Pyromancist by Charmaine Pauls is one of those odd-birds that I find it very difficult to review. While there are many 5-star reviews out there for the book, I find it difficult to agree. Ms. Pauls is an interesting woman, without a doubt, who has enjoyed wide-ranging travels and homes, from her birthplace in Bloemfontein, South Africa to university in Potchestroom, then life in France. Today, she lives and writes in Chile. As her author description says, “Their household is a linguistic mélange of Afrikaans, English, French and Spanish.”
And here, I believe, is where my difficulty with the book lies. Others may not agree, but I found the language very stilted and over-descriptive. In my experience, this is common in books that were written in one language and translated to another – especially when books are written in a Germanic based language and translated to a Romantic Language, or vice versa. It requires a deft hand to translate the text in such a ways as to assure smooth flow. I found the staccato delivery distracting, and often found myself “skimming” the text, moving through the book and catching sentences here and there. I couldn’t really ‘lock-in’ to the storyline.
Then, there are the names. I actually thought, when I picked up the book, that this was a lesbian-oriented book. “Josselin” is a very odd, very rare name (ranked on the 38,782nd position of the most used names) and is, according to my research, given almost solely to female children. Clelia, from the Greek Kleio, is nearly as rare, and I have no idea how it is pronounced (Klee-leeah?). These issues were very distracting as was the consistent use of French.
Now that I cleared that up, what I gathered from the story was hit-and-miss for me. The main characters seemed very childish – especially when Clelia kept calling Josselin by a ‘pet name’ he found absolutely irritating. The story itself, as a paranormal romance, was fairly standard. Boy and girl grow up together, boy leaves, boy comes home, girl discovers powers, etc. The characters had rather unique abilities, and Clelia did grow as a character, which is something many female characters in paranormal romance often don’t do. I hate weak, whiny females in my reading, and though Clelia starts out weak, she does show growth.
Overall? Three stars.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review back in April. I kept picking it up, reading a few pages, and putting it back down again, so it didn’t get finished until today, when I made myself pick it up and read all the way through. The book is too ‘hot’ for a young audience, but the writing was young, so I wasn’t really sure what market the writer was going for. You may love it – if so, good for you! If you enjoyed my review please click Amazon Reviews and click “Like” on Amazon. It helps the authors by encouraging others to read my reviews. Thank you!