5 Rated Books Book Reviews

Book Review: Fire in the Sea by Myke Bartlett

Title: Fire in the Sea

Author: Myke Bartlett

Genre: Fantasy, Contemporary, Young Adult

Publisher: Text Publishing
Publication date: July 25th 2012
Paperback: 264 pages

Sadie is sixteen and bored with life in Perth. It’s summer, and lazing on the beach in the stifling heat with her cousins and Tom is a drag. Then something comes out of the sea.

Dark menacing forms attack an old man, leaving him for dead and Sadie wracking her brains to understand what she saw. Then there’s a mysterious inheritance, a strange young man called Jake and a horned beast trampling the back yard.

Sadie finds herself caught in the middle of an ancient conflict that is nearing its final battle, a showdown that threatens to engulf Perth and all those she loves in a furious tsunami.

Fire in the Sea is a fast-paced thrilling adventure with a feisty heroine who is not afraid to fight for what she knows is right.

Stand alone or series: It seems to be the start of a new series

How did I get this book: Bought

Why did I read this book: This book came highly recommended to us by one of our readers. I recommend you check her review after you read mine as she found more reasons to be more enthusiastic about it (and so could you).


Sadie is sixteen and bored, stuck in Perth, Australia, doing the same things with the same bunch of people every day. Her life alters dramatically when she witnesses an old man named Jacob being attacked by … things that rose from the sea. Barely believing what she saw, Sadie is all the more distressed when she learns that the old man made her his legal heir just before he died of his injuries. Now Sadie is the rightful owner of an old house by the sea and the keeper of its secrets.

Then a strange teenage boy shows up at the house and says he is the reincarnated Jacob. He also says he is an immortal soul who must fulfil his duty to keep an old relic safe – an old relic that is instrumental in an ancient fight. It all sounds very ludicrous and Sadie is not prepared to believe this story until she remembers the things she has seen lately including the appearance of the horned beast that attacked her best friend. Soon, she is caught in the middle of a millennium-old fight for power between humans and gods – a fight that threatens to destroy everything she has come to love.

Fire in the Sea is one of those books I don’t have a lot to say about. It is a perfectly readable, fast-paced, somewhat engaging book. It also has nice things about it – indeed the protagonist is feisty as per the blurb. She also has a great relationship with her grandparents (who function as de facto parental units), which is something that we don’t often see in Fantasy/Contemporary YA.

Those things said, this is a Greek mythology retelling set in modern-day Australia but there wasn’t really anything especially new or impressive done to the Greek myths or the way they were incorporated to the setting. I am not even sure it has internal logic. Take Jake, for example. He is the keeper of this relic, working for the Gods to keep it safe. He and his friends are immortals but that immortality is dependent on the bodies they choose to inhabit and as such they only live as long as the bodies they “get”. When those bodies die for some reason, their spirits move to a new body and they have to start again. But why go through all that palaver when Greek Gods can grant immortality so easily? Just get them to eat some ambrosia and ergo, none of this pesky business of having to die and then having to find a body, etc.

It doesn’t help that Jake, for all that he is 8,000 years-old, doesn’t particularly sound or behaves like an 8,000 year-old person either. Of course, as the story starts, he just so happens to have chosen the body of a super attractive young man and of course he falls for Sadie for no discernible reason than…just because. This budding relationship between the two – first friendship, then potential romance – is the cause of most of the book’s intended angst especially toward the second half when Jake NEARLY dies several times sacrificing himself for Sadie (and Australia!). It becomes really repetitive with the same formula happening over and again and honestly, how many times can a character nearly die without the near-event losing all of its emotional punch? [1. The answer to this question is, of course: loads of times as long as the character is called Rory Williams.]

Ultimately Fire in the Sea is not really a bad book but I can’t say that it is a particularly good one either. I was wholly unimpressed with it.

Notable Quotes/ Parts:

Three figures shot up from the harbour depths. They rose ten metres in the air, trailing saltwater, and then dropped onto the wharf. Their hair was knotted and foul and their faces warped and discoloured. They wore tight-fitting, tarnished armour: chain-mail vests stained with verdigris and heavy bracelets on bony wrists. Helmets masked their eyes and exaggerated their brows into curled horns. One carried a double-bladed axe, one had a sword strung from his rotting leather belt, and the last gripped a trident.

Rating: 5 – Meh, it was ok.

Reading Next: Adaptation by Malinda Lo

Buy the Book: (click on the links to purchase)

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  • Linda W
    October 2, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Hmm. The premise is interesting, but it sounds like you didn’t dig the execution. I’m always wary when I see a 5 from you.

  • Howard Sherman
    October 3, 2012 at 7:07 am

    Love the twist of something old placed somewhere new. Too bad the follow through didn’t work.

  • Surinder Singh
    October 3, 2012 at 7:37 am

    Interesting -n- informative introduction…

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