31 Oct '12

A Vicky Review – Fire on the Island by J. K. Hogan (4 stars)

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“She who wields the mark is the barrier between man and monster. She is the daughter of gods, the mother of man, protector of all. Vigilati Usque Ad Mortem”

All Isla Macallen wanted was a simple existence on her little Scottish island, free from her mother’s insanity and the prying eyes of neighbours. What she got was embroiled in a war for the souls of mankind. A war of good versus evil, of witches versus demons, and Isla learns that she alone can end it.

Dr. Jeremiah Rousseau was a self-proclaimed nomad, travelling the world researching paranormal phenomena. He doesn’t expect his research to lead him to Scotland, and to the woman who will turn his world upside down.

Together with a facetious shapeshifting animal spirit guide, Jeremiah and Isla discover that she is part of an ancient bloodline bred to protect the gateways between the human world and the spirit world, to keep evil demons from destroying them. They must find the key to defeating Alastore, the demon king, and closing the gate before Samhain, when the veil between the worlds is lifted. As the war for their souls wages around them, Isla and Jeremiah will risk it all for love—a love neither had ever thought possible.

I’ll be honest with you; I normally avoid reading books that are based in Britain. I know it might sound strange but I think it’s because I like to escape into the story and by the setting being in another country (or world) this makes it easier for me as I don’t really know what it would be like and my imagination can take over. So when I read the blurb for Fire on the Island I was a little dubious about whether I would really enjoy the story but once I started reading I quickly realised that I had nothing to worry about.
It was really obvious to me that Isla has a core of steel but is easily hurt by the actions of the locals on the island. She has retreated to her home and limits her contact with the locals as much as possible, spending her time with the few people she can trust and working with tourists. At first I thought that she would struggle with the appearance of her powers but she appears to take it all in her stride, pretty much like everything else in her life. Even before she realises that she is a witch she understands that she can’t change people’s perception of her and that they are always going to treat her unfairly because of their suspicions even when they were unfounded. In some ways I could really connect with Isla, especially when she draws into herself to be able to deal with something.
At first I thought that Jeremiah had an ulterior motive but as the story progressed it became clear that that wasn’t the case. He is intrigued by all things paranormal and his developing relationship with Isla wasn’t planned. If anything his experience with the paranormal probably helped him to understand and deal with the various situations they found themselves in. He never pressured her to tell anybody about her powers but logically explained his reasons for telling her friends which showed to m that he understood Isla and the small things that made her tick. He wanted to protect her but also understood that in some instances there wasn’t anything more he could do than just be there to support her. 
I loved Callum and Jack; they were a fantastic couple that are fiercely protective of Isla. I suppose they had almost taken her under their protection and when Jeremiah came along they wanted to make sure that he wasn’t going to hurt her. Once they realised they could trust him it was like he was instantly drawn into the fold of their makeshift family. The easy friendships and the understanding really strengthened the story for me and made it that much more enjoyable and the secrets they each seemed to have kept me intrigued.
I would definitely recommend Fire on the Island, it’s got everything you could want – mystery, secrets, a lot of the paranormal and friends and lovers that will do anything to keep each other safe.

Nix

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