Two more reviews for you! Both of these titles are descendants of previous works, but one is vastly more successful than the other.
So, a powerful non-human being falls in love with someone whose basic nature is to kill their kind but doesn’t. Switch around a few words and…Remind you of anything? Twi—I mean, Fire—light. The similarities don’t end there. In Twilight, it is Edward’s impossible good looks being described ad nauseum. In Firelight, it is Jacinda’s transformation into a draki. The mythology is such that draki revert to their dragon form when scared or excited. (It’s a survival mechanism, apparently, though that seems silly if the point is to remain hidden.) Basically, every time Jacinda sees or touches Will in any capacity, her throat gets hot, her skin glimmers, and she starts BREATHING STEAM. No one notices. No one. Also, sometimes her face starts shifting when she’s kissing Will, but what ultimately gives her away is her purple blood. Yeah, OK.
Each girl (ages 13, 16, and 18) comes to the estate with their own story and personality. The relationships forged in the captivity of the mansion blossom organically and are complicated by a whole mess of conflicting feelings. Cecily, Jenna, Gabriel, and other household members keep the setting from feeling claustrophobic. Villains Linden and Vaughn are respectively sad and terrifying. The plot may be a bit derivative, but this book still feels like Rhine’s story. Her world is fairly thought out, even if the illness makes very little sense. Take it on faith though, and just enjoy the characters. There are even some fun outfit descriptions! Very much looking forward to the next in the Chemical Garden trilogy.
Ultimately, the characters and their evolving relationships elevate Wither and make its source material seem fresher. The dilemmas are internal and external, but both carry a weight. Firelight’s characters seem flimsy and petty in comparison, and so I couldn’t muster up enough worry over “will they or won’t they?”(I could make some crack about the quality of the source materials, but I’ll restrain myself.)