TITLE: Wilde’s Fire – Darkness Falls: Book One
AUTHOR: Krystal Wade
PUBLISHER: Curiosity Quills Press
LENGTH: 396 pages
SUMMARY: Katriona Wilde has never wondered what it would feel like to have everything she’s ever known and loved ripped away, but she is about to find out.
When she inadvertently leads her sister and best friend through a portal into a world she’s dreamed of for six years, she finds herself faced with more than just the frightening creatures in front of her. Kate’s forced to accept a new truth: her entire life has been a lie, and those closest to her have betrayed her.
REVIEW: I was pleasantly surprised by this book. When I began reading, I was immediately pulled into the story and propelled by the intensity of Kate’s nightmares. I was so curious why she was having them and what they might mean. I was also surprised that Kate was 20 years old and in college with a sister who will join her shortly. I’m so used to YA books having sophomore or junior high-schoolers as the main character that it was a refreshing change. It did make some of her self-doubt a bit unbelievable; however, anyone thrown into an alien world and told of her importance to that world’s destiny might have some trouble collecting her thoughts. Wade does a good job of capturing the emotions one would have when faced with a love which you do not feel equally. There is also a realistic discussion of the guilt one would feel in having to break this news to a friend. I enjoyed the banter between sisters and was pleased that Kate’s family seemed to be such an important part of her life. So often in YA parents and siblings are marginalized to allow the main character more freedom. While sending Kate to another world was definitely a plot device to remove her parents from the action, Kate’s connection to her family seemed genuine. For that reason, I was a little disappointed with her stepfather’s fate given how close they seemed to be.
There were a few things that felt a bit out of balance to me. At the beginning of the book, there is no mention of God or faith but as the story progresses, Kate begins called on God to help her in moments of need. If Kate is truly spiritual, I would have liked to see mention of it while they were still in our world. I also would have liked to see her use that spirituality to guide her decisions as well as be a source of help in times of need. The other aspect of this that is seemingly incongruous is Kate’s calling on “God” while inhabiting this polytheistic society.The use of “God” just seems out of place given the nature of the story and setting. Another aspect of the story that also seems out of balance is Kate’s readiness to believe that this world exists and that she and Arland are destined to be together. I think Wade uses Kate’s dreams to try and give readers a way to justify Kate’s immediate acceptance of her situation but it still seemed a little too unbelievable to me. Finding that someone who had inhabited your dreams for years was actually real would be more unnerving than reassuring, in my opinion.
Overall, Wade has woven an interesting world and intriguing characters. There is plenty of action and the intimate moments are pretty spicy. The story is paced well and ends rather unexpectedly, leaving readers anxious for Book Two.