Wednesday, November 7, 2012

{Review} The Creative Fire by Brenda Cooper

Nothing can match the power of a single voice. . . 

Ruby Martin expects to spend her days repairing robots while avoiding the dangerous peacekeeping forces that roam the corridors of the generation ship the Creative Fire. The social structure of the ship is rigidly divided, with Ruby and her friends on the bottom. Then a ship-wide accident gives Ruby a chance to fight for the freedom she craves. Her enemies are numerous, well armed, and knowledgeable. Her weapons are a fabulous voice, a quick mind, and a deep stubbornness. Complicating it all—an unreliable AI and an enigmatic man she met—and kissed—exactly once—who may hold the key to her success. If Ruby can't transform from a rebellious teen to the leader of a revolution, she and all her friends will lose all say in their future.
Like the historical Evita Peron, Ruby rises from the dregs of society to hold incredible popularity and power. Her story is about love and lust and need and a thirst for knowledge and influence so deep that it burns.
The Creative Fire
Ruby's Song #1
Brenda Cooper
Pub Date: 11/2012
Publisher: Pyr

The Creative Fire is a phenomenal story that completely blew my mind. Between the theme of revolution, the memorable heroine and the suspenseful plot, Brenda Cooper has become one of my favorite authors. This was my first time experiencing her writing so it was a bit unpredictable, but even so it constantly headed in a direction I appreciated.

The Creative Fire is Ruby's story of fighting for freedom with her voice and passion for uniting all the people aboard the space ship, The Creative Fire. Separated by class, the grays are the lowest and enforced by the red and, seldom seen by grays, blue peacekeepers. Ruby is not alone in her quest as there were rebels who came before her and those who work secretly. The third person perspective really works for this story because the writing stays centered on Ruby while opening up to another character: Onor, one of Ruby's best friends. It was so exciting to see the two characters start off on the same plot line, then one placed on a subplot that converged with the main plot line by the end of the novel. Writing two different methods of revolution was an ingenious move for Cooper!

Ruby's efforts to gain unity for all colors was a naturally building process. It didn't happen over night and there were mishaps along the way. I wouldn't say that there were many shocking plot twists, but the progression of the story was weighed with suspense. The danger of not knowing who could be affected by Ruby's rebellion or where the commanding power on The Creative Fire actually lies, will truly keep readers on their toes. You'll never know what result will come about or how it will affect the plot until it happens. The story is sectioned into three parts that follow Ruby's progression from a gray with no knowledge of all the ship's history to a woman with a dream that may come to fruition.

Another element that drew me into the story was Cooper's characterization style. Ruby is an extremely compelling character with well-stated ideals and goals and she wasn't a perfect character. Based on the perception of characters that surrounded her, she was arrogant, too stubborn for her own good, and sometimes too wrapped up in her own needs. I loved getting a clear picture of how some of the secondary characters might have felt about Ruby, and that it wasn't so overpowering that I couldn't come up with my own observations or see why those secondary characters weren't always on Team Ruby. It's true I believed Ruby to be naive with childish perceptions, but she proved herself to be resourceful, brave, and fueled by an admirable thirst for knowledge. While I thought that Ruby was a well-developed character with layers and obvious growth, I didn't get the same impression from her love interests or the other character with a starring perspective, Onor. Onor seemed like a single, smooth facet that didn't give away much with words. I pictured his facial expressions and body language as the real zinger for reading his thoughts, but I wanted to see him actually speak his thoughts to others. I realize that he hasn't come into his own person yet, but he didn't exhibit too many qualities that drew me to wanting to know more about him and dive inside his head for more exploration. 

The love interests were too rushed into that particular role to completely satisfy me. The Creative Fire is very science-fiction oriented so the romance was more like a quick break from any hard-hitting facts. The plot and perception from other characters painted a very shallow picture of the men Ruby became attracted to. I saw their importance to the plot, but not much else before an attraction with Ruby was established. Ruby didn't show interest in someone other than Fox until the near end, so I felt that her instant attraction to other men was not elaborate enough. I liked that the men that drew Ruby were anywhere from a few years older two almost twice her age. It's not something seen too often in the books I read, and I always appreciate the concept since it's so rare. I do hope that the following novels of the series give Ruby a chance to show readers more of how she sees her love interests, and dig deeper into those secondary characters with big roles in the plot.

Brenda Cooper gave me more than I hoped for in The Creative Fire. It will absolutely be considered a novel to be read over and over again, whether to capture moments possibly missed during the first read, or to again experience the hope that Ruby instills her followers. I have a grand feeling that the Ruby's Song series will continue to impress me and I'm dying to jump back into Ruby's story!

*Book provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*

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