Anyway, here is my review of Chasing Fire! A week late, but at least, I've written it :) Hopefully, there'll be more to come this week! Enjoy!
Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts
published by Putnam in April 2011
Little else in life is as dangerous as fire jumping. Flying past towering pillars of smoke, parachuting down to the edge of an all-consuming blaze, shoveling and sawing for hours upon hours, days at a time, all to hold the line and push back against the raw power of Mother Nature.Genre: Contemporary romance, Romantic suspense
But there's also little else as thrilling - at least to Rowan Tripp. The Missoula smoke jumpers are one of the most exclusive fire-fighting squads in the nation, and the job is in Rowan's blood: her father is a legend in the field. 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 in the air.
Fortunately, this year's rookie crop is among 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 kid's arcade. He came to Missoula to follow in the footsteps of Lucas "Iron Man" Tripp, yet he's instantly more fascinated by his hero's daughter. Rowan, as a rule, doesn't hook up with other smoke jumpers, but Gull is convinced he can change her mind. And damn if he doesn't make a good case to be an exception to the rule.
Everything is thrown off balance, though, when a dark presence lashes out against Rowan, looking to blame someone for last year's tragedy. Rowan knows she can't complicated things with Gull - any distractions in the air or on the ground could be lethal. But if she doesn't find someone she can lean on when the heat gets intense, her life may go down in flames.
The Story: Rowan Tripp is the heroine of Chasing Fire. With her mother walking out when Rowan was still a baby, it's only natural that she has a very close relationship with her father, Lucas "Iron Man" Tripp, whose been her life pillar. Following into his footsteps just seemed the thing to do and as a result, Rowan has been jumping since her 18th birthday and is one of the most experienced smoke jumper there is. However, this new season is different. Everyone is still reeling from last year's tragedy when one of theirs died in the fire; especially Rowan as it was her partner for that jump... but life goes on, fires have to be put out and the new crop of rookies to train.
Gulliver Curry has been a hotshot firefighter for a number of years in California. However, his ultimate goal is to become a smoke jumper like the Iron Man Tripp and that's why he's come to Montana. Meeting his ideal woman in Rowan is just a bonus. Although Rowan has a rule about not hooking up with people she works with, that'll only mean Gull will have to use his charms and convince her he's worth breaking the rule for.
As the season advances, the relationship between Rowan and Gull deepens. Unfortunately, this season, Rowan and Gull, the whole team and community have more than the fires to deal with: murders, sabotages and accidents... The questions are who is being this and why?
My Opinion: LOL, I guess I could have skipped the synopsis, since it's not offering much more than the blurb ^_^; What's great about Nora Roberts is picking up one of her books, you know what to expect: great characters and interactions/dynamics, excellent writing, a nice romance, good research and an interesting plot. Personalities, details and setting change, but the recipe is the same because it works. The only question you got to ask is "how much will I enjoy this?" For me, I've found that as long as I don't binge on Ms Roberts books, her books work for me and Chasing Fire was no exception :)
I enjoyed Chasing Fire. I think what made this book for me were the characters, especially the H/H. I thought Rowan was unusual, different. She's tough, very straightforward and has a temper :P And I'm not talking about grumpy temper, but more like she doesn't let people walk over her and really, good for her :) That scene where she discovers what Dolly has done and goes after her? I thought it was great LOL. I also really liked her relationship with her father - I love daddy's girl, perhaps because I'm one - and really, it's so natural for Rowan and Lucas since they were each other's life center. I thought that Rowan's reaction to Lucas meeting someone, especially since it was the first time, was very realistic and very well handled. While I liked Rowan, I loved Gull!! LOL. He was just such a great guy - charming, nice and patient. The way he wooed Rowan - *swoon* LOL. He really was great and I thought balanced, complemented Rowan very well. It was just great to see the two of them interact and Gull making Rowan realizes thing in his fun, casual way. They made for a very nice romance, in my opinion.
Before getting my hands on Chasing Fire, I looked for some reviews and found out that some people thought there were too much material about smoke jumpers. I do agree that sometimes, Ms Roberts get carried away with her research; however, in this case, it didn't bother me at all. I felt the amount of details and scenes set the atmosphere and the pacing really well for Chasing Fire. I didn't really know much about smoke jumpers before this book, but from reading it, I know that the season is really intense, tiring, non-stop and thrilling... and I felt Ms Roberts did a great job at conveying this to the readers by the amount of research she included in the storyline. Yes at times, I would have liked to know what some of the abbreviations/acronyms meant ^_^; But like I said, it didn't really bother me. Though I do think it took away from other aspects of the book a little such as the secondary characters. Oh, we are introduced to a colorful cast - I especially liked Dobie LOL - , but they didn't seem to be as well developed as they usually are. I also felt the relationship between Lucas and Ella was a bit rushed or at least, didn't get too much screen time, but overall it still worked well in the story.
As for the overall storyline, the intrigue, it was okay. Ms Roberts makes it works. Unfortunately, I have the very bad habit of reading the ending ^_^; So I can never guess who the culprit is, because I already know... However, I think that in the end, everything was tied up well and made sense.
My Grade: B. All in all, I think that once again, Ms Roberts delivered a solid book and I'm a happy camper :) If I had to rank Chasing Fire, I'd say that I enjoyed it more than Black Hills, but it wasn't as good as The Search :)