Fire Girl, Forest Boy by Chloe Daykin
|Fire Girl, Forest Boy by Chloe Daykin|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Alex Mitchell|
|Summary: From the author of Fish Boy and The Boy Who Hit Play comes a fast-paced and gripping story of lies, guilt and environmentalism set in the depths of the Peruvian rainforest.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: July 2019|
|Publisher: Faber & Faber|
Maya has to escape. She's on the run in a country she doesn't know and has no idea who to trust. Raul is escaping too - travelling back to his home where a terrible tragedy happened, ready to stir up trouble. When their paths collide in the middle of the jungle, the sparks begin to fly. As modern world corruption meets the magic and legends of ancient times, can Maya draw on her hidden light to find the way through to the truth?
The first of these is Maya, a Glasgow native who is in Peru with her father, a scientist with some rather weird beliefs, who ends up on the run after her father is seemingly kidnapped. She has the dual gifts of a photographic memory and the ability to command little balls of fire (hence, 'Fire Girl'). Then we have Raul, a Peruvian native travelling back to his old village in the heart of the Peruvian rainforest. They provide a rather nice contrast to each other – where Maya is quite cold and distrustful (though, given what she's gone through this is hardly unjustified), Raul is very friendly and open. They are aided by Matias, Raul's blood-brother who lives in a treehouse out in the rainforest.
The book also has quite an interesting structure. It doesn't really have chapters so much as changes in viewpoint, with the narration bouncing between Maya and Raul's point of view, most of which are only a few pages long. The paragraphs are also quite short, sometimes only a sentence long, thereby offering little snapshots of the scenery. This adds to the pacing of the book and makes it a lot more intense read.
There is quite a strong theme of environmentalism running throughout the book. The main antagonists are a company called Axius international, who are carrying out illegal logging operations in the Peruvian rainforest, as well as cutting corners on things like safety and proper procedure (such as forcefully relocating villagers in potential logging sites and manipulating people into supporting them). Not only that, but the narration takes a decidedly different turn depending on the environment. For instance, while in the cities and towns, Raul's narration becomes quite bitter and cynical, whereas in the rainforest his narration becomes calmer and more relaxed. While the message is a little heavy-handed at times, it is nonetheless an important one.
Overall, this is a gripping, fast-paced tale of lies, treachery and environmentalism set against the backdrop of the Peruvian Rainforest.
Fish Boy – Chloe Daykin's debut novel, with a similar theme of communing with nature despite troubled times.
The Last Wild by Piers Torday – a slightly more apocalyptic tale of nature under threat and a young child's quest to stop it.
You can read more book reviews or buy Fire Girl, Forest Boy by Chloe Daykin at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Fire Girl, Forest Boy by Chloe Daykin at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.