Balefire: Luc and Richard

It’s very rare that I find a YA book/series where there’s a love triangle between two girls and a boy. Usually it’s the reverse. I figure this is because, if a lot of YA with romance has some escapism for the teenage girl reader, she wants to have a hero who is totally dedicated to the heroine. And if there’s two? That’s a pretty powerful fantasy. (Not to say that YA romance is meant to be escapism but I do think that’s a big element in a lot of it).

Meanwhile, that teenage girl reader (and…well, me most of the time) doesn’t want a hero who may like the heroine but maybe not, maybe he’ll go for someone else. So most of these type of love triangles are where the guy is dating the popular girl but then realizes pretty early on that “hey, heroine is cute and smart and awesome. Maybe I want to be with her instead.”

The Balefire series was interesting because not only do we start off with two protagonists (twins Clio and Thais) but has them both falling for the same guy. And while the love triangle (and the boy) is a good chunk of the story, it falls to the background amidst a complex plot and dynamic characters.

I will do my best not to be terribly spoileriffic with this one but some things may pop out.

After the loss of her father, Thais Allard is spirited away by her new guardian (who she doesn’t know and never has heard of) to New Orleans. Things are difficult for Thais, a prudent and nice girl who is astounded by how unorganized and careless her guardian Axelle is. Her nightmares and her grief over her father don’t help. But she meets a mysterious boy named Luc and they have an instant connection…

Clio Martin is an outgoing, beautiful high school student who likes to have a fun time. She is a follower of Bonne Magie (white magic) and is about to become a full-fledged witch in a few months. But that’s not nearly as exciting as the incredibly attractive Andre with whom she shares a quick and burning attraction…

And then the first day of school arrives. Thais and Clio meet and oh my god, they look exactly alike, down to the strawberry-shaped birthmark on their cheeks. Could they be..? Yes, they are twins, separated at birth. There are powers at work here, and involved in these workings is Andre. Or as he’s better known: Luc.

Luc, Axelle and the girls’ grandmother Petra are all part of a group called the Treize. These people were involved in a rite 13 generations ago that made them immortal. They could never recreate the rite because the one who tricked them all, Melita, disappeared and her sister Cerise died in the rite, giving birth to Clio and Thais’ ancestor. But now that there are twins, they have the thirteen witches needed to reenact that powerful spell.

Over the course of four books we are introduced to each member of the Treize, how they came to know the others, their motives, their love and hatred for which members of the group. I enjoyed getting to know the thirteen characters. Oddly enough, the one character I didn’t get to know as well I would have liked was Luc.

I think I was initially put off by the fact that both Clio and Thais are in love love with Luc by the time they find out that they’re with the same guy. (They both tell him off but continue to harbor feelings for the remainder of the series). With Clio I could understand because they had been kinda boyfriend and girlfriend. But with Thais, she met him twice in a garden and that was it.  But that’s me being a picky. Cate Tiernan makes me happier later when neither of the twins’ relationships was a Twilight this-is-my-true-love-forever-and-ever. In one it’s a “we don’t love each other but damnit all we are attracted so lets have it out…hey, I think we could make this work” and the other is “I messed up, I like you still, can we be friends and go from there?” But I’m getting ahead of myself.

For a less picky reason…I was frustrated with Luc because instead of just apologizing he would start to say sorry, then go on about he was only trying to experience two halves of the whole, that Clio and Thais both had what each other lacked

“When I met Thais , it was like–she was the part of you that you were holding back. And you were the part of her that she doesn’t let go. I wasn’t thinking, wasn’t using my head. It was just, my heart told me to try to have every aspect of you.”

So does this mean he was a dud?

Well no. I felt like it fit his character.  We learn that he was a wealthy rake when cursed with immortality and he’s been a player since then. Why would there be something wrong with playing both twins? That’s a good day for a Casanova. It’s not until the end that he realizes he really does love one of the twins and messed up big time.

I was more a fan of Richard, who became the love interest of the twin not with Luc. Richard became immortal when he was fifteen so while he now has the personality of a rebellious, jerk with a heart of gold young adult, he’s stuck in a younger body. Props to the author, this never became a weird point when he interacts with his twin love interest. He’s so very rough and seductive and doesn’t act too far off from the twins’ age.

Richard isn’t perfect. It turns out that he does some pretty bad things to protect himself and others. But because he realizes his mistakes and we got a better insight into his character, I was more okay with him than Luc. Even though Luc is the “playboy” Richard was just more charismatic for me.

Ultimately the series ends with a lot of loose ends. From what I gather, it was meant to be a fifteen-book series but because of poor sales, the author had to resolve as much as she could in the fourth book. I really hope that one day she writes another but if not..she at least resolved both of the twin’s relationships (see above). I would have liked to see more of a triangle since I rarely see the two girls want the same guy configuration but it was more than made up for with the story’s complexity.

Breakdown

Luc

Appearance: Clio calls him “The Hottest Guy in the World”, tall, dark hair and eyes

Personality: playboy, smooth, somewhat noble

Best Quality: He has a moral core and a sense of nobility, ultimately becomes humble

Worst Quality: Proud, knows he’s attractive and has power over women

Grade: C+

Richard

Appearance: stuck in a younger body, brown hair and eyes, tattoos, nose piercing

Personality: sarcastic, rough, rational

Best Quality: He is who he is, tells it like it is, intelligent

Worst Quality: does some extreme things to protect his group

Grade: B

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2 Responses to “Balefire: Luc and Richard”


  1. 1 rena bassham July 21, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    love richard so much more. liked him from the beginning

  2. 2 someone August 4, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Bleh I hated Luc lol.


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