Publication Date: Available Now from Quartet
Source: Review Copy
Fire Child’s dark heroine is the young Tessa who from the age of 12 uses the power of her smile to seduce men, with damaging and dramatic consequences. The novel interplays her chilling and funny diaries with those of Martin Sherman, a dangerous young man who likes to play with fire. We know they will meet and all hell (possibly literally) will break loose. Meanwhile he stacks shelves at a supermarket, she works at a nearby estate agent’s. Both are hiding, leading deliberately dull lives in north London, afraid of what they have already done and what they are capable of. But when they meet, everything changes. Their union is devastating.
I loved Fire Child – it is just the kind of tense, beautiful writing that I’m a fan of and the two main characters here are both chilling and beautifully drawn.
It is a slow burn (yes I said that) as we meet Tessa and Martin – Martin is almost scientific in his lack of passion that is yet still passionate whilst Tessa, profound and insular, uses her feminine wiles from a very young age, experimenting and learning how to achieve what she desires in the moment.
The pair are extraordinarily fascinating as separate individuals, but as Sally Emerson slowly draws them together, the tension is palpable – the plotting is clever and all about the underneath of things, you just know that the pair will spark off each other (yes I did that too) and cause catastrophe. It is like watching a car crash unfold in slow motion, one that you can do nothing about, nor can you look away.
Fire Child is kind of beautiful if in a very traumatic way – the finale is stunning and takes you out of the comfort zone, this being a re release, it just proves that those girls have been around for a long long time. Tessa is a remarkable and unforgettable character, this is a twisted love story with bite and I can’t do anything less than highly recommend it.
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