarky personality and a mysterious past that I couldn't help but want to know everything about. What also surprised me in this book was how we got to see Aimee's perspective - Emery's mother. That's right! An adult's perspective, and one with marital issues to boot! The older YA and adult crowd are likely to welcome this unique angle as much as I did.

While I really enjoyed getting to know Arson and Emery, I was a bit annoyed with the secondary characters. Mandy, the stereotypical it-girl who has this perplexing crush on Arson was a bit hard to swallow. I couldn't picture this happening at all which may be due to getting no real understanding of her intentions. I was also a bit confused by Arson's grandmother. I wasn't sure if she had abilities, like Arson, that made her psychotic or if she was just senile. I think some backstory would have made a world of a difference to really bring this book from good to great.

Like most cliffhanger endings, this one was exciting and left me wanting more. If my assumptions are correct, book 2 - Ashes - is going to be more focused on the paranormal aspect of the story and give us a little of what is missing in Arson. I'm happy that I already have it ready to go as I look forward to getting some answers!

3 Hot Espressos