The Flame in the Mist by Kit Grindstaff
Published: April 9th 2013 by Delacorte Press
Format/Source: Audio CD borrowed from Cover2Cover BlogGenre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Fiery-headed Jemma Agromond is not who she thinks she is, and when the secrets and lies behind her life at mist-shrouded Agromond Castle begin to unravel, she finds herself in a chilling race for her life. Ghosts and misfits, a stone and crystals, a mysterious book, an ancient prophecy—all these reveal the truth about Jemma’s past and a destiny far greater and more dangerous than she could have imagined in her wildest fantasies. With her telepathic golden rats, Noodle and Pie, and her trusted friend, Digby, Jemma navigates increasingly dark forces, as helpers both seen and unseen, gather. But in the end, it is her own powers that she must bring to light, for only she has the key to defeating the evil ones and fulfilling the prophecy that will bring back the sun and restore peace in Anglavia.
So I’m going to start this review by saying, I apologize if it’s lacking some of the details that I might normally put in a review. I was severely delayed in writing this (and severely for me is like 2 weeks). It gave me some time to think about it though.
The Flame in the Mist is at its core, a true fantasy that reminds me of those stories I read when I was younger. There is a very clear distinction between good and evil. Basically, this isn’t the kind of fantasy for those people who crave that whole ambiguity of the blurred lines of good and evil as seen in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Of course, there is a huge difference between intended audience between these two, but it’s the only readily available example I have.
This was a complicated story for me. I found myself resenting listening to it in my car. I would sigh and think, ‘Well, I need to make progress on this book so I guess I should listen to it.’ I found on more occasions than not being worn out by the story and not really wanting to know what happened next. I began to feel as weary as Jemma as she goes on her journey. I’ve read in other people’s thoughts about the story that it was a problem with pacing…and I completely agree. The beginning was interesting, then the first third seemed to go on forever, then the second third was a little faster but still stretched, and then the last third raced. So while I was weary of the story through most of it, by the end I found myself thinking, ‘ah, great story!’ I almost had to remind myself that I basically had to force myself to get to that point.
My last critique is that Jemma did not act like a 13 year old. I can chalk up some of that to the environment she’s grown up in, but certainly not all of it.
Okay, so now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I did actually enjoy the story. Noodle and Pie, Jemma’s golden rats, were super cute. Digby is an amazing character and I wished there was more of a chance to see how his relationship with Jemma evolves. It was a story that ends in a way that is completely satisfying with very little left hanging.
It’s definitely a middle grade book, but parents should probably be aware of some of the disturbing dungeon scenes. It’s nothing that if I had a kid I’d stop the reading (I’m sure I read entirely worse when I was that age) but sensitive children could be scared.
My rating: 3/5