Sunday, August 30, 2009

Review: The Fire by Katherine Neville


My Katherine Neville giveaway may have ended (still waiting for the winners to reply), but this does not mean you shouldn't pick up the sequel to one of the most talked-about books in the past twenty years. Katherine Neville's The Eight took the world by storm in 1988, breaking all the literary rules, and twenty years later, the sequel is finally available for us to enjoy. If you like strong female characters, mysteries, danger and puzzle-solving, The Fire will delight beyond all expectations.

The books picks up some twenty years after The Eight ended. After a tragedy, young Alexandra moves away from her mother Catherine Velis, and is shocked to find out her mother disappeared as soon as she tried to organize a rather strange birthday party. It is not soon before Alexandra first hears of the infamous Montglane chess set. Not long after that, she finds herself in the middle of an unsettling, dangerous game of unimaginable proportions. The story overlaps with the journey of Haidee, the daughter of an Otoman ruler, who must make sure a valuable artifact stays far away from dangerous hands. In standard Katherine Neville fashion, the historical stories features such real-life characters, such as Lord Byron and Thomas Jefferson.

The sequel to The Eight has taken twenty long years to write, and the depth of research the author is famous for definitely shows on the page. Many elements from different cultures and time periods are combined here, and although the plot is not as tight as it could have been, it is a page-turner worthy of anyone who likes the thrill. A strange hybrid of Dan Brown and Tracy Chevalier, Neville manages to lure the reader into her seductive, yet dangerous world, and with her impeccable writing style overcome most of the faults this book might have. The pacing can sometimes be off, and the historical part is not as engrossing as it had been in the first instalment, but The Fire will surely stand the test of time, just like its predecessor has. Any Katherine Neville novel is a literary event to be cherished.

RATING: 4/5

9 comments:

Sheila (bookjourney) said...

Just got home and I have replied! :) Yippy! Thanks for a great giveaway! :) Seriously beaming here and pretty sure if I looked in the mirror it would be cheesy too!

Thanks so much! Now I see you taking about the sequel and you know I will have to get it. :)

Jenny said...

Sounds great! I need to read the first one still!!!

Mary S said...

Thanks for the review. I've been flip-flipping whether or not to read the sequel. I may have to add it to my TBR list.

:)

Amanda said...

I definitely need to read this. I read The Eight last year, and have wondered how Neville's writing styles have changed in 20 years.

Nikola said...

Jenny - you need to read them, they're simply amazing.

Mary S, you should read it, it's a worthy sequel.

Amanda, what did you think of the eight?

Melissa said...

I have added these both to my list of books to pick up when out. I don't know when I will be able to get to them but I will have them for when I am ready. They do sound amazing and it would be nice to read the first one then the second one with out such the long wait others waited.

Nikola said...

That's awesome Melissa, I'm sure you'll love them!

Peter said...

I saw this at the bookstore the other day. I didn't pay any attention to it. Now I feel like rushing to the bookstore and buying it.

Nikola said...

You do that Peter! You will not regret it! :)