Author: Catherine Stine
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Seventeen year-old Ruby, long-pledged to the much older Stiles from the Fireseed desert cult, escapes with only a change of clothes, a pouch of Oblivion Powder and her mute little brother, Thorn. Arriving at The Greening, a boarding school for orphaned teens, she can finally stop running. Or can she? The Greening is not what it seems. Students are rampaging out of control and as she cares for the secret Fireseed crop, she experiences frightening physical changes. She’s ashamed of her attraction to burly, hard-talking Blane, the resident bodyguard, and wonders why she can’t be happy with the gentler Armonk. She’s long considered her great beauty a liability, a thing she’s misused in order to survive. And how is she to stop her dependence on Oblivion to find a real beauty within, using her talent as a maker of salves, when she has nightmares of Stiles without it?
When George Axiom, wealthy mogul of Vegas-by-the-Sea offers a huge cash prize for the winner of a student contest, Ruby is hopeful she might collect the prize to rescue her family and friends from what she now knows is a dangerous cult. But when Stiles comes to reclaim her, and Thorn sickens after creating the most astonishing contest project of all, the world Ruby knows is changed forever. This romantic fantasy set in 2099 on earth has a crafty heroine in Ruby, and a swoonworthy cast, which will surely appeal to the YA and new adult audience.
Ruby lives in a cult with her brother and her mother. She has been pledged to a creepy old dude, and on the night of her..."pledging" decides to run away with her brother, Thorn. They stumble upon a school, The Greening, and a secret crop of Fireseed, and realize that everything they've been taught is wrong.
I think the aspect of the cult was a nice addition to the story. It was interesting to see the things Ruby was taught contrast with reality. It made for an interesting premise as she had to relearn a lot of things, but also because it meant she here and Thorn were the only ones who believed in the power of Fireseed. Coming from a place that worships Fireseed as a god, and then going to a place that tells you it's just a plant must have been tough, but they never gave up on it (and it paid off in the end).
Ruby and Thorn are not having a great time at the school either. The other kids, except for Armonk, resent them. They try to ruin their lives. The only thing Ruby has really known is how to use her beauty to get away with things, but she can't really do that here. In fact, doing so would only make them dislike her more. Not to mention, being hooked on Oblivion powder doesn't help matters. But slowly, Ruby realizes how to use her real talents of mixing potions and how that can help her. Until...Ruby and Thorn start mutating.
Then, this dude comes by. George Axiom is his name. And he has a contest for the kids. The kids are to create something from the Fireseed plant, and the top three will go on to the competition in Vegas-by-the-sea. While preparing for this competition, Ruby and Thorn realize that the Fireseed is so much more than the other's think, and that Thorn, although he may not speak, is not stupid at all. In fact, he may be smarter than the rest. With the help of someone thought to be long gone, Ruby and Thorn (and sometimes Armonk) start realizing the true potential of the Fireseed plant, as well as what is happening with Ruby and Thorn.
But their discoveries don't go over well with some of the judges, and in Vegas, they realize that some of the judges have their own agendas. With the help of Blane, who Ruby has fallen in love and has turned out to be not that bad after all, and some of the other students, they set to uncovering the truth. But they won't like what they uncover. Someone in their own school has betrayed them, and something terrible has happened to the one who helped them.
Not going to lie, I was more of an Armonk fan than a Blane fan. What can I say? Although, I didn't feel that Blane and Ruby's relationship progressed too quickly or too unrealistically, which is something I hate. Nor did the romance take away from the main plot of the book.
This book did capture my attention throughout, as I couldn't wait to figure out what happened, who was behind everything, etc. The plot twist, while not unpredictable, was very well executed. The story was very well written, and the characterization was very well-done as well. (Thorn was my favorite though, you can't help but love the little guy :P).
I think setting this still in America, albeit way in the future and after a lot of it has changed, lent itself to the story as well. The world-building of this novel was probably the best part, as it was very thought-out. It was explained very well without being so over-detailed that it took away from the plot.
All-in-all, this was a good book that I would definitely recommend to futuristic thiriller/SciFi lovers. Even those who may not particularly love those genres, like me, would like this book too, so I would encourage you to give it a try.
*Although this is technically a "Fireseed Novel", it can be read on its own without reading Fireseed One, the first Fireseed novel. Nothing is taken away from this novel if you choose to read it by itself, or first.*
I received an ebook copy from the author in exchange for my honest review.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway
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So the lovely Catherine Stine has been kind enough to provide us with a giveaway!
There will be two prizes:
- US prize: a signed paperback of Ruby's Fire
- INT prize: an ebook copy of Ruby's Fire
This giveaway will go on for two weeks, until Oct. 29. And like always, there are a few rules:
- Must be 18 years or older, or have parents's permision
- All entries will be verified. Any falsified entry will disqualify ALL entries for that participant.
- Winners will be notified by email. Winners will then have 48 hours to respond. Please check your SPAM folder!
- I am not responsible for lost packages.