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Child of Fire: A Twenty Palaces Novel [Kindle Edition]

Harry Connolly
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (177 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $5.99
You Save: $2.00 (25%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

BONUS: This edition contains excerpts from Harry Connolly's Game of Cages and Twenty Palaces.

Ray Lilly is living on borrowed time. He’s the driver for Annalise Powliss, a high-ranking member of the Twenty Palace Society, a group of sorcerers devoted to hunting down and executing rogue magicians. But because Ray betrayed her once, Annalise is looking for an excuse to kill him–or let someone else do the job.

Unfortunately for both of them, Annalise’s next mission goes wrong, leaving her critically injured. With the little magic he controls, Ray must complete her assignment alone. Not only does he have to stop a sorcerer who’s sacrificing dozens of innocent lives in exchange for supernatural power, he must find–and destroy–the source of that inhuman magic.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Connolly's gritty urban fantasy debut is not so urban: it takes place in Hammer Bay, Wash., where residents are thankful for the toy factory that stimulates their economy and are apparently oblivious to the frequent magical immolations of local children. Convicted felon Ray Lilly works for the mysterious Annalise Powliss and the Twenty Palace Society, hunting down people who use magic and the otherworldly predators whose power they channel. Callous Annalise and hard-nosed Ray have a complicated personal history that gradually comes to light as the Society faces off against factory employees, local law enforcement and other corrupt forces in the town. Unique magical concepts, a tough and pragmatic protagonist and a high casualty rate for innocent bystanders will enthrall readers who like explosive action and magic that comes at a serious cost. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Child of Fire is excellent reading: a truly dark and sinister world, delicious tension and suspense, violence so gritty you'll get something in your eye just reading it, and a gorgeously flawed protagonist. Take this one to the checkout counter. Seriously.”—Jim Butcher, author of the Dresden Files

"Ray Lilly is one of the most interesting characters I've read lately, and Harry Connolly's vision is amazing. I can hardly wait for the next one." --Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse series

“Cinematic and vivid, with a provocative glimpse into a larger world. Where’s the next one?”—Terry Rossio, screenwriter, Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy

“Classic dark noir, fresh ideas, and good old-fashioned storytelling.”—John Levitt, author of Dog Days

“Redemption comes wrapped in a package of mystery and horror that hammers home the old saying ‘Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time’ . . . and even then you’d better check the yellow pages for one bad-ass exterminator first.”—Rob Thurman, author of Nightlife

“A fine novel with some genuinely creepy moments. I enjoyed it immensely and hope we’ll see more of Ray Lilly.”—Lawrence Watt-Evans, author of the Obsidian Chronicles



From the Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1278 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Original edition (September 29, 2009)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002PYFW9S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,155 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
113 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't judge a book by the covers of other books October 15, 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The main thing I would say to potential readers is to judge this book on its own merits.

A number of reviewers compare "Child of Fire" to Jim Butcher's "Dresden Files" novels. Yes, this is Urban Fantasy. Yes, this is Dark Fantasy. Aside from that, I didn't find a lot of similarities. Keep in mind, just because Butcher likes a book, doesn't mean that it's the same kind of book that he writes!

Ray Lilly is in prison. We get some hints as to why, but I expect his back story to be revealed gradually in forthcoming books in the series. He is released from jail by the "Twenty Palace Society". We know even less about them, just that their mission is to track down and destroy anyone who is using magic. (Besides them, of course.) He is assigned to work with Annalise, and we don't know a whole lot about her either, other than that she is almost indestructible and has a really bad attitude about almost everything. Especially Ray. Who she fully expects to die very soon.

They are sent to a small town to investigate the disappearance of children, and the strange fact that once they disappear, no one remembers them. Not even their parents. The rest, as they say, is the story. And it's told very well. The narrative is tight and fast paced. The main characters aren't very likable, as some reviewers have mentioned. And on first appearance, they're not. But we don't know a lot about them, and they have a very unlikable job: killing anyone who has, or has been touched by, "unauthorized" magic. And that means there is frequently a lot of collateral damage.

This is obviously the start of a series. I'm willing to give Ray and Annalise the benefit of the doubt for now, until I know about them and their mysterious employer.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Debut October 20, 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Ray is just the driver. His boss Annelise hates him -- with good reason, it turns out. Together they ride in a crummy van, chasing after a signal given off by an instance of unauthorized magic. What they find turns out to be more horrific than Ray ever imagined possible, and he's well acquainted with horrific. He just got out of prison.

The pair follows the trail further to Hammer Bay, a small city in the Pacific Northwest, known for its improbably successful toy manufacturing. The city is crawling with multi-generation old secrets, corruption, and lethal magic.

The story is fast-paced, full of violence, drama, and occasional dark humor. I found Ray Lilly to be complex and sympathetic. He does the hard things that need doing, even as he regrets them. Over the course of the story we learn that both Ray and Annelise have complicated histories -- so much so, I almost felt like I was reading book two in a series, rather than the first volume.

Hints about the Twenty Palaces Society were even more tantalizing. They stamp out -- with extreme prejudice, it seems -- unauthorized magic use. Their zeal is appropriate, though. They're the only thing protecting the world from the constant threat of annihilation. Annelise, vastly powerful and nearly indestructible, is merely a junior member.

Except what lurks in Hammer Bay is too strong even for Annelise. Saving the world is left to Ray, who has only a little magical protection, a scrap of a spell, and a whole lot of street smarts.

Normally I don't read a lot of Urban Fantasy, because common tropes of the field (snarky heroines and sex with undead/demons/monsters) are pet peeves of mine, but I liked this very much.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 Stars - Good Series Start but Very Dark Tone November 11, 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I am an avid fan of Jim Butcher and his Dresden Files series and Rob Thurman and his Nightlife Series; both of whom endorse and to some degree write in the style of Harry Connolly. Child of Fire, as a first novel, shows promise. Ray Lilly however, is a darker character than those created by Butcher and Thurman and sometimes reads more as a thug than a protagonist early in the novel. His character grows and develops more nuances as you stay with the book and he becomes a progtagonist you can root for. However, it takes an extreme plot, which centers around the killing of children, to lighten his darkness and make the character more palatable. The early part of the novel reads choppily, not surprising in a new author but after three chapters or so, it settles down into a more even flow that holds the reader until near the end where there are so many subplots and so much going on that I found myself skimming more than reading. I wanted to know how things resolved for the characters but the plot was too convoluted. I think this could be because so much of the backstory is being held for future novels. In may be that after future novels are released, rereading this novel will help it better fall into context. I'd give a second novel by Connolly a try but I'd want more clarity and a main character who has been fleshed out with more humanity so that I'd enjoy reading his storyline.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not wonderful October 22, 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I think having Jim Butcher blurb this book did not do it any favors. Dresden and his adventures are in a class by themselves, and it would be an amazing first novel that could come up to those standards. CHILD OF FIRE doesn't do that. Which isn't to say that it's a bad book, because it isn't bad at all. It just isn't Jim Butcher. Ray Lilly doesn't have Dresden's sense of humor, that ironic take on the world that makes him so much fun. Lilly has ideals, an raging awareness of his mortality, and a very awkward sense of admiration for his boss, Annalise Powliss - an admiration coupled with a great deal of fear and loathing. This makes for some interesting interactions between the two.

Connolly has a good start on a series here. Just don't dive in thinking you are in the same pool that Dresden inhabits.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars What happened to my epilogue?
I turned the page at the end of this book FULLY expecting to settle into the epilogue, but apparently the author forgot to write it. This was not a finished book, in my opinion. Read more
Published 17 days ago by A. Rubash
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Enough I Want the Sequel
When I check into an Urban Fantasy book I'm looking for magical things, fantastical things. However the first half of this book felt fairly small - most of the events deal with... Read more
Published 25 days ago by Jonathan
1.0 out of 5 stars Another example of crappy amazon books
I'm getting a little tired of Amazon pushing amateur writing to the top of the list when it comes to sci fi. Read more
Published 2 months ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars good read
Not the best book ever written, but well done and it takes you away as any good book should. Characters take a while to like, but by the end you actually begin to like them.
Published 4 months ago by David Baughman
4.0 out of 5 stars a surprisingly entertaining story
I read this a little out of order, I think, having read the prequel first. Still, I really enjoyed the story and look forward to reading the next one.
Published 4 months ago by Phil Bernard
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for Magic Lovers!
This is a great series. I'm not a writer or professional reviewer, but this is a well thought out mystery novel centered around a concept of magic. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Zach
5.0 out of 5 stars An astounding first book!
Dark, creepy, and wonderful, Connolly's storytelling effortlessly crosses the boundaries between classic noir detective stories and traditional horror fantasy, blending both in an... Read more
Published 5 months ago by W. Guest
3.0 out of 5 stars Readable
Ray is an ex-con who must work with Annalise, a member of the Twenty Palaces Society whose main function seems to be killing everyone (except themselves) with any magical power. Read more
Published 6 months ago by meltingdew
4.0 out of 5 stars Something to read between Dresden books
Think Stephen King and Jim Butcher. The flawed hero type that they both use, but where Connolly lacks Butcher's humor, he has the moral dilemmas that tear at and drive the... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Stockclimber
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read.
This book is a good read. I am glad I didn't miss it. It was offered for free so I picked it up and once I started reading it I didn't put it down until it was over.
Published 7 months ago by Louis Schwab
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Best book of 2009?
I vote yes!
Dec 5, 2009 by Andrew McMasters |  See all 3 posts
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