I received this book for free from Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books on January 1st, 2013
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genres: Action, Adventure, China, Cultural, Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Buy the Book • Reading Challenges: Attack My ARC Pile, Spring TBR
A fiery and romantic adventure, perfect for fans of Grace Lin, Kristen Cashore, or Lisa See!
Jade Moon is a Fire Horse—the worst sign in the Chinese zodiac for girls, said to make them stubborn, willful, and far too imaginative. But while her family despairs of marrying her off, she has a passionate heart and powerful dreams, and wants only to find a way to make them come true.
Then a young man named Sterling Promise comes to their village to offer Jade Moon and her father a chance to go to America. While Sterling Promise's smooth manners couldn't be more different from her own impulsive nature, Jade Moon falls in love with him on the long voyage. But America in 1923 doesn't want to admit many Chinese, and when they are detained at Angel Island, the "Ellis Island of the West", she discovers a betrayal that destroys all her dreams. To get into America, much less survive there, Jade Moon will have to use all her stubbornness and will to break a new path... one as brave and dangerous as only a Fire Horse girl can imagine.
Why did I read The Fire Horse Girl?
The Fire Horse Girl is yet another book that I wish I hadn’t waited so long to read. Early last year I saw a few reviews for The Fire Horse Girl. It wasn’t everywhere, but sounded like it could potentially be a book that I would enjoy, so I requested it on Netgalley.
It was so much better than I could have ever imagined!
What is The Fire Horse Girl about in 100 words or less?
Jade Moon has big dreams that make it impossible for her to fit in. She lives in a small village in China & hasn’t been anywhere else. Her life has been planned out for her by her elders and she feels trapped. Then Sterling Promise arrives with promises of a new life in America. It seems as if she can be anyone and the possibilities are suddenly endless. She will do anything to get there. The Fire Horse Girl is a tale of survival and sheds some light on what it was like to be a Chinese immigrant in 1923.
I loved Jade Moon. She is incredibly strong-willed and wants only to find her place in this world. I think a lot of people will find that despite coming from very different cultures they are able to relate to Jade Moon. There were also some secondary characters that were really well done, such as Neil, the Irish bodyguard. There were also some secondary characters that I just didn’t really like all that much. I’m mainly thinking of Harry and Sterling Promise. Both of them were characters that I just didn’t understand. It’s weird though because I thought I understood Harry up until he started freaking out. The way he behaved didn’t really make sense to me based on how he had behaved throughout the novel. As for Sterling Promise, I just didn’t really like him because he seemed so weak.
Sterling Promise and Jade Moon have quite the love/hate relationship. It is a relationship that is incredibly complex and it actually feels somewhat plausible to me. I enjoyed seeing their relationship evolve and, in the end, found myself rooting for those crazy kids.
The Firse Horse Girl takes us on quite the journey. We start in a small Chinese village, take a trip to Hong Kong, spend some time on a boat, spend more time than expected on Angel Island and finally find ourselves in San Francisco. I think that the setting was a very important element of the tale. In order to understand Jade Moon we had to understand what each of these places looked like to her and how they made her feel. The author does a fantastic job establishing the setting! I’ve never been to some of these places, but I could picture and sometimes could almost smell the various locations.
The Fire Horse Girl was a book that I could not put down. I wasn’t sure whether or not I would like it and now it’s one of the best books I have read thus far in 2014! I would recommend this to anyone who had any interest in history, enjoys realistic fiction and has some time to kill.
Don’t take my word for it. . .