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  • The Fire Sermon

  • Fire Sermon, Book 1
  • By: Francesca Haig
  • Narrated by: Yolanda Kettle
  • Length: 11 hrs and 55 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (198 ratings)

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Summary

When Zach and I were born, our parents must have counted and recounted: limbs, fingers, toes. The complete set. They would have been disbelieving - nobody dodged the split between Alpha and Omega. Nobody. Born as twins. Raised as enemies.

One strong Alpha twin and one mutated Omega; the only thing they share is the moment of their death.

The Omegas live in segregation, cast out by their families, as soon as their mutations become clear. Forced to live apart, they are ruthlessly oppressed by their Alpha counterparts.The Alphas are the elite. Once their weaker twins have been cast aside, they're free to live in privilege and safety, their Omega twins far from their thoughts.

Cass and Zach are both perfect on the outside: no missing limbs, no visible Omega mutations. But Cass has a secret: one that Zach will stop at nothing to expose.

The potential to change the world lies in both their hands. One will have to defeat the other to see his or her vision of the future come to pass, but if they're not careful both will die in the struggle for power.

©2015 Francesca Haig (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"This book is a thought provoking whirlwind of a story, with a fab lead character, grisly politics and brave adventure. I loved it!" (Jessie Burton)
"A hell of a ride. I would recommend it to anyone I can, regardless of age." (James Oswald)

What listeners say about The Fire Sermon

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very good book

A great story, good characters and excellent propose. The story carries you along well and the world is fascinating. It's a powerfully written book

15 people found this helpful

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I could not stop listening.

I plan to listen to it again. It is gripping and characters are well developed. I could not stop listening. Look forward to next book in the series, just pre-ordered it.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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ends just as it's getting really interesting

it was an interesting, thought provoking listen but it suddenly ends just as you think its getting to the crux. It felt like after all the detail and story building, the author couldn't be bothered to carry on with it. If there is no second book then that us how it felt. Unfinished like she was mid tale, frustrating ending.

2 people found this helpful

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Implausible persecution fantasy

I couldn't finish this book. The set up was interesting but everything always returned to how terrible life was for the main character. Everything in the world was designed to make her life as awful as possible. It got very old very quickly. It wasn't exactly a subtle way to create your standard young-adult dystopia. There was no sense of fun to contrast the darkness and no real depth to the world to make it worthwhile. The reader was good though.

1 person found this helpful

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Them vs Us

Foreigners vs natives. Employed vs unemployed. "Western culture" vs "Muslim culture"...

Wherever there is "Them" vs "Us" the story of the Fire Sermon's Alpha and Omega twins is played out.

Like her namesake of antiquity, Cassandra sees beyond the reality of the present to what could be. Like her namesake of antiquity, she seems to be the only one.

So...what if there were no "Them" or "Us"?

1 person found this helpful

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Entertaining

Worth a listen if you like this genre. Set in a dystopian future, the main heroine Cass (an Omega) is on the run from the Alphas.

1 person found this helpful

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Original, gripping

Would you listen to The Fire Sermon again? Why?

Yes. First book I've read/listened to since the Hunger Games, which is a worthy book in the post apocolyptic young adult dystopian fiction genre. Original. Gripping. Well developed characters. Looking forward to the next book.

1 person found this helpful

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An Infectious Story

l bought this book on a curious whim. I was intrigued by the title. Upon starting the first chapter l was hooked. l was drawn in.

I am not familiar with the author or the narrator, however, l am happy l chose this book.

lt's suspense filled, beautifully written, characterised with verve and delicately presented.

The story is jarring and yet pulling. This book is an infectious story.

1 person found this helpful

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A cautionary tale!

The author writes poetically and beautifully, telling the 1st part of this story of a post-apocalyptic primitive world in which residual radiation damage from a nuclear blast causes every family to give birth to twins - one normal, one deformed. The normal twins are the ruling "Alphas", the deformed ones the rejected "Omegas". Most Omegas are split and sent away soon after birth, to be looked after by relatives at Omega settlements. The twins are linked so strongly that if one dies, both die, so they can't just kill the weaker twin. So you'd have thought they might want to save them from suffering, but no, this isn't the case!

The discrinination is horrific to read, especially in this day and age. Omegas are cast out from society, shunned, feared and loathed. They are seen as a curse, whereas they are actually nature's way of preserving the species - twinning each birth, the mutations all concentrated in one half so the other half can be perfect. Far from being grateful to their mutated twins for saving them from mutation themselves, the Alphas make their twins' lives as hard as possible.
Within their own communities they are deprived of fertile growing land, tithed and hunted by the dominating Alphas. It's hard to figure out why they can't just coexist in peace! This is what Cass wants. But the Alphas don't agree.

Many Alphas are on the ruling Council, and the Council members are fighting among themselves. The danger of attack or assassination by killing their twin to get rid of them leads many Alphas to lock up their twins to keep themselves safe.

Then they discover old technology from before the nuclear destruction. This allows them to develop "holding tanks" full of viscous liquid to hold Omegas in suspended animation, life support tubes attached to every limb and orifice.

This book charts the life of Cass, the Omega twin of Zach. Cass is a telepathic seer, with no visible mutation, and Zach's whole life is twisted by his hatred of her because her lack of visible difference meant they were not split up until their teens. He sees her wish to stay with their family as a selfish desire to steal hia Alpha identity, and becomes a man driven by revenge and hatred, determined to rid the world of Omegas altogether.

The narrator is good, and pleasant to listen to but could have given each character a more distinct voice. It's sometimes hard to tell which character is speaking and I had to rewind.

This book reminds me of The Chrysalids by John Wyndham, and may have been inspired by it.

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Non teenagers!

This is in the style of a post-apocalypse YA book, but with the merciful absence of teenage hormones messing with the protagonists inner monologue! The 23yo heroine is rational and able to function like an adult even when there are males present which makes for a lovely change! The plot is good with twists I dint see coming, although re-listening the clues are there. My only minor grumble is the odd pronunciation of caldera, but that’s easily forgiven because he rest of the narration is wonderful. I like that the characters are easily distinguishable even from just one line or even a couple of words, with logical accents (ie, siblings have the same) which is something other productions should take note of!