Format: E-Galley, 424 pages
Release Date: September 3, 2015
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
French teen Sacha Winters can't die. He can throw himself off a roof, be stabbed, even shot, and he will always survive. Until the day when history and ancient enmities dictate that he must die. Worse still, his death will trigger something awful. Something deadly. And that day is closing in.
Taylor Montclair is a normal English girl, hanging out with her friends and studying for exams, until she starts shorting out the lights with her brain. She’s also the only person on earth who can save Sacha.
There’s only one problem: the two of them have never met. They live hundreds of miles apart and powerful forces will stop at nothing to keep them apart.
They have eight weeks to find each other.
Will they survive long enough to save the world?
The Secret Fire is the first installment in The Alchemist Chronicles
by author C.J. Daugherty. Daugherty recently wrapped up her Night School series with Endgame, and now enters a whole new world. A world where thanks to a curse, French teenager Sacha Winters can't die. He can throw himself off a roof, be stabbed, even shot, and he will survive. That is until he reaches his Eighteenth birthday.
Sacha has pretty much walked away from school, his friends, and life. He's turned instead to doing dangerous stunts, and tempting criminals with his escapes. His mother knows about the prophecy, but tries hard not to think, or worry about it since she lost her husband to it. His Aunt knows about the curse, but she can only help so much. Sacha knows that with his death, not only will the curse end, but something horrible will be triggered.
Daugherty actually has two main characters, and alternates narratives between the two. The second and probably most important character in the story is Taylor Montclair from England. She has a goal of getting into Oxford where her Grandfather teaches. She's got a full plate which includes stellar grades, and tutoring opportunities that come her way. One of those tutoring opportunities leads her to Sacha Winters. A boy who is supposed to be taught English, but speaks the language fluently.
While Sacha is searching for answers to his own mortality, Taylor is suddenly having massive headaches, being following by creatures called Bringers, and apparently has some abilities that can't be explained. Taylor is nothing like Sacha. She is perhaps a bit too perfect at time but grows on you once she learns about how powerful she really is. But, the question still remains as to why she was "forced" into tutoring Sacha by her French teacher? Why did her own grandfather wait so long to explain to her about why she has the powers she has, and why when she connects with Sacha, they are a force to be reckoned with?
One of my favorite secondary characters is Louisa. She is a spark plug, and is an assistant to Taylor's Grandfather. She starts Taylor's training into her abilities, and becomes an important ally for Taylor entrance into the Alchemist world. Funny how Daugherty once again offers a school as a backdrop. This doesn't come into play until much later in the book, but apparently readers will once again find themselves in a school environment where the students face evil like they've never seen before.
Overall: There is action, but it takes awhile to get going. The creepy factor is definitely in play. The Bringers are nearly indestructible until they meet Taylor. There is apparently another powerful villain which Daugherty hasn't introduced yet. I dare say I kept thinking about the villain from her Night School series when the hints came in to who this person could be. I would say that the romance is meek in comparison to the Night School series. Then again, these two teenagers are thrown together in order to save the world and romance isn't high on their to do list.
**I received this book for free from (Publisher) via (NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**