Review: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

December 8, 2013 Paranormal, Reviews, Richelle Mead 7 ★★½

The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines # 4
Published by Razorbill on November 19, 2013
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 438
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this thrilling fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

This is the first time I’ve said this about a Richelle Mead book (excluding Gameboard of the Gods), but where was the action???  Where was the excitement???  Maybe this was something I’ve been able to overlook in her earlier works because I was enjoying them so much, but there was SO much recapping of earlier events and extensive, repetitive explanations of lore.  I do think authors should cater somewhat to a reader who picks up a series mid-stream, but there needs to be a balance so that the rest of us aren’t yawning and flipping through the pages looking for something new.  And really, out of all the readers who are going to pick up a copy of The Fiery Heart, what percentage of them have never read the Bloodlines series before?  Or Vampire Academy, for that matter?  I would have to imagine it’s less than 10%, and it feels like this book was written for that small minority.

I would be willing to overlook all of the rehashing if something, ANYTHING exciting happened.  But it wasn’t until the last 100 pages that there was some action, and even that was a dull, tepid affair.  Up until this point, the drama revolved around relationships:

  • Sydney and Adrian: Will they have sex, or won’t they?  Will Adrian get back into heavy drinking?  Will Sydney browbeat him if he does?
  • Sydney and Zoe: Will Sydney be able to keep her relationship with Adrian a secret?  Will Zoe learn how to crack a smile?
  • Sydney’s parents:  Will they get divorced?  Seriously???  Who cares???  The status of their marriage was a major focus, and it felt so out of place.  The time spent harping over this couple could have been better spent on something, ANYTHING else.

The story ends on a cliffhanger with Sydney in danger, but in keeping with the rest of The Fiery Heart, there wasn’t anything particularly interesting about it.  The danger seems like it will be easily averted, and it does not seem serious enough to cause me to worry about Sydney’s safety.  It also does nothing to build anticipation for the next book.

I’m going to view The Fiery Heart as a minor misstep for Mead, and I expect her to be back in fighting form (and to get Sydney back in fighting form) for the next book.


7 Responses to “Review: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead”

  1. Pili

    Some recapping is good in case you don’t remember all that happened in the previous books, but really not spend more time with details already explained that with action. I haven’t read any books of this series or Vampire Academy and I won’t be randomly be picking this book in the middle to start reading, who does that??
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    • Stephanie

      I did it once with a book on NetGalley by accident. It took me a couple of chapters with me thinking, “Wow – it seems like a lot of exciting stuff happened before this story started!” before I finally realized I was reading book # 2.

    • Stephanie

      Based on the GR reviews, most people are enjoying this. As for me, I’ve read enough from Mead that I can “excuse” this book 🙂

    • Stephanie

      Don’t expect much until the last 100 pages. And even then, it’s not typical Mead.

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