This review and others are posted at Inspiring Insomnia.
This is the first time I’ve said this about a Richelle Mead book (excluding Gameboard of the Gods), but where was the action??? Where was the excitement??? Maybe this was something I’ve been able to overlook in her earlier works because I was enjoying them so much, but there was SO much recapping of earlier events and extensive, repetitive explanations of lore. I do think authors should cater somewhat to a reader who picks up a series mid-stream, but there needs to be a balance so that the rest of us aren’t yawning and flipping through the pages looking for something new. And really, out of all the readers who are going to pick up a copy of The Fiery Heart, what percentage of them have never read the Bloodlines series before? Or Vampire Academy, for that matter? I would have to imagine it’s less than 10%, and it feels like this book was written for that small minority.
I would be willing to overlook all of the rehashing if something, ANYTHING exciting happened. But it wasn’t until the last 100 pages that there was some action, and even that was a dull, tepid affair. Up until this point, the drama revolved around relationships:
Sydney and Adrian: Will they have sex, or won’t they? Will Adrian get back into heavy drinking? Will Sydney browbeat him if he does?
Sydney and Zoe: Will Sydney be able to keep her relationship with Adrian a secret? Will Zoe learn how to crack a smile?
Sydney’s parents: Will they get divorced? Seriously??? Who cares??? The status of their marriage was a major focus, and it felt so out of place. The time spent harping over this couple could have been better spent on something, ANYTHING else.
The story ends on a cliffhanger with Sydney in danger, but in keeping with the rest of The Fiery Heart, there wasn’t anything particularly interesting about it. The danger seems like it will be easily averted, and it does not seem serious enough to cause me to worry about Sydney’s safety. It also does nothing to build anticipation for the next book.
I’m going to view The Fiery Heart as a minor misstep for Mead, and I expect her to be back in fighting form (and to get Sydney back in fighting form) for the next book.