Review Blog

Aug 28 2012

Fire in the Sea by Myke Bartlett

cover image

Text, 2012. ISBN 9781921922749.
(Age 13+) Recommended. Text Prizewinner. While swimming, something touched Sadie. 'Something fast and sleek, but not a shark. Something with arms and legs.' Sadie is bored with life in Perth. Everything seems the same and she is even prepared to listen to her cousin reading her Tarot cards to relieve the monotony. But then something comes out of the sea and her life becomes turmoil. An elderly man is attacked, Sadie is left inheriting his old house and a strange young man called Jake turns up. Then there is a horned beast roaming the streets. Caught in the middle of an ancient feud, Sadie and Jake race to find the stolen relic that could save or destroy the world.
A fascinating combination of real life and ancient myth, Fire in the sea is a stunning debut for Myke Bartlett. The Perth setting, with its hot beaches and suburban life, makes a contrast to the conflict of ancient gods and beasts, which I found really fascinating. The old story of Atlantis has always fascinated me, and its addition here added to atmosphere.
Another thing I really liked was the authenticity of the characters and their dialogue. Sadie is a strong girl who is prepared to fight for what she believes. Jake is dark and haunted and the mystery surrounding what he is and what he is capable of kept me reading to the end. In particular I liked the character of Tom, Sadie's stalwart friend who is prepared to do anything to keep her safe, even though he can see that she is attracted to Jake.
For readers who love action and suspense, there are plenty of thrills as the horned beast bellows its anger and attacks in a frenzy and the teens race to find the relic before a tsunami drowns Perth.
People who enjoy books that have ancient mythology as a background will revel in this story. It would also make an interesting Literature Circle book and could lead to readers researching the stories of the ancient gods.
Pat Pledger

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