Author: Rebecca Thington
Store: Amazon (free)
Joclyn Despain has been marred by a brand on her skin. She doesn’t know why the mark appeared on her neck, but she doesn’t want anyone to see it, including her best friend Ryland, who knows everything else about her. The scar is the reason she hides herself behind baggy clothes, and won’t let the idea of kissing Ryland enter her mind, no matter how much she wants to.
The scar is the reason she is being hunted.
If only she knew that she was.
If only she had known that the cursed stone her estranged father sent for her 16th birthday would trigger a change in her. Now, she is being stalked by a tall blonde man, and is miraculously throwing her high school bully ten feet in the air.
Joclyn attempts to find some answers and the courage to follow her heart. When Ryland finds her scar; only he knows what it means, and who will kill her because of it.
You can “but” the book here: Amazon (it’s FREE-Kindle format)
Since this is YA, and the main character is a teenager, I did not except her to be a strong warrior right from the beginning. It is one thing when a character trained since childhood to become a fighter, and is another thing entirely when she’s portrayed to be just a normal, 16-year old. I am always trying to keep in mind the context.
In the beginning of the novel, Joclyn is a pretty normal girl; she has insecurities, and low self-esteem. She might have a reason, though. When she was little, something happened. One moment she was playing, and the next she ends up in a coma for months. As a result, she is left with a mark, or scar, on her neck. Her father leaves her and her mum, and he never returns. Joclyn always blamed herself, and her mark, for her father’s actions. Growing up, she always covers her mark on her neck: with hair, scarfs, band-aids, hoodies etc. As a result, her classmates think she’s weird, and she does not make any friends, except one: Ryland. They met when her mother started working for Ryland’s dad as a cook, and they’ve been friends ever since (for almost a decade). Joclyn starts to have some romantic feeling for Ryland; it is pretty common for best friends to develop romantic feelings as well (or at least one of them). She is afraid to tell him her feelings, because she does not want to loose his friendship, and because he started to give her mixed feelings.
Joclyn’s mark did not appear by accident. When a human child has a lot of potantial, a magical creature, called A Vinly, will bite a the child, and awaken her/his abilities, and he/she will be able to do magic. Children like Joclyn are called The Chosen Children. However, there are other kinds; the ones that were born that way, not bitten.
“The mark on your skin,” he began, his voice calm and even, “is called a kiss. Although it really isn’t a kiss at all – it’s more like a poisonous bite. When the kiss, or bite, was given, a strong poison entered your bloodstream and changed you. It took the latent powers that you already had and enhanced them. We call those who receive this kiss, a Chosen Child. Now, not everyone has to go through this change. I, for example, was born with my magic. It is as natural to me as breathing. You, however, as with all humans who are lucky enough to receive a kiss, have to endure the change to bring the magic into your body.”
“No, Joclyn, I am not human. Although, I do not differ much from your kind, I am part of a race known as the Skȓítek. We are an ancient people who were once very plentiful; now there are only a handful of us left, only about four hundred.”
“Yes, Joclyn. Skȓítek. Think of me as the gatekeeper for the birthplace of magic, the well in the earth where the powers within you originated.”
“A kiss,” Ilyan continued, “is given by a Vilỳ to human children who already have a natural ability. A Vilỳ is a dark creature that most closely resembles a small, winged dinosaur, although their faces are more human. They are brightly colored and almost seem to glow, making them easy to find.”
Ethington, Rebecca (2012-10-30). Kiss Of Fire (Imdalind Series #1) (p. 185-186). Imdalind Press. Kindle Edition.
I just wanted to give some details about the mark, Joclyn and Ryland’s relationship, since they plays a big role in this novel (not just in a romantic way, since they’re best friends as well, and they are each other rock). I posted the quotes because I don’t think I can be very clear in my explanation of Joclyn’s mark.
Now, to the actual review.
General Thoughts: I like this book. I think the concept is pretty original, and it is a breath of freash air when it comes to YA fantasy. I personally did not read anything like it; I’m referring especially to the fantasy world that Rebecca managed to create. I also like the fact that there is more than just one kind of magical creatures; they’re not just witches. It is like they’re a completely different kind, but just like humans, some has a certain talent, others a different one; some are Skȓítek, others are Trpaslík, and others are like Joclyn.
Sure, there is good vs evil. Joclyn’s on the good side, and she’ll have to join in, and try and defeat the evil, which in this case is another Skȓítek. However, Joclyn’s role is not very clear in this novel. She is still learning to do basic magic, let alone fight.
The book is an emotional roller-coaster, that’s for sure, which was a pleasant surprise since most YA novels don’t make me feel any strong emotions towards their characters and/or plot.
Rebecca is also good at writing fighting and action scenes. We get both of them in this first book, which is great. ❤
Overall, a great start to a new series.
Romance: While there are a few romantic moments between Ryland and Joclyn, the book does not focus too much on the romance. It is not a romantic novel (at least not this first book); the romance is more like sub-plot. The novel focuses more on Joclyn, and the new world she just discovered.
In this world, people are more or less fated to be together; mates. In order to become bonded, they had to perform a ritual, which is not described in details (at least not in this book). When to people are bonded, they can share a space in the subconscious mind, regardless of the physical distance between them. Joclyn and Ryland share this as well, even though they did not even kiss. I am not sure yet if this bond thingy is one person forever, of if there can be more than one mate, or if the bond can be broken. Probably it will be explained later on, in the next novels, since this book did not focus on the romance.
Joclyn: I like her, despite the fact that she is a little bit weak in this novel, but it is understandable. She goes through a lot in this book, and I think she holds it together pretty well. Joclyn is also realistic. For example, when her mum dies, she is devastated, and she does not forget about her after 5 pages. However, I do expect to see her grow, mature, and develop in the next novels. Otherwise, it will be disappointing.
Ryland: Joclyn’s best friend, and her first love. Based on this book, Ryland is a decent guy, and he really cares about Joclyn. He always comforts her, and when in danger, she protects her, even though he is being tortured at the same time.
Ilyan: The guy who came to help Joclyn, and to help her adapt to the magical world, and to learn to use her magic; Ilyan is much, much older than Joclyn, even though he looks to be in his early 20s (if Skȓítek, and other kinds who can do magic, are immortal, but only as long as they use their magic; if they stop, they become mortal. also, they can be killed by magic, or human weapons). He is also the King of Skȓítek people. Ilyan also seems to be a kind, and good person. However, based on the fighting scenes, he is also very powerful. He is also Ryland’s half-brother. Ilyon’s duty is to protect the source of magic, hidden in Imdalind, and to guide and protect his people, and the Chosen Children. Great potential as a character.
Wynn: She is a Trpaslík, and her magic is a little bit different, but she is pretty powerful, and she’s not afraid to fight. Most of the Trpaslík are evil, however, Wynn is on Ilayn’s side. Wynn is a funny character, and she befriends Joclyn right away. She helps her [Joclyn] adapt, and she’s by her side all the time. Wynn appears to be a good, loyal friend to Joclyn, but also to Ilayn. Her character has a lot of potential as well.
Talon: He is Wynn’s husband. We don’t get to see much of him, but his scenes are pretty funny, and he also befriends Joclyn. Talon is Ilyan’s best friend, and a very good soldier.
Ovailia: Ilyon’s half-sister. She is the Queen Bee, or Mean Girl. Beautiful, cold, and mean. She does not like Joclyn at all, and she puts her down all the time. Ovailia is also Ilyon’s second in command.
Edmund: The bad guy, and also Ryland’s father (+Ilyan, and Ovailia). He does not like the Chosen Children, and he thinks humans do not deserved to the “kiss”. He wants to dominated the world of magic, and enslave/destroy the human world. Edmund uses his children to do bad stuff, and he tortures them all the time (when they disappoint him, but also to get control over them). He also wants Ryland’s power, but him as his son; he wants to take control over his mind, and use him as a weapon. Most of the Trpaslík are on his side, including Wynn’s father and brother. He does appear to be hard to defeat.
Plot: It is fast-paced, and it has all the elements, including a proper resolution/conclusion, which is great. Since this is the first book, the plot development’s is just at the beginning (I hope).
I like the cover. It does connect with the novel in general, not just with one scene.