Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Review & Giveaway: Ruby's Fire by Catherine Stine

I was thrilled to participate in the tour for Ruby's Fire.  A unique new YA Fantasy novel.  Make sure the enter the Kindle Giveaway after checking out my review!

Ruby's Fire
Title: Ruby's Fire
Author: Catherine Stine
Release Date: June 9, 2013
Pages: 264, Paperback
Goodreads Rating: 4.33 stars
My Rating: 4/5 stars
Content Rating: PG

Summary from Goodreads: If everything about you changes, what remains?

Seventeen year-old Ruby, long-pledged to the much older Stiles from the Fireseed desert cult, escapes with only a change of clothes, a pouch of Oblivion Powder and her mute little brother, Thorn. Arriving at The Greening, a boarding school for orphaned teens, she can finally stop running. Or can she? The Greening is not what it seems. Students are rampaging out of control and as she cares for the secret Fireseed crop, she experiences frightening physical changes. She’s ashamed of her attraction to burly, hard-talking Blane, the resident bodyguard, and wonders why she can’t be happy with the gentler Armonk. She’s long considered her great beauty a liability, a thing she’s misused in order to survive. And how is she to stop her dependence on Oblivion to find a real beauty within, using her talent as a maker of salves, when she has nightmares of Stiles without it?

When George Axiom, wealthy mogul of Vegas-by-the-Sea offers a huge cash prize for the winner of a student contest, Ruby is hopeful she might collect the prize to rescue her family and friends from what she now knows is a dangerous cult. But when Stiles comes to reclaim her, and Thorn sickens after creating the most astonishing contest project of all, the world Ruby knows is changed forever. This romantic fantasy set in 2099 on earth has a crafty heroine in Ruby, and a swoonworthy cast, which will surely appeal to the YA and new adult audience.  


NOTE: Ruby's Fire is a standalone sequel to Stine's Fireseed One, which was published in 2011 (read my review here).  While the book could certainly be read on its own, I thought that reading Fireseed One first really enhanced my reading of Ruby's Fire, so you might want to check it out!

This book centers around a girl named Ruby who escapes the cult she has been raised in only to find herself faced with new dangers outside in the hostile world she lives in.  When she and her younger brother find themselves at a boarding school for teens, they aren't exactly welcomed with open arms and Ruby wonders if they are truly safe anywhere.  Then, a competition is announced - the students need to find an innovative new use for Fireseed, the life-changing plant that Ruby also worships as a God.  Soon, she finds that her connection to the plant is becoming more and more strange and she doesn't know whether to be happy or scared.

The negatives:

  • The love triangle.  I didn't quite buy in to the love triangle in this book.  It was hardly a triangle at all - I didn't get the sense that Ruby was really all that into either guy until the last third or so of the book.  This would be fine, except that it just made the triangle feel like a plot device (something thrown in to fit the YA mold) rather than a true romantic storyline.  However, the romance element of this book did not take front and center, so this was a small issue overall.  
What I loved:
  • The world building.  I talked a lot about the world building in my review for Fireseed One and it's no less interesting in Ruby's Fire.  I absolutely love the Hotzone and how vividly Stine paints the Fireseed plants and the world around them.  It's really interesting to imagine this amazing plant and all of the different uses for it that the students come up with in their contest too!  Stine is so inventive as a writer and she has created an intriguing fantasy world.  (I would recommend reading Fireseed One for even more unique world building!)
  • The hybrids.  I don't want to give too much away, but there are some really unique hybrids that are created in the book and I loved all of the different forms that these hybrids took!!
  • Ruby and Thorn.  I really connected with Ruby and I loved her little brother Thorn.  Their relationship was a highlight of the book for me.  Ruby is fiercely protective of Thorn and she understands him better than anyone else in the world.  I loved trying to figure out what Thorn was doing and thinking (he mostly doesn't talk).  He was a great character!
I thought that Ruby's Fire was an excellent YA fantasy book and would highly recommend it!  4/5 Stars.

**Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***

Catherine Stine writes YA, New Adult and middle grade fiction. Her YA futuristic thriller, Fireseed One, illustrated by the author won finalist spots in both YA and Science Fiction in the 2013 USA Book News International Book Awards. It was also granted a 2013 Bronze Wishing Shelf Book Award and a 2013 Indie Reader Approved notable stamp. Her YA Refugees, earned a New York Public Library Best Book. Middle grade novels include A Girl’s Best Friend

Fireseed One sequel, Ruby’s Fire is earning advance praise from reviewers and authors:
Ruby's Fire, returns to the sun-scorched earth of Fireseed One. In this long-awaited sequel, Stine delivers a thrilling adventure led by a new and exciting cast of characters. Ruby, Armonk, Thorn and Blane are memorable, and the romance is really well handled. Favorite quote: " It feels wrong to lean on Armonk right now with Blane staring at me, a hungry, lonely look in his eye. It’s as if he’s never been hugged, never been fed, never been loved..." ”  -YAs the Word

More and more, Catherine enjoys writing speculative tales where her imagination has wild and free reign. She has taught creative writing workshops at the Philadelphia Writing Conference, Missouri University Summer Abroad, The New School and in her own ongoing NYC writing workshop. She loves her readers, and enjoys blogging.

a Rafflecopter giveaway