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Embers Mass Market Paperback – March 30, 2010
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“Bickle has something great in Anya. Embers has everything: demons, ghosts, dragons, love, sex, police, and murder.”
—M.L.N. Hanover, bestselling author of Darker Angels
“Gritty but never grim, Embers is a truly urban fantasy, where the soul of a city haunts every page. I can’t wait for more of Anya and the unforgettable Sparky!”
—Jeri Smith-Ready, award-winning author of Bad to the Bone and Shade
About the Author
Laura Bickle has worked in the unholy trinity of politics, criminology, and technology for several years. She and her chief muse live in the midwest, owned by four mostly-reformed feral cats. Her short fiction has appeared here and there. Sparks is her second novel.
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Top Customer Reviews
I would have given Embers a higher rating, because it's a more than decent urban fantasy debut, but I got hung up on some of the heroine's romantic entanglements. I seriously could not puzzle out her motivations, especially with regards to the solo sex scene, so I'm going to call this 3.5 stars. Mystery is good in a story, but not when it involves stuff inside the heroine's head. I want to understand everything about her, and I just didn't get it this time. That stuff aside, which I can't really discuss in depth because it's getting into spoiler territory, I thought Embers introduced me to a strange new supernatural world that I'd like to explore.
Residents of Detroit will either read this novel and get mad, or agree wholeheartedly, but the city itself is an integral part of the story, and I especially like how the Devil's Night tradition was included. Have you ever heard of this? I didn't believe it myself until I talked to a friend, but on the night before Halloween, the city of Detroit goes crazy. Criminal activity runs rampant, and apparently arson is the favored crime, with 500 to 800 fires set in the three days leading up to Halloween (according to my online BFF, Wikipedia). I thought it was brilliant how the plot melds seamlessly into this annual event, and Laura Bickle's descriptions of Detroit are so bleak it brings Gotham City to mind.
While I've already made it clear that the romance stuff didn't work for me, I will say that everything else in Anya's life was extremely interesting. The first ingredient of a compelling UF is an adorable familiar. Sparky meets these qualifications in spades, and my only regret is that they didn't feature him on the cover somehow. A fiery salamander would have lightened the moody, brooding cover art. The ending was a bit predictable - I knew who was going to be the `sacrifice for the greater good' without a doubt - so I'm hoping that book two, Sparks, will manage to shock me. Look for it August 31, 2010.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Apparently Anya can see ghosts, the good and the bad ones.Read more
I absolutely love the Urban Fantasy (UF) genre, along with Paranormal Romance, it definitely gets the top spot in my heart as for my taste in reading.Read more