Fire in the Blood (Last Moon Rising #1) by Dale Ibitz
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a non-reciprocal review.
(This review will contain spoilers).
“Fire in the Blood” is a nice little fantasy adventure.
I think the second half of the book is much stronger than the first half. The first half is slow. When Haley ends up in the next world she doesn’t know where Tuggin is taking her, what he wants, or anything. And she doesn’t ask. She doesn’t ask him or the other people she meets, and this is a consistent problem through most of the book.
I’d say the second problem is that Haley’s sole connection to the male characters throughout the majority of the book is that she finds them attractive, and that is repeated over and over again. It would have been fine to mention her attraction to either of them about a third or a fourth of the time she did, but the book gets overloaded with her telling the reader how hot they are. Throughout the first half of the book many paragraphs can be summed up as, “Tuggin is hot. But he’s a jerk.”
The other parts work much better. I liked the descriptions for the water and air eyids. The action picks up after she breaks away from Tuggin and takes her own path. Although I was confused by the path she took (even if she didn’t want to be caught by someone else, I would think she’d still hesitate to choose the “fiery desert death trap” path) it did get more exciting at the end.
I think a good editor could clean up a lot of the repetitive parts and strengthen other parts really well. For example:
(Slightly changed to take out stuttering and such).
“Some have killed for it, betrayed for it. Some have even broken their promises.”
In this instance I would swap “killed” and “broken their promises”, because killing someone is a lot harsher than breaking a promise to them. An editor can easily tweak things like that to give them more oomph.
Other descriptions worked really well. When she was describing Ian using his powers, I liked things like this:
“Ian’s lips moved a half-second behind his words.”
It made for a great imagery.
I was fine with Haley saying she was sick of following everyone else, but I was wondering when she would remember that not creating harmony would likely get her mom burned to a crisp. She seemed to forget things like that and she doesn’t seem to consider who might be lying about what. She’ll believe one person is lying over another person and, even as the facts fall apart around her, won’t reconsider what is a lie and what isn’t.
At the end of the book she thinks this: “I should just ask them and find out for sure, rather than believe anything that came out of Ian’s mouth.”
I practically cheered at that line because I had been waiting for her to finally question what was really true. But then she drops the subject and never asks. She doesn’t ask Tuggin or Elana, or anyone else who would know.
Another spot for me that was both good and bad was Tanner. I liked Tanner. I think she worked as a character, and in particular I liked this line from her:
“I kick him in vulnerable thpot. Hurry”
The problem with Tanner came more from Haley’s side. Haley is well aware that Tanner is part of a society where women are slaves. She’s also fully aware of mind control. However, when Tanner was helping Ian because he promised to be with her, Haley considers her a traitor. That would be fine for an immediate reaction, but knowing that women are slaves and that there’s mind control, she should take into account Tanner’s position. She knows that Tanner probably didn’t have much of a choice in anything she did.
I was disappointed there wasn’t more effort in trying to save Tanner. Haley didn’t have to successfully save her, but trying to grab her or something would have helped. Tanner just took lightning for her, she deserves a little bit of effort! And after she’s gone she’s pretty much forgotten.
I would have liked Haley to have come to a better understanding of where Tanner was coming from. She saw what women were being put through in their society.
The whole “she betrayed me” idea is a problem Haley has several times in the book. If any other woman is attracted to a man that Haley is also attracted to, Haley has issues with them. In the beginning her friend Elana appears to be speaking to Ian on friendly terms, and because of that Haley determines that Elana has betrayed her. It’s an overreaction.
Later on, a character seems to like, or at least be friendly, with Tuggin. Haley reacts badly to that, too, constantly having an attitude that he can ‘run to her arms, as if I would care’.
The third time is with Ian and Tanner, as I mentioned above.
Haley reacts really poorly to other girls who so much as act friendly towards men she’s attracted to.
Like I said at the start of the review, I think the book ended stronger than it started. At the beginning I was waiting for something to happen, and at the end I wanted to see what would happen in the next chapter.
The battle between Haley and Ian was good. I liked when Haley started realizing she had powers and using them. More experimentation would have nice, but I also understand that the ending happened over a short period of time and she didn’t have much time to experiment with what she could do.
I do like that Haley understood that Ian was not a good person to be attracted to. It would have been nice if she lost some of her attraction to him because of his personality. People do become more or less attracted to others because of how they act.
At the end Haley decides to go check on her mom – but instead of going home and forgetting that the worlds might be destroyed (which would include her mother dying), she says she wants to check and she’ll come right back.
The last chapter is also the first time I felt any sort of connection between Haley and Tuggin. In the first half of the book we keep getting told she’s attracted to him, but that doesn’t really make a connection.
The world was well built up by the end and there was an understanding of what was going on. I liked Tuggin more in the last chapter, and Haley was starting to make her own decisions.
I wouldn’t mind seeing where the series goes from here, and if someone is looking for a fantasy adventure it’s not a bad book to pick up, and I hope the next book continues to improve from where she left off on this book.
I’d give it about a 7/10.