When a dying race of aliens chooses to implant their own glowing DNA into a group of teenagers, things are bound to get strange. And that’s exactly what happens to Alice and her friends. As if high school, puberty, and introducing your mom to your first boyfriend weren’t hard enough, Alice now has to juggle a sporadically glowing patch of alien DNA on her shoulder. That alone might be manageable, but the aliens who put it there want Alice to do more than just play hostess to their genes; something they failed to mention to her.
Fire Starter is the first book in a new series called Fluorescence, by indie author P. Anastasia. Each book in the series is to be narrated by a different character, giving the reader a new take on the world these teens have found themselves in with each instalment.
The characters in Fire Starter are easily relatable, and the protagonist, Alice, manages to come across as a genuine teenage girl, while still portraying enough maturity to make her appealing to an older audience, too. Anastasia has given each character a unique voice, allowing them to stand out in the group. Given the nature of the series to come (each book narrated by a different character) Fire Starter sets up a strong cast, and leads the way for powerful series. Fluorescence is all about the light, but there is a definite darker tone to the story, too, which promises to only become even more pronounced in later books.
Fire Starter is a great blend of urban YA with science fiction. One does not need to be an avid sci-fi fan to find it enjoyable. The story gets off to a slow start, as the characters and their world are introduced, but really picks up the pace once it becomes apparent that a dying alien race is meddling in their lives, and wants something more from the kids than they may be willing to give. The end will leave you hanging out for book 2.
Fluorescence is an independently published series, but reads like one from a big publishing house. The story is clean and concise, and fits snugly into its target genre. A definite must-read for all lovers of young adult, sci-fi and urban fantasy. It’s a story that won’t leave your cringing at the silliness of the characters, but at the same time, leaves no doubt that these are just kids, faced with something much bigger than they could have imagined.
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