Verdict: HOW TO SET THE WORLD ON FIRE is a fantasy story with imagination, heart, and a beautiful setting.
Kase lives in a kingdom ruled by a Triple Crown, whose elite are divided into wizards, warriors, and scholars. He wants badly to be a warrior like his hero grandfather, Roman Garrick, and has therefore been sent to school at the warrior’s castle of the Academy, where his sister Cali is studying to be a scholar. While there, he meets an odd but lovely wizard named Lenia, and a brilliant but awkward scholar named Talen. Together, they form a close friendship, and decide to enter the school’s Quest Series, a team competition testing creativity, skill, and problem-solving, despite their relative youth and different backgrounds. But can they win, despite the devious manipulations of Cali’s nasty ex-boyfriend Niveous?
HOW TO SET THE WORLD ON FIRE is a warmhearted tale of friendship and cooperation, with a solid ethical foundation and a charming set of main characters. The world-building is intelligent and creative, and presented, as it should be, as part of the action rather than revealed in tedious explanations. In places, it almost reads as if it were a Dungeons & Dragons game set to paper- but a well-played and reasonably entertaining one. The story plausibly takes us to a wide range of areas within Kase’s world, allowing the reader to see and explore its beauties. However, this is primarily for the older elementary-aged set – for the teenager or young adult used to more complex fantasy novels, this book may feel a bit too simplistically easy. There are moments of danger, but mostly our heroes come through them, well, heroically, without any serious failures or enough dramatic conflicts to make the story more interesting. None of the participants seem to have to struggle with their abilities- all are capable and expert, even sometimes multi-talented, from the beginning. The relationships among the team members are generally warm and friendly, mutually supportive, without any major clashes or conflicts- this is pleasant to read, but not as interesting as it might be. A little more doubt, dramatic tension, perhaps even a serious drawback to or flaw in the characters’ abilities, might make the story much more complex and captivating.
HOW TO SET THE WORLD ON FIRE is a fantasy story with imagination, heart, and a beautiful setting.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader