Book Reviews

[Book Review] Fire Dancer by Catherine Jones Payne

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes


ABOUT: Fire is a dangerous magic.

Sixteen-year-old Kyla is preparing for the test of her life: a high-stakes dance competition to win the role of principal dancer in the fire festival’s elite troupe. When she’s not sneaking off into the woods to practice forbidden magic, that is. Among her people, only the men are entrusted with the mysteries of magecraft. But Kyla’s been learning in secret for ten years, and she’s never backed down from a challenge.

As danger ignites, Kyla must maintain a tight control on her magic. For more than her ambition is in peril. She must stay a step ahead of her enemies—a backstabbing dancer, a repressive council, and a crazed arsonist. If she can’t withstand the inferno, the people she loves most will die.


My Review:
I found Fire Dancer to be a refreshing YA Fantasy story. The story felt like a slice-of-life tale and the fantasy aspect was pushed to the background, allowing the characters to shine more in the foreground. I could actually put myself in each characters’ shoes. For me, this made Fire Dancer a joy to read.

Four key things made me want to pick up this book. One, the cover is beautiful. The woman is gracefully admits a dance surrounded by magic and what I now know to be fireflies. Two, fire elemental magic is a favorite of mine next to earth magic. Three, the word “dancer.” I love watching choreographers and professional dancers on YouTube The fact that there would be dancers or dancing boosted my interest. And, four, the synopsis – this was my kind of story and it did not disappoint.

I related so much to Kyla because I auditioned for parts musical theater and orchestra. I understand the nerves and self-doubt. The whirlwind of butterflies in the stomach. Despite that she is determined to succeed. Another thing likable about Kyla is her desire to make things better for women in her clan, to bridge the gap of the strict gender inequality. She is a main character readers will love.

I like that the romance aspect is not the sole focus. I like that we’re not starting a the beginning of Kyla and Nolan’s relationship but are approaching the pinnacle of will-they-won’t-they about being together. Even then it’s slow, lovely romance to see.

I wish I hadn’t taken so long to get towards reading this book because it was fantastic. There’s so much to love about this story and the anticipation for the next book is extremely high. Fire Dancer is a must-read that I’m glad to have on my ebook shelf.

3 replies on “[Book Review] Fire Dancer by Catherine Jones Payne”

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