Shannon Price’s A Thousand Fires is a breakout contemporary debut―think The Outsiders meets The Iliad―that’s perfect for fans of Courtney Summers and Veronica Roth.
10 Years. 3 Gangs. 1 Girl’s Epic Quest…
An extraordinary debut set in an alternate San Francisco and inspired by The Iliad…
Valerie Simons knows the gangs are dangerous—her little brother was shot and killed by the Boars two years ago.
Still, nothing will sway Valerie from wanting to join the elite and beautiful Herons and find her brother’s killer. It doesn’t hurt that her best friend Matthew is slated to become a Heron leader—and she’d follow him to the ends of the earth.
Then Valerie is recruited by the mysterious Stags when their volatile, provocative, and beyond charismatic leader Jax promises to help her get revenge. Torn between old love and new loyalty, Valerie races to finish the mission that got her into the gangs.
But no one truly wins the Wars.
Expected Publication: November 5th, 2019.
My Favourite Quote:
Jax takes a spot next to an aisle. Behind him, an elderly couple huddles together. There’s a group of teens hanging out on the steps in front of the columns. The girls squeal in ripped skinny jeans and oversized sweatshirts.
I hate them. I wish I was them.
Received an ARC from publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Can I just say, what a book.
When I read the synopsis, I’m so glad I grabbed onto the oh-shit handle because I was in for a ride. I think the largest part of this book that I hadn’t expected to like so very much was the subtle undercurrent of mental health issues that was portrayed so beautifully that it can’t go unnoticed. I’ve read so many books with death, grit and pain, but not everyone addresses the pain that the protagonist, or anyone really, goes through and the commonly occurring maladaptive behaviour that follows it. But in this book, everyone is showed to be suffering. The hues of their pain like the canned sprays they use. Unique, but unmissable.
The plot in itself is as the synopsis suggests, one of revenge. But it’s also one of love, betrayal, loyalty, pain and the biggest war of the characters’ life. The story picks up in San Francisco and from the word go, the protagonists are fighting for a cause bigger than themselves; scarier than something kids their age should be handling or even seeing. The rules bind the groups and are also broken as often as possible, death and pain its result. Trust is a whisper thin feather in the air that you either take the chance and grab or it escapes you forever. And for Valerie Simons, betrayal and love are both just around the corner, except she doesn’t know which turn holds what.
Jax was a strangely beautiful character. Especially because he was often like an unpredictable fuse, you don’t know when it’ll blow and when it’ll hold. But he was also the face of the Stags, the creator; his mule-headedness bringing them to where they were. His strategy, aim and goal, shaping them into something that the Boars and Herons never could be. Jax was equal parts scary and kind. I’m always wary and excited to see him in a scene, there isn’t a moment where I could predict what he does. I think he’ll lash out and he smoothes his fingers over the pain, softening the rough edges; I think he’ll be fine and he blows. But, his team respects him and dare not cross him.
The secondary characters were as beautifully drawn as the primary. They hurt too, they smile too, they soothe too, they lash too. Val is never alone with all of them around her; but neither is she immediately accepted as is to be expected from a team that has been a family for a long time, where blood and betrayal is their everyday expectation before dinner.
The events of the book are well streamed into perfectly times lulls and storms. The lulls help us feel all that the protagonist does; see, understand and live her surroundings. While the storms catch us and never lets us go.
I was prepared for a cliff-hanger and in many ways it was and wasn’t one. However, right now, all I care about is when I can find out about the next book.
Five stars, I highly recommend this book to anyone that loves a fast-paced, gritty book with a well handed heavy theme of war, love, loss and a search for redemption. Congratulations Shannon Price. I’m going to stalk you everywhere.