So after receiving an ARC copy of Airicka Phoenix’s Touching Smoke a few months back, I’ve been anxiously waiting for the second book, Touching Fire, to make its appearance. After a few false alarms, it finally got released on March 27, and I got around to reading it a few weeks ago. I was REALLY excited to read it because I loved the first one so much (see my review here), but I really had no thoughts on where the series was going to go after Fallon learned all about herself.
Touching Fire picks up shortly after Fallon and Isaiah escape Garrison/Terrell. Having been on the run and constantly hiding from his men, they finally meet up with Ashton/Acheron, Fallon’s father. After defeating an army of supernatural creatures outside of a diner, he takes the two back to his home in Luxuria, which is in a separate dimension only accessed via the nexus (a long crazy hallway of doors). Once there, Fallon’s lineage is laid out for her. Ashton explains that she is more than just a genetic freak concocted in Garrison’s lab. She is also the daughter of sin, in particular, lust, and therefore has many special powers. From this point forward, Fallon discovers that she is potentially a key component of a centuries old prophecy, fights tooth and nail to have a future with Isaiah, and gets kidnapped/detained a couple of times. All of this leads up to a pretty severe cliffhanger of an ending.
What I Liked:
1. I loved the way Fallon speaks. She says things like “Somehow, this revelation was infinitely worse than the time I learned I was a cocktail of animal DNA,” and “Life really was one big box of freaking mystery chocolates and I was quickly becoming diabetic.” She’s very off-the-cuff and much more believable than a lot of characters in other books.
2. No love triangle! At least not yet. I’m sure I’m speaking too soon, but as of right now, the focus is on figuring herself out and loving Isaiah.
3. The fusion of two very different genres – Paranormal Fantasy + Sci-Fi – makes this story really interesting. In Fallon’s words, she was “a weapon, a mutant, a sin, and a princess.” She has to choose between being human with Isaiah or supernatural, living on Earth or in the realm of Luxuria with the rest of the sins and their offspring. But in reality, her actual humanity was conceived in the lab of a mad scientist who wanted to carry on the life of his deceased daughter and unknowingly fused her DNA with that of a sin.
4. I really like the idea of sins personified as opposed to actual monsters like vampires or werewolves. Definitely different. BUT….(see #3 below).
What I Didn’t Like:
1. As with the first book, SO much of this book seemed like set up or filler. It took quite a while for the sci-fi theme of the first book to catch up with the supernatural fantasy theme of this one.
2. For a book that was postponed several times due to editing/publishing, it was still chock full of errors, and silly ones at that: googles instead of goggles, hare instead of are, noise instead of nose, etc. At one point, Isaiah was referred to as Ike. They were things that should’ve been picked up with no problem by anyone who read the book.
3. I’m currently in the middle of Wendy Higgins’ Sweet trilogy, so being confronted with another storyline involving the descendants of sins kind of made me face-palm. It’s definitely a cool idea, and it’s in no way the same as the Sweet series, but I just get worried that that’s going to be the new vampire craze, and it doesn’t seem like that can be adjusted to reflect the author’s own ideas as easily as the vampire/zombie/werewolf story.
4. Isaiah didn’t really have much of a purpose in this book. In the first one, he was Fallon’s protector. In this one, he just kind of existed, waiting around until Fallon and Ashton figured out what to do with him.
So my review for this went down a bit from Touching Smoke because, while a lot happened, most of it happened in the last third or so of the book. The large majority of it seemed a lot like filler and set up. But based on the ending, I think the third book will be really good. Hopefully it won’t take too long to get published, though!