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Child of Fire: A Twenty Palaces Novel Mass Market Paperback – September 29, 2009
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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.)
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“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
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Top Customer Reviews
I personally think its because they were marketed by the stupidest editor in the biz. For some reason they got Jim Butcher (of Dresden Files series) to promote the books and used the same cover art to the Dresden Files. Obviously the dimwit thought "urban setting with magic" and thought bingo Dresden fanatics will eat this up.
Sadly, while I like the Dresden Files the series are generally attractive to *completely different* readers. Dresden Files are PG-13 (morally centered decent heroes, clearly defined good and evil sides, a very well constructed world with traditional religious values, geek-loving reference to Star Wars, and the good guys save the world/girl in the nick of time etc.) and appeal to the masses. I'm not putting that down, there's nothing wrong with the Dresden Files and I really enjoy them.
However, in contrast, Twenty Palaces hits none of the same points as the Dresden Files or a Kim Harrison book. Ray Lilly and Annalise are serious flawed people with morality issues. There is only evil and a gestapo vigilante organization (The Twenty Palace Society) that is slightly less bad. The violence is brutal, the "good" guys are always too late to do more than damage control, and religion and belief in God won't save you from a horrible death. Altogether Twenty Palaces is a more realistic and sophisticated series BUT its an R-rated series. And it surely will not appeal to the same PG-13 readers. Finally, as it is set in an alternate "real" world some of the common thievery Ray performs or considers is a little off putting to the Dresden Files reader (who would probably be considered a "Victim" From Ray's viewpoint).
To the publisher - I advise relaunching the series in either the Horror genre or at least getting endorsements from darker authors (such as Simon Green, K.J. Parker or Dean Koontz).
To the potential reader, if you are getting a little sick of treacle, anti-heroes who are actually heroes with problems making logical arguments (I'm talking to you Kim Harrison, Laurell Hamilton, Lillith Saintcrow and 10 other similar authors), good guys winning all the time and you want something a little challenging and scary (scary cuz of the bad guys and of what the good guys will do to stop them) then pick up Twenty Palaces. Start at either Twenty Palaces:the Prologue, or Child of Fire. You won't be sorry.
The book is a good read and was well written. This is a great book for fans of horror stories.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is dark, gritty, painfully realistic at times.
The urban fantasy landscape is littered with similar and utterly...Read more
Well developed plot with a few twist for goog measure.