The cover and the synopsis for The Fire Artist looked so pretty, I had cover fever for a few seconds while trying to decide between 5 plus other books (I planned on walking away with 3 books for 4 weeks, not 100 books).
And the fact it was one of the newest residents at the library and when you own nearly zilch books (two), getting your hands on a shiny copy of a book is a wondrous feeling and a rarity.
The Fire Artist gets straight to the point from the very beginning – there's really no stalling going on here. Whitney reveals early on that Aria has problems as a fire artist, and that it needs to be replenished often if she wants to keep her control and not face her father's wrath. But then Aria is recruited by the M.E. Leagues, the highest honor an elemental artist can get, and she has to find another way to continue keeping her fire powers.
The world building here is amazing – the peace in the Middle East isn't just "there" simply because someone in a prestigious family did something while everyone else went down to rock bottom, said someone succeeded and as a result, everyone respects the person and bows down to them. The history of how the Middle East came to be – in accordance to the book – seems to be based off current events in the Middle East, making the book seem a little realistic rather than utmost fantasy. The granters Whitney portrays throughout The Fire Artist aren't just "there" (though they are just "there") for everyone's beck and call – the granters seemed to be unified with rules and whatnot rather than each granter working individually on their own.
The romance between Taj and Aria also isn't one that rushes quickly – it's slowly developing as the book progresses and it doesn't overshadow the overall plot (a huge peeve of mine). The conversations between the two are entertaining enough that despite the fact Aria takes her time in making her wish, I personally don't mind because I'm too busy enjoying the book to even care.
I do, however, have a little peeve against Aria for stalking the dude before they even met. Surely that never goes well if the dude actually finds out.
Though to be honest, if Aria had made her wish too early in the book instead of stalling awhile, the book would have ended much too quickly. The world building and character development would have been terrible – no one (aside from the author) would ever know precisely how the peace in the Middle East really came to be (oh, so everyone just whipped up a treaty?) or gotten the chance to really know Aria and Taj as characters.
There are no regrets in reading this – The Fire Artist is as pretty on the inside as it is on the outside.