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Fire Baptized Paperback – January 28, 2012
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I was really impressed that even though she incorporated pretty much any/all possible creatures in a UF setting was able to craft a world that seemed refreshingly new and interesting. I particularly liked how there were different habitats/prisons for different religions. The use of magic was really intriguing and I thought the use of silver brands in a person’s forehead to denote what “species” they were was pretty unique.
I normally loathe love triangles and well ... saw this one coming. But, I kept reading because the rest of the actual story had me riveted ... as in before I got
50%into the book I stopped to buy the rest of the series kind of riveted. Each of the two love interests have their pros and cons, but MeShack’s being a man-whore kinda soured him for me at the start. Zulu, well, he’s basically blood thirsty and determined ... can’t think of anything else right now!
Either way it didn’t seem important, at least important enough to over shadow the real story. That little mini battle was incorporated seemlessly into the main plot. I was kept guessing as to who the serial killer was throughout a good portion of the book. I would have never picked who had actually been the murderer. Once everything was explained and laid out it made sense.
All in all this was a great read that I would highly recommend to someone who is looking for something different from the usual fair that is out there in the same category.
Lanore Vesta is a Mixedblood creature capable of absorbing and throwing fire. As a Mixedblood she's always been looked down upon by those of Pureblood, but it doesn't stop her from fighting for equality for those of her kind. Through her work with the MFE she's introduced to the supremely sexy, and extremely radical, Zulu who throws her hormones into a tizzy. As if one sexy man weren't enough, Lanore lives with her childhood friend MeShack who's her ex-lover but still in love with her. She is perfectly compatible with each shifter, making for a difficult choice between the two. They both trust in her ability to take care of herself but don't hesitate in playing the hero without diminishing her capabilities. Throughout the story I found Lanore to be an extremely likable character willing to sacrifice herself to save others. She had a tough childhood but hasn't let it weigh her down. She's smart and strong and is the epitome of what I enjoy in a heroine.
Zulu and MeShack are the perfect kinds of heroes. They're sexy, strong, and charming when need be. They both genuinely care for Lanore and would literally die for her. Seeing them verbally spar over her while outflexing each other leads to some humorous moments amidst the grisly sacrificial murders occurring. I look forward to seeing how this love triangle plays out now that an unexpected event occurred between Zulu and Lanore. And if MeShack needs any consoling, I hereby volunteer my services!
The worldbuilding in this story is vividly unique and the class warfare occurring is very timely and relatable. The war between the races is just heating up and there's a sense that much blood will be shed as the series continues. I'm particularly worried about Zulu considering his radical political views and inability to think first before acting. Thank heavens he has Lanore as his second-in-command. As if the class warfare wasn't bloody enough, there's a sacrificial religious zealot on the loose. The murders are grisly and yet intriguing and the identity of the villain is kept well-hidden. The final confrontation between the murderer and Lanore is exciting and action-packed and leads to a rousing conclusion for the story.
This was a satisfying story from start to finish amidst a world that was unique and full of memorable characters. I'm excited to see where things go not only on the political level but on the romantic level as well. I'm definitely excited to revisit this world and hope Ms. Wright writes quicker!
Why did I wait so long to read this book? Perhaps, because I expected it to fizzle out for me. I thought it might catch my attention at the beginning but then ultimately get boring. This was my expectation because with very few exceptions most urban fantasy books have been causing this reaction in me for the past 12-18 months. Fire Baptized is different than most urban fantasy books I have read and as a result I devoured it in 24 hours. I loved it. Simultaneously, it shares a lot in common with the very good and memorable Urban Fantasy books .
Kenya Wright has created this amazingly unique but believable setting of an urban fantasy world in our present time but which exists in a slightly altered reality where supernaturals are known and exist in a variety of creatures: shifters, fae, vampires, demons and witches. Humans have branded all supernaturals and imprisoned them to live in caged cities. Among the supernaturals there is prejudice against "mixies" which are the result of mixing between two different supernatural races. Two of the main characters are mixies, Zulu and Lanore. The other main character is MeShack and he is a shifter. The story revolves around these three characters but is told from the first person point of view of Lanore.
The characters are young, college aged and the setting is very dark, very gritty and very urban. The cage this group of supernaturals lives in is located in Miami and the focus of the religion and culture is Santeria. I haven't read another urban fantasy book with a similar setting (Miami), a cultural focus of non-European white and a mythology focus on Santeria. If anyone has - please share, I am interested in reading it. I am aware of Outside the Bones, but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet.
Ms. Wright richly develops the world her book takes place in without the typical information drop that so many fantasy and urban fantasy books suffer from. Instead, readers learn what they need to as the book progresses. And thank you for that! I hate info drops. The book centers around some bizarre murders and Lanore's desire to track down the murderer but, thank goodness, the detective aspect is not overdone or boring.
Lanore is not perfect. In fact she is pretty flawed. She is a thief, some readers may be irritated by her sexual boundaries (I am not one of those readers by the way) and she has little trust in authority or those around her. She is still living with and most likely still in love with her ex-boyfriend, for complicated reasons, and she is very interested in a man who is involved in a political revolutionary group for which she co-leads.
Many, most (all?) popular urban fantasy, paranormal romance and fantasy books have as their focus a couple being brought together. Love seemingly conquers all and is exclusive - once the couple acknowledges their feelings for each other the attraction and sexual feelings for anyone else disappear. But is this realistic? Not in my world. I have found, that sex, love and dating is not as linear and perfect as the monogamous ideal portrayed in most genre fiction. Fire Baptized may uncomfortably push the boundaries for many people. Lanore is clearly interested in two men, her interest and ambivalence is not a secret. And both men are likable, sexy and deserving of her attention. But I gotta say I prefer MeShack.
There are detailed sex scenes (thank god), more detailed murder and gore scenes, emotional background stories, the death of characters and some gritty strip club scenes. All good stuff. I have already bought the second in this series and am hopeful that Kenya writes the third in this series and completes it soon!
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