What We’re Reading – The Fire Sermon

This book was read by Meredith Lewis, a Reference Librarian at (mostly) the Orange County Campus Library.

A burned and smoking Omega symbol is in the center of a white cover with burned edges

The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig

Why did you choose to read this book?

If we’re being honest, the cover was impressive—a picture of a burned out Omega symbol with no other text and artistically “burned” corners. I picked it up, realized it was dystopian lit without a zombie apocalypse (nuclear destruction, yes) and not focused solely on romance (those are not my favorites), so I picked it up… and read it in two days. During the work week.

What did you like about it?

I liked that, despite being yet another book in a pretty common genre nowadays, it had its own vibe, and I wasn’t constantly comparing it to the other books in its dystopian genre. The twin idea that this world is centered around is unique—after a period of very few births post-nuclear blast, two twins are born in every birth.  One is deformed in some way (missing leg, extra eye, etc.), the Omegas, and they are separated and subjugated in society run by the “normal” twins, the Alphas. I also like that I’m pretty sure Cass’s twin Zach is just simply evil (I don’t trust the guy), but I still, at the end of the first book, can’t quite tell. A little mystery is a good thing in the first book in a series.

What feeling did the book leave you with?

Eager anticipation for the next one in the series, which luckily will be released on May 3, so I don’t have to wait around very long for the next in the series. I’m also curious to see how the trilogy progresses—there was only one real plot twist in the first book, and I expected it, but not until close to the reveal. I don’t know where Cass, Zach, Piper, and Zoe will end up and if/how they’re going to be able to save this society from itself. (They have to, though. Right?)

Who would you recommend the book to?

Anyone who liked The Hunger Games or The Red Queen or The Queen of the Tearling other dystopian novels that deal with a broken societal structure becoming even more broken. Other reviews compare it to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, too, but not nearly as bleak. It’s a pretty fast and engaging read, too, so I’d also recommend it to someone who didn’t want a tough read.

What would you pair this book with?

Some fresh, clean water–this book did kind of make me thirsty. Maybe a good pair of walking shoes and fresh socks, too.

Interested in reading The Fire Sermon for yourself? Check it out from the library!

Want to read The Map of Bones, the second book in the series that will be coming out May 3? Use the book request form to ask the Durham Tech Library to buy it.

About Meredith Lewis

Meredith is a reference librarian at Durham Tech on both the Main and Orange County Campuses. She likes fantasy, science-fiction, and historical fiction and is trying to be a better reader of non-fiction (just after she finishes that stack of novels on her bedside table...)