Frenzied action and steamy romance aren't enough to ignite this overwrought sequel to Wildefire (2011).
After a spectacular breakup that leaves her trickster ex half-buried in solid rock (and neatly recaps the previous book), high school sophomore and reincarnated volcano goddess Ashline heads off to Miami, following a vision of her missing younger sister. There, she teams up with an Aztec night god and a Roman dawn goddess to thwart a villainous millionaire and her sadistic henchgods, rescue her other sister from a netherworldly dimension, and keep the loves and lies of her past incarnations from leaking into this one. But ignore the complicated plot; the real meat of the story lies in the constant chases, fights, (chaste) lusting and lots and lots of explosions. The choppy style propels the pace, barely skirting self-parody with strained metaphors and bathetic blank verse. Despite their varied powers, appropriated from diverse mythologies, all these gods are pretty much indistinguishable; this renders Ash's new insta-crush less surprising and would lessen the interest of the high body count but for the creatively gruesome deaths they suffer. The only vivid personality is Ash herself; unfortunately, while it is rare (and rather refreshing) in YA to find such a reckless, arrogant, bad-tempered and violent female protagonist, Ash's shrugging indifference to these traits, despite their disastrous consequences, makes it hard to care about her future…even with the blatant sequel-baiting cliffhanger.
Lust and violence make for a fast and entertaining read, but this could have been so much more. (Urban fantasy. 14 & up)