The Secret Fire – the battle between good and evil comes to modern day England

The Secret Fire – the battle between good and evil comes to modern day England

It isn’t often that I find YA paranormal that is actually set in the contemporary world, so I was excited to see The Secret Fire didn’t linger in the past or seek refuge in an alternate or parallel universe.  It is firmly set in modern day England and France, which means we get mini skirts and motorcycles mixed in with the magic.  Unfortunately, I didn’t end up appreciating it as much as I had anticipated, but I think there is a good chance that other readers will, particularly those in the YA demographic.


Goodreads Summary

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?

My Thoughts

The Secret Fire wasn’t a great reading experience for me – I wasn’t particularly invested, and I drifted away from it several times to read other things, but I don’t think my experience will necessarily be yours. There is a lot of action, especially once the setting and characters are established.  There is an engaging premise based on a curse made generations before the story begins.  There is a secret battle going on between good and evil forces that sweeps up the two main characters.  There is magic and there is mystery.  I think I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind.  I absolutely think there is an audience for this book.  Taylor is an average girl who excels at schoolwork. She is pleasantly surprised to find herself dating the hottest guy in school and those strange electric fluctuations surely have nothing to do with her.  She is a bit of a Pollyanna, erring on the side of perfection, but I think most YA readers will like her well enough.  Sasha is an image of a bad boy but with all the chivalry a girl could want. He is a bit of a stereotype, but he has the better character arc, and I think he will be appealing to teen girls.  The inciting incident – a class assignment that comes across as too awkward and contrived- and the pacing of Taylor and Sasha’s relationship- it dragged on for me but still felt underdeveloped- are the two things I can clearly identify as a problem for me as a reader.  I don’t necessarily think they will be an issue for you.  If you enjoy paranormal YA in a contemporary setting, you might just find this book really grabs you.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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