Radclyffe is one of those authors who I've been meaning to read for ages so when I was sent a copy of her latest novel to review I was really happy. Firestorm is a lesbian romance novel that tells the story of Jac and Mallory. Mallory is a wilderness fire-fighter who trains the new recruits and Jac is one of the new recruits. Mallory isn't happy when she finds out that Jac's powerful father has pulled some strings to get her a position on Mallory's team but there's no denying that there's an attraction between them. They say that the path to true love never runs smooth and that's certainly the case for Jac and Mallory but can they overcome all of the difficulties facing them?
When I first started reading this novel I was worried that my expectations were too high. I've had Radclyffe's novels recommended to me by so many people and I was really expecting something great. This novel did not disappoint at all. One of the first things that really struck me was how well developed the characters are. I think it's rare that characters feel well developed at the beginning of the novel but in this novel they did. There just seemed to be so much depth to each of the characters and this was apparent from the beginning. Of course the characters develop more as the novel goes along and we learn new things about them both but the feeling that both characters are whole, three dimensional people is there from the very beginning. I think that this was part of the reason why it was so easy for me to connect with the characters. I found both characters very likeable. They're both strong, independent women, which always appeals to me in a character. I felt like both characters were very evenly matched in this novel. At points during the book one was more vulnerable than the other, or in a better position to support the other, but it never felt like there was an uneven power distribution. I really enjoyed that in this novel, it just felt like they were complete equals.
This novel is a romance novel and not erotica but I found it incredibly hot. I think it's easy to make erotica hot or even romance novels hot when there are explicit sex scenes but in this novel there was very little sex and it still managed to be scorching. At one point I felt very uncomfortable sitting in costa reading it...and they weren't even doing anything that was overtly sexual, it was just that there was the chemistry and the subtle provocation that worked really well in this context. When the sex scenes did come they were on fire but they weren't overly done. I don't know how Radclyffe does it but she manages to make this book far hotter than some erotic novels that I've read.
I think that one thing that a lot of romance novels miss is the big build up to a relationship. It seems that so many novels just jump in there and move things really fast so it was nice to read a novel that doesn't do that. The relationship between the two characters is built up exceptionally well. It never feels like things are too slow or that some action is needed but it does take a long time for Mallory and Jac to get together and this worked really well in this novel. It just felt like there was a real foundation for their relationship that many romance novels seem to lack.
There is a lot of action in this novel but it seems to be there for the purpose of the romance and the character building rather than being the point of the novel in itself. I wouldn't read the book just for the action (and I'm not much of an action novel fan anyway) but like the rest of the novel it was written very well. There were points when my heart was in my throat waiting to see what would happen next. I think that this coupled well with the romance not only because it furthered the romantic plot but also because it added an element of excitement at points when there wasn't so much action between Jac and Mallory.
I loved this novel. I can't thing of a single criticism. I liked the characters, the romance, the action and the writing style. I would highly recommend this novel.