Review: THE FIRE SERMON by Francesca HaigThe Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig
Series: The Fire Sermon #1
Also in this series: The Map of Bones (Fire Sermon, Book 2)
Published by Simon and Schuster on March 10th 2015
Pages: 384
Genres: Fiction, Action & Adventure, Fantasy, General, Science Fiction, Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic, Genetic Engineering, Dystopian
Also by this author: The Map of Bones (Fire Sermon, Book 2)
Hardcover provided by The Library

AmazonBook Depository

The Hunger Games meets Cormac McCarthy’s The Road in this richly imagined first novel in a new post-apocalyptic trilogy by award-winning poet Francesca Haig.

Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire that has laid waste to civilization and nature. Though the radiation fallout has ended, for some unknowable reason every person is born with a twin. Of each pair, one is an Alpha—physically perfect in every way; and the other an Omega—burdened with deformity, small or large.

With the Council ruling an apartheid-like society, Omegas are branded and ostracized while the Alphas have gathered the world’s sparse resources for themselves. Though proclaiming their superiority, for all their effort Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: Whenever one twin dies, so does the other.

Cass is a rare Omega, one burdened with psychic foresight. While her twin, Zach, gains power on the Alpha Council, she dares to dream the most dangerous dream of all: equality. For daring to envision a world in which Alphas and Omegas live side-by-side as equals, both the Council and the Resistance have her in their sights.

Reading time 3 mins

This story follows the synopsis pretty well. The Fire Sermon definitely has Cormac McCarthy’s The Road feel to it. In the far future, after a nuclear apocalypse, the survivors carry a genetic abnormality. Every baby is born a fraternal twin, one boy one girl. One twin is “normal” (Alpha), the other twin has a congenital abnormality (Omega) and is born sterile. In rare instances, the Omega has psychic ability and no physical abnormality. Every twin is linked even though they are separated as soon as the Alpha is identified. When one dies the other ones dies as well. Cass is an Omega that has the gift of sight. Because she had no obvious abnormality, her and her twin weren’t split until much later then most twins. All Omegas are sent to live with their own kind s Alphas don’t have to remember that they exist.

In this story Cass (Omega) is sent to live with other Omegas in a village far from her home. Her abnormality makes her an outcast, even among other outcasts. The story starts with Cass being captured and thrown into prison for her and her twin’s protection. Her Alpha twin has risen to power in society and he can’t take a chance that something might happen to her (ergo him).

I honestly didn’t see how things might change for Cass. Locked up in solitary confinement for four years she gets really crafty. I loved how she got away and what she did next. Of course, she finds a boy, Kip, and they pair up to change the world. Things are pretty bleak for these two throughout most of the story. I really liked both Cass and Kip. I thought Cass was well fleshed out and I loved how she stood by her principles. Kip was really reliant on Cass and I found him to be a hard person to pin down. He seemed pretty devoted to Cass, which is pretty sad for him. I liked Cass and Kip together, although I didn’t think it was a swoon worthy romance. I think they helped each other in a lot of ways.

I loved the world building in this story. The author gave me enough details to outline the scenes but it was still vague enough for me to imagine my own world. I doubt two people reading this book would imagine exactly the same world. This world is dark. Cass and Kip have no safe haven in the world. There are towns of Alphas that would kill them on sight and then dreary Omega settlements surrounded by vast expanses of land off limits due to nuclear fallout. The world is dark.

I liked the complexity of this world a lot. The good guys (Omegas) verses the bad guys (Alphas). Killing a bad guy will kill a good guy too. The Alphas come up with all sorts of inventive to keep those Omegas safe and out of the way. There are real problems with this society. It seems like Cass is the only one who sees that the solution is simple. Ugh!

This was a really inventive story. I am hooked and ready for the sequel Map of Bones.

My Rating


The Fire Sermon Series

About Francesca Haig

Francesca Haig grew up in Tasmania, gained her PhD from the University of Melbourne, and was a senior lecturer at the University of Chester. Her poetry has been published in literary journals and anthologies in both Australia and England, and her first collection of poetry, BODIES OF WATER, was published in 2006. In 2010 she was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship. She lives in London with her husband and son.

Francesca’s novel, THE FIRE SERMON, is the first in a post-apocalyptic trilogy, and is being translated into more than 20 languages.

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