Kathleen Houlihan's Reviews > Blue Fire

Blue Fire by Janice Hardy
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Jan 06, 2011

really liked it
Read in February, 2011

An enjoyable addition to a unique fantasy series where the magicians are healers, who make use of a rare metal, pynvium, to store the pain they draw off those who are in pain. In book 2, Nya and her friends are trying to rescue the healers who are at risk from the evil Duke, who wants to use them for a dark purpose (which we do discover in this book). Nya herself is at the gravest risk, since she has an unusual ability that makes her of particular interest to the Duke -- she can pass pain from one person to another, and the transferred pain ultimately causes the death of the recipient.

Nya is a likeable heroine who struggles with the brutal side of her gift. She's idealized, but not to the point of unbelievability (though she can be a bit dense at times). She's loyal to a fault, and it's this loyalty that's the main undercurrent of Book 2, where she must make some hard choices about the good of one over the good of many. Hardy's tempo is strong, and her worldbuilding imaginative, and some of the descriptions - like those in the pynvium forge, and shimmying across an aquaduct - were particularly striking.

While Nya's friendships are believable, I didn't see any sparks between her and her supposed love interest, Danello. What could have been a very dynamic relationship between Nya and Onderaan was also a little flat (this relationship in particular -- not to get spoilery -- could use a little more oomph, since it's a major plot point). I also found the repetition of phrases in the climactic scene a little overdone -- a phrase was used for emphasis, but I would have liked more description of the character using it (the Duke) rather than just the phrase over and over again.

Overall, I found the story enjoyable, and would recommend it to teens and tweens who love epic fantasy with a strong female heroine, but could do without too much mushy stuff.
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