Sunday, June 27, 2010

Arson by Estevan Vega

Title: Arson
Author: Estevan Vega
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Paperback, 318 pages
Date Published: May 4, 2010

Description (Taken from Goodreads)

Before now, three things were true: he both loved and despised his grandmother; his life was going nowhere; and he was alone. But when a strange girl-who feels more normal behind a mask than inside her own skin-moves in next door, Arson hopes to find something he's never had: purpose. Using what he fears the most about himself, Arson must face his consuming past and confront the nightmare that is present as he walks the fine line between
boy and monster. Dark, moody, and breathtakingly relevant, Arson, the chilling chronicle of an isolated boy with unimaginable ability, is sure to ignite the hearts and minds of a new generation. 
Arson Gable can start fires with his mind. He holds this unique power? Curse? He’s not really sure what it is. He knows it sets him apart from all the other people in his small town. Arson is alone. He lives with his grandmother whom he loves, but who doesn’t seem to love him too much. He works a terrible job with terrible people, but things start to change when a strange girl with a creepy mask moves next door. Emery opens Arson’s eyes to a world that may not be all that bad, as long as she is in it.

Arson is so completely different from anything I’ve ever read. The story is unique and interesting, but it was really the writing that held my attention the entire time. Estevan Vega has such a way with words. Whole passages blew me away and the dialogue was perfect.
He swallowed hard, succumbing to the fevers of a lonely heart, unquenchable and always longing. All Arson knew, all that seemed to matter this very moment, was that he was finally getting what he thought he’d always wanted. ~ pg. 150
The way he writes Arson, the reader cannot help but care for him. I felt an instant connection with Arson and that connection was never severed.

Everything about Arson’s life is difficult and that could easily get old in a story, but it doesn’t here. Arson’s relationship with his grandmother really stood out to me because it is so violent and so hateful, yet Arson cannot do anything but love her. She can switch from a sweet, loving old woman, to a terrifying wretch in an instant.
Her gaze was inescapable, and her mouth stuttered but didn’t speak. Each wrinkle in her face had an opportunity to manipulate and condemn. ~ pg. 96
Vega has the ability to make the characters (good and bad) jump off the page at you and you will feel like you know them on a personal level.

Emery, Arson’s new neighbor, is a spitfire. Her dialogue will have you laughing one minute, then scratching your head the next. It does the same thing to Arson. There’s something about her that made me feel lighter though; like she would light up a room with her personality. The mask that she wears adorns the cover of the book. Is it creepy? Definitely. But the mask is not who Emery is and she certainly proves that point. Arson and Emery are these two outcasts, freaks, but they band together to make something special. This is not a sweet story filled with rainbows and unicorns. I’ve seen another reviewer describe it as heartbreaking and I couldn’t agree more. Arson and Emery’s relationship blossoms throughout the story, but possible love doesn’t solve all their problems and they’re still somewhat broken inside.

I didn’t quite know what to expect when I began Arson. What I found was an incredibly well-written, devastatingly heartbreaking, yet somewhat hopeful story of a boy who can spark fires and a girl who hides behind a mask. This isn’t a supernatural thriller or even an overly creepy story. It’s set against the idea of a boy who can create fire with his mind, but the backbone of the story is the emotional pull that each character creates. You will care for both Arson and Emery. Vega has a talent for creating characters that will say so little, yet convey so much and through it all, you won’t be able to tear your eyes away from the pages.

Opening line: The lake was quiet. ~ pg. 12

Favorite line: In their world, he wasn’t alone. In their world, a freak like them–like him–could become a hero. ~ pg. 42
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.


Dahlia said...

Great review! I've seen this book around, but never read what it was about. It sounds really good, and if it's even half as good as you say, it's definitely worth the read. :)

Estevan Vega said...

Hey, Nikki,

I just saw your review on Amazon. I am stoked you liked ARSON so much! Working on the sequel now, so their stories aren't finished yet. It only gets crazier. But thanks so much for the kind words. Did you win this book?

Stay in touch. I'd love to do an interview or something for your blog if you'd be interested.

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