Nora Roberts is, well, Nora Roberts. I don’t think there is a Romance fan out there who hasn’t at least heard about her. I believe that there is no one more deserving of such an impressive reputation as she is.
Chasing Fire has a very interesting setting. The heroine, Rowan, and the Hero, Gulliver, are both smoke jumpers, they are the firemen who parachute in the middle of a wildfire. In this case Rowan is in charge and Gull is the new rooky on the team. Yes this is a romance novel but in this story the romance takes the back seat because the core of the book is a mystery; someone is sabotaging the headquarters and then there are a series of murders, it seems that someone has grudge towards the firemen and specially towards Rowan.
Roberts has several types of heroines: the feminine girly ones, the damaged ones, and the strong ones. Rowan belongs to the latter category; she is tough, independent, strong, confident and smart, she doesn’t suffer fools and there’s no one better to have as part of your team or as a friend. I liked her a lot but I felt like I had read about her before, maybe she was called Mackensie and her book was Vision in White, or she was called Meg and her book was Northern Lights, or maybe her name was Blair and her book was Dance of the Gods, but I most definitely felt a sense of déjà vu while reading her. This didn’t deter my enjoyment of the book, but I did notice it, and I must confess that this is not the first time I notice this about her books.
Gull, on the other hand, was a bit more unique. I think he might be one of Nora’s most charming heroes. He was confident enough not to feel threatened by Rowan but also to feel attracted to her. Is great to have a strong heroine paired up with a guy who lets her shine but who also grounds her, is not afraid to speak his mind and of pissing her off. Someone who is manly, but not “crazy macho alpha male you are mine I must possess you” manly, just an “I am a strong confident male but I don’t want to own you” manly.
There’s also a secondary love story involving Rowan’s father, and I think that I enjoyed that one more than the main one. The secondary characters were a blast. This book has a strong cast of characters; they were fleshed out, had unique personalities and I liked them all. This is not the norm in Roberts’ books (the standalone ones at least), usually on her standalone novels the secondary characters aren’t as many or as interesting, in this case the firehouse setting was perfect for that.
The mystery was very predictable, I think Roberts dropped the ball there. I don’t usually guess who the bad guy is on her books, but in this one I saw it coming almost from the first chapter.
The whole setting of the book also felt familiar, I read a review that called Nora formulaic and I have to agree with it, she does it very good, her prose is brilliant, but there are a lot of common things between her books, and I think that if she wasn’t such an incredible storyteller this would lessen the quality of her books.
The book is full details about smoke jumpers and wildfires, is not preachy but it makes a statement about how bad those fires are, and how brave the men and women who put them down are, and how dangerous and hard is. Roberts also did her homework; you can see that she put a lot of effort into researching about firefighters. There are a lot of details, some of them might be confusing because she drops names and terminology and doesn’t really explain it, but that didn’t bother me much.
Now, my overall impression of the book is that it was flawlessly written, had an interesting theme, a sweet love story and engaging characters. The problem was that it was also boring. To be honest the first part of the book was interesting and the final chapters were engrossing, I cried at the end, and was glued to my seat, but that was only during the last three chapters. The rest of it was just plain, the romance lacked a bit of spice and drama, the plot and mystery dragged a lot in the middle, and I think maybe a shorter book would have been better.
As a whole I liked it -it wasn’t my favorite book- but I liked it. I don’t think I will be re-reading it though, and I would recommend it only if you are already familiar with Nora Roberts, if not, maybe you should start with another books and save this one for latter.
Review by Brie
The number-one New York Times-bestselling author delves into the world of elite firefighters who thrive on danger and adrenaline-men and women who wouldn't know how to live life if it wasn't on the edge.
There's little as thrilling as firefighting-at least to Rowan Tripp. The Missoula smoke jumpers are in Rowan's blood: her father is a legend. She's been fighting fires since her eighteenth birthday. At this point, returning to the wilds of Montana for the season feels like coming home-even with reminders of the partner she lost last season still lingering.
Fortunately, this year's rookie crop is one of the strongest ever-and Gulliver Curry's one of the best. He's also a walking contradiction, a hotshot firefighter with a big vocabulary and a winter job at a kids' arcade.
Everything is thrown off balance when a dark presence lashes out against Rowan, looking to blame someone for last year's tragedy. Rowan knows she can't complicate things with Gull-any distractions in the air or on the ground could mean the end-but if she doesn't find someone she can lean on, she may not make it through the summer. . . .
Putnam Adult. April 12, 2011.