Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire that laid waste to civilization and nature. Though the radiation fallout has ended, for some unknowable reason every person is born with a twin. Of each pair one is an Alpha - physically perfect in every way - and the other an Omega burdened with deformity, small or large.
With the Council ruling an apartheid-like society, Omegas are branded and ostracized while the Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: Whenever one twin dies, so does the other. Cass is a rare Omega, one burdened with psychic foresight. While her twin, Zach, gains power on the Alpha Council, she dares to dream the most dangerous dream of all: equality. For daring to envision a world in which Alphas and Omegas live side by side as equals, both the Council and the Resistance have her in their sights.
So much potential, yet this book fell flat.
Now, I’m writing this review for myself as much as anyone because I want to figure out where everything went wrong.
Nothing particularly sticks out to me as the reason that I gave The Fire Sermon only 2 stars – there wasn’t anything which immediately put me off like insta-love or infodumps etc. Quite the opposite really, I found there were things which could have pulled me into the story – the thing is they didn’t.
Everything was so… impossibly… slow… that whenever something of interest happened it was dragged out until it felt unimportant and I lost the initial spark of hope that the story would pick up. So much of it was spent running from one place to another without any climax. From a critic’s point of view I could admire Francesca Haig’s writing, but as someone looking for a good read; not so much. To be honest I was bored. My attention kept drifting to the most menial things and my eyes would roam over words but skip more.
Reading became a chore and all I wanted to do was finish. Books don’t have to contribute on a major scale to your life for them to be good; they could simply take you away from it for a few hours or be an enjoyable read. The Fire Sermon did none of these things for me.
The concept (learned through the synopsis) drew me in and it was reading about it that didn’t hold. It also didn’t help that the characters were very one-dimensional with unimpressive arcs that felt unnatural. If some of the characters didn’t exist, there would have been very little difference to everything as a whole (this includes one of the main protagonists, Kip, whose name I had to look up even though I finished the book less than a day ago).
In the end, I have to come back to my original point: there was potential here for a mind-blowing story but alas it was not.
“A history written in ashes, in bones. Before the blast, they say there'd been sermons about fire, about the end of the world. The fire itself gave the last sermon; after that there were no more.”