Truth burns. Unemployment, despair, anger—visible and invisible unrest feed the undercurrent of Detroit’s unease. A city increasingly invaded by phantoms now faces a malevolent force that further stokes fear and chaos throughout the city.
Anya Kalinczyk spends her days as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department, and her nights pursuing malicious spirits with a team of eccentric ghost hunters. Anya—who is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern—suspects a supernatural arsonist is setting blazes to summon a fiery ancient entity that will leave the city in cinders. By Devil’s Night, the spell will be complete, unless Anya—with the help of her salamander familiar and the paranormal investigating team—can stop it.
Anya’s accustomed to danger and believes herself inured to loneliness and loss. But this time she’s risking everything: her city, her soul, and a man who sees and accepts her for everything she is. Keeping all three safe will be the biggest challenge she’s ever faced.
Book 1 in The Anya Kalinczyk Series
EMBERS has a fantastically gritty cover from the talented Chris McGrath, a paranormally enhanced version of Detroit, and a unique supernatural concept for its main character. With so much going for it, I feel like I should have liked this book more. The blurb sounded exactly like the kind of urban fantasy stories I love…but I struggled almost from the beginning to connect with both the characters and plot.
By day, Anya is an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department. After hours, she’s a member of the Detroit Area Ghost Researchers. As a Lantern, Anya has the ability to consume ghosts like a supernatural vacuum cleaner. Her formidable skill comes with a nasty side effect: acid like burns left on her chest after each ghost she “eats.” She and the hodgepodge crew of D.A.G.R members (including a wedding cake designer/witch and an elderly demonologist that reminded me of Professor Xavier from X-Men) bust ghosts, exorcise demons, and keep the city safe from the seedy supernatural elements that lurk in the shadows.
I had a big problem with Anya’s two love interests in EMBERS: Brian the ‘nice’ tech guy from D.A.G.R who has been interested in her for ages. And then there’s Drake, the serial arsonist who is plotting to incinerate Detroit. Neither the ‘nice’ guy or the psycho appealed to me as romantic leads. Brian was fairly innocuous and about as romantically compelling as cardboard, but Drake was a mass murderer with major creep factor. There are other factors in the story that propelled Anya’s relationship with Drake which I won’t divulge, but I still found the attraction between them to be very forced and unrealistic.
I did like Anya’s familiar, a fire elemental salamander named Sparky. He’s more like an invisible magical Saint Bernard who gets jealous when guys hit on Anya, sleeps with a glowworm, and has a mischievous addiction to electricity. The writing itself is also good, I just didn’t find the story to be especially interesting. Every chapter started off with a great opening sentence that devolved into a generic chapter plot wise.
Plenty of other reviewers loved this book. I envy them for it, but I just couldn’t get into it. I did like Laura’s writing style, which is why I’m looking forward to her other series debut Dark Oracle written as Alayna Williams later this summer. I’ll probably pass on the next Anya Kalinczyk book, Sparks when it comes out August 31, 2010.
Sexual Content: References to sex. A brief, mildly graphic sex scene.
Click HERE to read an excerpt of EMBERS
- Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Pocket; 1 edition (March 30, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1439167656
- ISBN-13: 978-1439167656
- Cover art: Chris McGrath
*Disclosure: I received this book courtesy of Laura Bickle
About the author
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