Arson Gable feels like a freak. He can create fire. He never asked for it. He never wanted it. But he can’t shut it off.
Before now, three things were true: he both loved and despised his grandmother; his life was going nowhere; and he was alone. But when a strange girl–who feels more normal behind a mask than inside her own skin–moves in next door, Arson hopes to find something he’s never had: purpose. Using what he fears most about himself, Arson must face his consuming past and confront the nightmare that is his present as he walks the fine line between boy and monster. Dark, moody, and breathtakingly relevant, Arson, the chilling chronicle of an isolated boy with unimaginable ability, is sure to ignite the hearts and minds of a new generation.
Review: It took a little bit to get into this story. It was a little disjointed in the beginning. It was hard to get into the flow of the story, but once you were there it went just fine. This book is really angsty. Arson loathes himself and tries to fit in, but deep inside knows he is different. The Grandmother is really off her rocker. One minute she is sweet Grandma, the next minute she is a lunatic shouting things, and back again. The girl, Emery, is an out of control teenager. She was involved in an accident when shew as younger and now wears a scary mask so she doesn’t feel vulnerable. While we have all toyed with the illusion that if no one can see who we really are, it wont hurt. We also all know how much of a pile of *()* that is. This girl manages to live that dream and you almost want to admire her for it. Except then she starts being an obnoxious teenager with the mentality that no one could possible understand. I have run into this with quite a few teenager and I think the author captured this mentality quite well. You almost admire her for how she braves the world, but then you see the way she treats people around her and you stop rooting for her. Her parents are having their own issues. You feel almost sad for them, until you realize they are doing it to themselves while simultaneously doing it to each other. There is not one great character. All are terribly flawed. I read a lot of comic books and this is actually a trait that I really like. I like knowing that everyone has something that needs monitoring to keep in check or you wouldn’t recognize the person you become… But towards the end of this book, it got to be too much. Arson has the only redeeming quality shown in this book- and that does not come out til the very end of the book. The end of the book starts to get really disjointed again, the shift in perspectives happens frequently. Then the climax hits and the book is over… I think because it is a first book it is supposed to end in a cliffhanger but this one was… not a good one. It just made me mad. Not mad that I have to wait to read it… just mad.
I have heard that this author is quite young, early twenties, and I look forward to watching this author get more comfortable with a wider range of emotions. This is a YA novel, perhaps a younger generation would feel differently about this book. I may be in my mid twenties, but the teenage boy is not something I have ever pretended to understand.
Quote: “…You’ve cracked the case. Some sophomoric teenager thinks he has all the answers. When you’re my age and you’ve seen the world for what it truly is, seen human beings for what they are, maybe then you’ll get it. Life isn’t black and white, Arson. It’s filled with shades of gray. So don’t pretend like you have any idea what it’s like, because you don’t.”
Estevan Vega published his first book when he was fifteen, and his second followed shortly after. His fascination for the supernatural ignited a desire to write his third and most praised work to date, Arson. For those just joining, Ashes continues the turbulent story. Vega currently resides in Connecticut, where he is feverishly plotting the next chapter in the series. Get stoked.