Standalone | 304 Pages | 2019
A Thousand Fires at a Glance
- Overall Rating: ★★★1/2
- Heroine: She’s a survivor
- Dude: Achilles showed up
- Steaminess: off-page implications
- Brutality: Umm what isn’t there?
Pairs Well With
Vodka shots, preferably with Gingerbread man chasers
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
I saw this book on Edelweiss and thought that it sounded really intriguing. Gang wars and vengeance are exactly what I wanted to read. But I was hooked when I saw that the author, who is Filipina-American, was giving away physical ARCs TO THE PHILIPPINES. The lack of physical ARCs outside of US, UK, and Australia is staggering and to see an author ship them herself made me want to support this person’s career.
The story is about Valerie, who’s brother was murdered two years ago. Valerie has sworn to get vengeance for Leo, even if it means joining the gang war. Meanwhile, her best friend and ex-boyfriend, Matthew is a definite recruit to the Herons. Valerie is prepared to join up with him and serve a year while searching for her brother’s killer.
The problem is, The Stags recruit Valerie instead.
Enter: Tall, blond and confusing leader of the Stags, Jax.
Okay, i’m good with a love triangle, but I wasn’t sure if this was one for most of the book. I can see how Jax has a bad boy appeal, but sometimes he was downright creepy and grabby. But Valerie seemed okay with it, so I’m gonna let it fly. He does a lot of the “I’m the leader and you will listen to me.” But overall, Jax is kind of a cinnamon roll on the inside.
He also knows who killed Leo.
And like any good mysterious, blackmailing leader, he won’t tell Valerie until he deems her trustworthy. Insecure male with a banbun: Check.
Throughout the book, Valerie becomes family with the Stags and I don’t blame her! I fell in love with the entire crew and only wanted the best for them. Valerie got me a couple of times with her angsty love-triangle feelings, but honestly, the girl is 18 in a dangerous and confusing situation. She gets a pass on all of that. Mako is the big teddy-bear friend that everyone needed and Nianna is the older take-no-shit sister that we always wanted. Nianna brings in a LGBTQ rep with a couple of comments, but that is really the end of the representation.
“I dunno. You straight people are crazy sometimes.”
She speaks the truth.
I saw the parallels with the Stags and the Illiad. I won’t tell you who is who, but they are certainly present. But much like the Illiad, I couldn’t get a grasp on the whole “gang wars for no reason with lots of rich people involved.” It felt a little like Gossip Girl started carrying guns and street-fighting. I would have benefited from a richer history of the wars, including the reason that was perpetuated to the public. It’s all a big mystery for a while and when you find out the source of the fighting… It’s not the best reveal. I had some serious Capulets and Montagues confusion. If I’m reading about rich people shooting each other in downtown San Francisco, I need more than mystery.
The book could have benefited from another 100 pages with more background. I tore through the 304 pages in hours and still wanted more. I loved the thriller aspect, but I wanted MORE.
Overall it was a fantastic book and I can’t wait to see what Price comes up with next!
Have you read A Thousand Fires? Let me know what you thought in the comments!