Fire in the Sea is an exciting mish-mash of ideas – Greek god mythology, adventure quest, time travel, drowned city dystopia, contemporary coming-of-age story. It is exciting to me that an author can make a story like this and set it in a very recognisable Perth. I really admire the scope and imagination of Fire in the Sea, and I think for the most part it all works together in an intriguing and cohesive way.
This book won the Text Prize in 2012, which is why I’ve had my eye on it for a while. I really enjoyed how it started off with a lazy, long-hot Summer vibe; there was great atmosphere and hints of contemporary romance. Then it very quickly got quite weird and very unique.
Sadie was a solid heroine, although at times I think she was a bit selfish and should have treated Tom better. He was one of my favourite characters, and he had a nice quiet strength. Jake the ‘love interest’ had a fair bit of charm too, though. I like the menace that the author created around the Minotaur figure, although I felt that all the other ‘baddies’ were adequate but so-so.
What kept me reading Fire in the Sea was its uniqueness, the exciting fantasy ideas and the thrill of not quite knowing what was going to happen next. I am very much looking forward to seeing what else Bartlett has up his sleeve.
First published by Text Publishing in 2012