Friday, 6 February 2015

Review: The Fire Sermon [The Fire Sermon #1] by Francesca Haig

Title: The Fire Sermon
Author: Francesca Haig
Author Info: Twitter
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Fire Sermon #1
Source: Publisher
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Publication Date: 23rd February 2015
Rating: 5 stars

Tell Me About It
When Zach and I were born our parents must have counted and recounted: limbs, fingers, toes. We were perfect. They would have been disbelieving: nobody dodged the split between Alpha and Omega.
They were born together and they will die together.
One strong Alpha twin and one mutated Omega; the only thing they share is the moment of their death.
The Omegas live in segregation, cast out by their families as soon as their mutation becomes clear. Forced to live apart, they are ruthlessly oppressed by their Alpha counterparts.
The Alphas are the elite. Once their weaker twin has been cast aside, they're free to live in privilege and safety, their Omega twin far from their thoughts.
Cass and Zach are both perfect on the outside: no missing limbs, no visible Omega mutation. But Cass has a secret: one that Zach will stop at nothing to expose.
The potential to change the world lies in both their hands. One will have to defeat the other to see their vision of the future come to pass, but if they're not careful both will die in the struggle for power.
My Thoughts
There were no written tales or pictures of the blast. What was the point of writing it, or drawing it, when it was etched on every surface? Even now, more than four hundred years after it had destroyed everything, it was still visible in every tumbled cliff, scorched plain, and ash-clogged river. Every face. It had become the only story the earth could tell, so who else would record it?
[Excerpt from page 5 of UK edition]
Cassandra and Zach, Omega and Alpha, Siblings, Twins.

The Fire Sermon is an amazing story from author Francesca Haig. Cassandra and Zach are twins, who live in a world after this blast, they have no knowledge of the 'before' only of the 'after', and one of the results from this blast is each child born has a twin, either an Alpha or an Omega. Society thought they could dispose of these Omega's, the sickly or mutated twin, until they realised that they need Omega's to live, for every Omega killed, their Alpha dies too, and vice versa, making this new world a world of survival, and trust, and keeping your twin safe no matter what, your life literally depends on it.

Cassandra and Zach however were not your usual twins, they were not split till 13 years of age due to the lack of physical mutation, of Casandra's ability, a Seer. Once discovered she is shunned and sent away with minimal food and water to live in settlement with other Omegas until she is eventually captured and kept in a safe prison, away from people out to kill her brother.
Cassandra's life is not easy at all. As the story progresses she soon finds herself a target from both Alpha's and Omega's, both sides determined to watch her brother die for the acts he has committed. However Cassandra is strong willed and determined to do what is right for all, to survive each new day in order to put an end to the fighting.

Having Cassandra as a protagonist was a refreshing change, most female heroines are instantly perceived as strong and tough, yet Cassandra has a hidden strength, she may appear weak but her determination and perseverance definitely make her a strong person. Cassandra is different from everyone else. She doesn't see the world as 'us' and 'them', she see's it in a unique way, and that no matter who dies, that there are two who have lost a life and not just the Alpha or Omega. She wants to see twins getting along without the need for brutality, slavery, and captivity.
Kip, Cassandra's travelling friend, is an enigma, rescued from tanks he has no memory of who or what he is, making him an ally but also a threat. Who's side is he really on and can he be trusted to help Cassandra?

The Fire Sermon takes us on a path of discovery fraught with danger, but the need of wanting to see the end, to follow Cassandra and Kip and see them fulfill their own desires, their own needs, kept me turning the pages as fast as I could. The twists and turns kept me guessing over what would happen next, and while I did see certain aspects of this story happening, there was a major twist that completely threw me, I did not see it coming at all and it took me a while to convince myself I had really read those words, that this event really happened.

The world within the pages of The Fire Sermon was full of life in this dying world, a real diamond in the rough, full of rich descriptive words and feelings. The characters are both likable and unlikable, and I found it easy to distinguish most of the characters into one of these groups. The Fire Sermon is the start of a new series I intend to stalk.

Final Verdict
A fantastic start to a promising new series that I can't wait to read, The characters are likable and easy to become invested in. I need to have the next book in my hands now.

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