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Alex Bell – Lex Trent Fighting With Fire

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Talking foxes, more fire-breathing rabbits and the anti-hero discovering a fear of octopuses. It could only be another Lex Trent book.

Publisher: Headline
Pages: 376
Type: Fiction
Age: Young Adult
ISBN: 978-0-7553-5519-8
First Published: 3rd February 2011
Date Reviewed: 30th January 2011
Rating: 4/5

The Games have been scheduled once again and, once again, Lex has been chosen. But whom will he pick as his companion this time, as he seeks a life-giving sword in the Wild West? The decision is obvious, but Lex and his companion will have to do more than simply spin a couple of pistols and walk beside the tumbleweed. One of the other players is the grandson of a person affiliated with the Trents and having been shunned, the idea of winning the three rounds becomes all the more appealing.

Lex Trent Fighting With Fire continues the same basic format as Lex Trent Versus The Gods but features a lot more events in between the rounds, providing the reader with a chance to get to know the anti-hero even better but also, this time, to see where he can be a bit nicer. That’s not to say that the character improves exactly, because he doesn’t, in fact if anything the more you learn in many respects makes your opinion of him worse, but there are some very good points to him, no matter how well he tries to conceal them, that end up surfacing during the course of the book. This allows for Lex Trent to be ever more awful without alienating the reader.

Money had made them stupid. Lex could have announced himself as Tex Lent and they still wouldn’t have put the pieces together.

Lex’s companion Jesse, is superbly stereotypical as are the other contestants, and this is one of things that makes the book fun to read. Bell exploits stereotypes almost viciously, really making the most of them, and you can’t but be amused even if sometimes in reality it wouldn’t be correct.

More so than the first book, because of the connections between the characters, the other players play a bigger role in the story, at most times being just as much important as Lex and Jesse. The game rounds are more extreme too, whereas in the first book they were very dangerous but more interesting, this time they are more nightmarish and deadly. One round, involving books, is a treat because of the very nature of readers. And Bell includes a far share of libraries.

After all, when a mysterious volcano range suddenly appears on the landscape and may erupt at any moment, what could be more natural than to build a café right there beside it?

The story is slower than Lex Trent Versus The Gods because there is more information in it. The Wild West element is a whole subplot in itself as Lex is doing more than last time; he has two games to win – again the structure and writing style aid in helping the slowness to pass.

Lex Trent Fighting With Fire continues on a theme but succeeds in taking the story further thanks to that theme. In a time when second books are generally fillers it stands out from the crowd with the golden glow of a glowing canary that’s nearing the treasure. And it fits into a sole tradition – it’s own. It is a worthy follow-up and solid piece in a series that is likely to continue.

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February 10, 2011, 9:59 pm

It sounds like the series continues to be good!

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