World on Fire - Hayley B. James This was a strange story. I'm not quite sure how to describe it beyond that. I was confused a lot but I still didn't want to put it down. It's a unique story, though, in the sense that everything is always changing.

Cole Sanders is a man who works for a magazine and sent to interview a reclusive brilliant artist, Lucian Thomas. When he first meets Lucian he thinks he's met a man who is not all there in the head, who constantly talks in riddles and evades questions left and right which makes him believe Lucian and he could not be more different. Slowly Cole realizes the easy interview he was supposed to give has turned into something way more when everything Cole encounters in Lucian's strange world changes almost every time he turns his back and Lucian's random questions start to actually make sense. With each day Lucian keeps Cole there, Cole's barriers start to crumble and he realizes he may not be so different from Lucian after all.

It's easy to say that Cole and Lucian are very different people. While Cole is plain, boring, meek and completely unremarkable, Lucian is extravagant, full of life and love; he takes things as they are and amuses himself with everything with an almost childlike personality. I actually found these two pretty funny together. Lucian would unknowingly insult Cole somehow, Cole would get angry and then he'd apologize for his outburst which would make Lucian astonished and sad. Really, these two are vastly different in the beginning. I did not understand Lucian's logic or his questions at all. He talked to animal meat before he cooked it, danced with lobsters before realizing he didn't want to eat them after all but instead to keep them as pets and name them. Lucian is just downright strange. Cole's attitude suggested tolerance of Lucian's flighty and unexpected behavior but overtime Cole actually started to understand Lucian's personality and where it all came from. And in that time, Lucian helped Cole discover who he really truly is beneath all of the barriers Cole has created around his true self. So, I kind of found these two cute. Don't ask me why, they just are.

If you're looking for a book that has a lot of conflict, this won't be one of them. The story is actually pretty slow moving because you have to understand who Lucian and Cole are and their actions. The book follows the few days Cole stays with Lucian for his interview. We get to know these two, why Lucian is the way he is and why he requested Cole as his interviewer. You slowly start to understand what is so weird about this world the story is set in, even though it's contemporary, and all the confusion in the beginning is explained away mostly by the end. You understand Lucian is a creator and Cole is an absorber, what it all means and how it all falls into place.

Like I said, it's a strange book and it won't appeal to a lot of people because nothing extravagant happens until the end. BUT I think that was one of it's charms for me. It was a slow book, that focused on understanding a man who had an extraordinary talent who possibly is not at all sane. I'm actually not quite sure why I enjoyed this book so much but I know every time I put it down I wanted to pick it back up and continue reading. I think it was Lucian's random questions and statements that had a part in that.

"Have you seen an elephant wear swimming trunks?"
"What are bears without ears?"
"A dinosaur eating a dog."
"Dog riding a horse."
"I'm fond of catfish. I like to picture that they meow underwater and scare the other fish."


So, my advice on this book would be to decide if you'd like a slow moving story. If you would, give it a try. Decide for yourself if it's something that might peak your interests because I do believe this story is well-written and if you allow it to, the characters might charm you enough to keep reading like they did me. :)