Review: Rouge

Modra, Isabella. Rouge. epub. Available through 2013.  Rouge

Hunter Harrison is not like other people. From the moment of her conception she has been different, marked, set apart. Hunter has special powers and abilities thanks to a combination of unique circumstances: a geologist-vulcanologist father who brought home a mysterious rock that seems to contain a life form and a doctor mother who became infected with an engineered disease known as Feucotetanus. These unfortunate circumstances lead to the sudden and violent deaths of her parents while endowing Hunter with an inner, living fire that renders her invulnerable to heat and capable of producing fire at will or when she loses control. Hunter is raised by Joshua, a coolly calculating geologist who was her father Leo’s best friend and cared for Hunter’s mother, Liz, after Leo’s was killed. Liz died in childbirth, begging Joshua to care for and protect her child, and Joshua has devoted his life to carry out that promise.

Shortly after Hunter turns eighteen, she loses her temper during an argument with Joshua. As her temper rages, Hunter feels a fire rising and burning within her, and suddenly, the kitchen stove behind Joshua explodes in a fireball. Joshua realizes he must tell Hunter the truth about herself. He reveals the fiery circumstances of her conception, birth, and her very being, explaining that her father died because one of the mysterious rocks he brought home from a volcano has broken open, releasing a lava-like creature that started the fire that killed her father and melded with the Feucotetanus in her mother’s blood. The combination made Liz impervious to fire and also united with the newly-formed embryo Liz had conceived to make Hunter impervious to fire like her mother but also give her special powers over fire. He explains that they must work together to master her powers and keep them secret from others.

Hunter meets a classmate, Eli, at a party and for the first time finds someone who likes her for herself. As she grows closer to Eli, she finds herself more and more at odds with Joshua and more determined to make her own choices about her life and her powers. She realizes her abilities can be both a curse and a gift, depending upon how she chooses to use them. An explosion in a school science lab presents Hunter with a life and death situation which alters the course of her life forever.

This first novel offers an original concept that will appeal to superhero and comic fans. Give a beautiful young heroine a nice but normal boyfriend; an over-protective, slightly maniacal guardian; and fire abilities that put Smaug to shame, and you have sure-fire teen appeal. The manuscript does, however, contain several mechanical errors that should be corrected by a good editor before the book appears in print. Sex scenes, although not graphic, make this book better suited to high school collections rather than middle school.

This novel was provided in digital format by the author in exchange for an honest review.


About kstreet245

I'm a teacher librarian with Norman Public Schools and adjunct instructor for children's literature at the University of Oklahoma School of Library and Information Studies. I've been married to Ken since 1975, and we have two wonderful children, both married. We have no grandchildren, but instead are "owned" by three dachshunds. We are active members of Country Estates Baptist Church in Midwest City, OK, teaching Sunday School, playing handbells, keyboards, and percussion, and singing in the choir. I enjoy reading, crafts, travel, and nice, long naps when I can work them in!
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