Book Review: Embers
By Laura Bickle
Juno - Pocket Books - Urban Fantasy
4 Heart Review
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 slamander familar 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.
Wow! That's the only way I could think to start this review. This is an amazing, blow your mind if you love Urban Fantasy, debut novel by Laura Bickle.
I literally had to look three times to remind myself that this was a debut novel. The world-building is so compelling and fastinating, that I felt there was no way this was her first book!
This quote from M.L.N Hanover, bestselling author of Darker Angels, from the front cover really hit the nail on the head.
"Bickle has something great in Anya. Embers has everything: demons, ghosts, dragons, love, sex, police, and murder."
I agree - Anya is both a unique and kick-ass heroine. I cannot wait for more of her and the band of ghost hunters she reluctantly tags along with. One of the best Urban Fantasy heroines to come around in a long time, I felt Laura did an amazing job of making Anya something new in the Urban Fantasy world, but that she also made her incredibly real and honest.
Anya's feelings fill every page and carry you along her journey - I felt connected to her and that's totally a credit to how great Laura's writing and characterizations are. Likewise, the rest of the cast of characters are just screaming for more play time - including Anya's familiar salamander Sparky.
I cannot wait for the next book in the series, Sparks, to release so I can see what happens to Anya next and how she develops. I think once I've read the next book, I'll be able to say if I think Laura has created something I would put on par with Kim Harrison and Karen Marie Moning in terms of my love of the world-building.
I highly recommend this book if you love real Urban Fantasies. Do yourself a favor and check it out - it's not a light-hearted book, but a fantastic read.
Do you read Urban Fantasy? Do you like them darker, or with some romance thrown in. Do you think a story can be a true Urban Fantasy without a little bit of grit?