Author: Estevan Vega
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Pages: Ebook; 350
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Violence, Mild language
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who appreciate darker themes, and a lovable underdog protagonist.
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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.
The highest compliment I can give Arson is that it is unlike anything I've read so far this year. That's a huge deal. I'm not even sure how to classify this book to be completely honest. It's not entirely paranormal, although there are elements. It's a little bit thriller, mixed in with a little bit contemporary. In all honesty, Arson is it's own beast, and I loved it for that.
Arson Gable is one unique young man. He was born in fire, and out of that came the ability to create fire as well. However as cool as that might sound, it's really not. Arson has no way to control his ability and it causes him all sorts of troubles. Added on top of this is the fact that his only family is his grandmother, who may or may not still be living in reality. Arson has to navigate the road to manhood alone, and it almost breaks him multiple times. With so many facets visible to the reader, Arson Gable is a deeply wounded and flawed boy. His personality literally thrums off the page. If you can fall in love with him, you'll be completely immersed in his struggle.
To be sincere though, I almost didn't make it far enough into the book to really understand Arson because the beginning of the book is a little odd. Not bad, just kind of broken and a little slow. Once I read through the whole book I completely understood where Vega was coming from. Being in Arson's head doesn't always make sense at first. It isn't until the pieces of the puzzle start to fall into place that you completely understand where this boy really came from. In fact, when Emery came into the picture is really when I was most invested. I won't spoil, but she is the perfect companion for Arson. The two of the compliment one another beautifully, even as they confusedly stumble down a road that seems to end only in darkness.
It was the ending of the book that really threw me off, but intrigued me at the same time. Honestly, by the time I devoured the last half of Arson, I was more than ready to see where this duo went next. The beginning may have started out slow, but the middle and end of the book well make up for it, as do Vega's stunning characters. I give this one a solid four stars and you should know I'm already halfway into Ashes, the second book in the series. To be honest, this won't be a book for everyone, but if you're ready to step into the darkness and discover something unique, you'll be happy to meet Arson Gable.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.