Review of THE FIRE SERMON by Francesca Haig

Europe in the post-apocalyptic world.  The Earth has finally absorbed the fall-out 18109771from its nuclear destruction. Evolution has once again made way for the human race to continue.

But now each baby is born with a twin.  One male, one female. One perfectly healthy, one damaged.  An Alpha, and an Omega.

Society has been trained to separate the two – the Omegas bear the contamination of the blast that devastated the world centuries ago. The Alphas can’t risk being tainted by them, so as soon as possible after birth, the damaged are sent to Omega camps to live among other mutated twins.  As the years pass, the Alphas take more and more control of human civilization – giving Omegas poor-producing land with little in the way of comfort. Omegas scrape by but are starving; kept alive but at a minimum. Some even disappear.

But some Omegas are hard to recognize, having no physical mutations. Those like Cass are Seers – they have psychic abilities.  Some can see the future, some can see the past.  But all are powerful – both feared and sought out by all factions. Cass was with her twin Zach for thirteen years before she was taken away. But by that time, Zach’s life had already been tainted with bitterness – shunned by the Alpha children, he wants nothing more than to fit in. Cass just wants the separations to end, with families staying together – both the perfect and the imperfect.

But there is one connection each set of twins is forced to respect – when one twin dies, so does the other.

The Alphas have a plan to deal with this vexation, and it’s up to Cass, and her fellow Omega Kip, to lead the rebellion against the Alpha aggressors.  How far will they go to stop them? And how can Cass bring compassion for one’s twin back to the world?

Francesca Haig has done a wonderful job with both plot and characterization, and her writing style is very fluid, and lyrical at times. One of my favorite quotes describes battle:

“…This isn’t some bard’s tale…When bards sang of battles, they made it sound like a kind of dance. As if there would be a beauty to the combat, a musical clashing of swords while soldiers parried to and fro, and individual fighters distinguished themselves with feats of skill and daring.  But what I saw allowed no room for such things.”

I think Haig’s premise is very ingenious, and the plot is energized with the push and pull between those who have and those who don’t, with the twist of Ying and Yang, one always affecting the other – The Alpha and The Omega. What a great read, with the promise of two more to come.

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