Wall of Fire

Young Adult - Sci-Fi
251 Pages
Reviewed on 03/16/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers' Favorite

A teenage girl living in a post-apocalyptic world inadvertently finds herself competing in a contest for the right to live in a secure environment in the dystopian novel Wall of Fire (Wall of Fire Series: Book 1) by Melanie Tays. With a deadly pandemic devastating the world, twelve domes are set up to protect the unaffected citizens. The dome-city Emery lives in is divided into three portions, the Flame, the Smoke, and the Ash. Emery and her family live in the Smoke, and even though life is tough and challenging, they are protected from the virus. Now that she is seventeen, Emery can compete in the Burning to have the chance to live in the Flame, a more hospitable environment, but the risk of losing and being exiled to the Ash is too great. However, when Emery sneaks beyond the Flame to acquire the only means for her brother's survival, she is caught and forced to compete in the Burning. Can Emery win a place in the Flame? Or will she be banished to the Ash?

Wall of Fire (Wall of Fire Series: Book 1) by Melanie Tays is an exciting post-apocalyptic novel set in a dystopian world. Dramatic and intense, the story and setting are reminiscent of Suzanne Collin's novel and the 2012 film, The Hunger Games. Skillfully written, the story flows at a brisk pace, the intensity, and anticipation building a compelling story arc that snowballs to an unexpected and electrifying conclusion. With engaging characters and a unique setting, I was captivated from the first page until the last. This book is the first in a spectacular series, and I am eagerly looking forward to reading the sequels. It is a riveting post-apocalyptic novel, and I highly recommend it to everyone from twelve years old on up who enjoys speculative fiction and dystopian stories.

Pikasho Deka

Fans of young adult dystopian novels such as The Hunger Games are in for a treat as Melanie Tays's Wall of Fire will mesmerize lovers of the genre. The City is divided into two parts. The poor people are forced to live alongside the perimeter in an area named Smoke, with the rich and privileged ruling them from the central area, Flame. Teenager Emery Kennish smuggles herself into Flame to gain access to Curosine in order to save her little brother but inadvertently finds herself joining the trials of the Burning. Things get further complicated when Emery is blackmailed by Chief Enforcer Terrance Enbery into getting information from her old acquaintance Eason Crandell.

A riveting tale of resistance, romance, and betrayal, at times Wall of Fire feels like an odd combination of The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner while still somehow maintaining its own unique identity. Melanie Tays's first entry in the Wall of Fire series is a blistering rollercoaster ride from start to finish. With sympathetic characters, fast-paced plotting, and a highly imaginative dystopian setting, Wall of Fire felt like a breeze to read. The clever twists in the plot always keep the narrative engaging, and although it ends on a cliffhanger, the story is perfectly set up to continue in the sequels. Wall of Fire is one of the best young adult novels I've read this year, and I would highly recommend it to fans of dystopian novels.

K.C. Finn

Wall of Fire is a work of fiction in the dystopian, action, and adventure sub-genres, and was penned by author Melanie Tays. The work is intended for young adult and adult reading audiences and contains some moderate references to violence that are consistent with the action of the world. Our protagonist is Emery, a young woman living in a divisive dystopia where the titular Wall of Fire protects her half of the city from the prospect of a deadly pandemic. But when her brother falls ill, Emery braves the wall to seek out a cure, only to find herself in a whole new world of trials, treachery, and unexpected reunions.

Author Melanie Tays has crafted a cinematic and very engrossing work of fiction with plenty of conceptual drama and deep character emotions to offer its readers. One of the most essential features of this work was the talent the author displays in worldbuilding, through such details as the social attitudes of the new people whom Emery meets, their customs, and gruesome pastimes. I also really enjoyed the development of her relationship with Eason and the vulnerabilities it brings out in her, making Emery a relatable and well-rounded hero for the tale. In terms of its presentation of character, I found that the use of close narration created a deeper emotional resonance, taking us into the center of a cinematically described world that we can live in, right on Emery’s shoulder. Overall, I would highly recommend Wall of Fire to fans of teen disaster dystopias, accomplished suspenseful writing, and for anyone who likes a good balance between conceptual plot and emotional drama.