Thursday, January 24, 2013

Kissed by Fire – review

Author: Shéa MacLeod

Release date: 2012

Contains spoilers

The blurb: As a vampire bounty hunter, Morgan Bailey has seen her fair share of strange things. There was the time she got mixed up with a race of powerful immortals known as sunwalkers. Then there was that time she hooked up with a gorgeous Templar Knight. And oh yeah, there was also that time she uncovered the secrets of an ancient Atlantean artifact that everyone was killing each other over. So she’s confident there’s no supernatural challenge she can’t handle—until now.

When a murder investigation leads Morgan to London, she encounters something she never expected to see: dragons. It seems they might not be so extinct after all. Her one chance of preventing certain carnage if the dragons are unleashed is to confront the truth about her own past, and about the Darkness growing inside of her.

The review: When I reviewed Kissed by Darkness I wondered if the concept developed in that urban fantasy book would have enough legs to support a series. Having now read book two I would say so far so good. Like the first book it pretty much skipped along at a breakneck speed and, like the first book, pretty much eschews any romance despite being on the Montlake Romance label.

Perhaps it is there that I might pick at a few of the loose threads within MacLeod’s weave. It was a darn nippy little yarn but one got the feeling that the book took its own direction. The potential romance with character Jackson (held over from the first novel) was dealt a rapid death blow as though she had wanted to include it but the book said no… that said, such is the way of writing and such unconscious decisions often improve the book.

I could criticise the fact that, like many urban fantasy books, this is written in first person and thus the main villains are little more than cardboard cut-outs as we never really see their inner workings but, ultimately, it didn’t matter. The pace of the book kept it well on track.

The book does have a vampire element, but it is small, no more than an aside (though it does involve the vampire that originally attacked main character Morgan three years prior to the series start), but is mainly concerned with dragons. No new vampire lore is added into the series.

If I had a main worry it is the fact that this book managed to add another superpower into Morgan’s arsenal (she got the power of darkness last time, can you guess the new power by the title?) MacLeod runs the risk of her main character becoming too powerful but so far has balanced it out with those powers bringing their own peril. We shall see if that holds in future volumes. Over-all, however, good fun, fast paced and worth a read if you want a little bit of urban fantasy. 7 out of 10.

An abridged version of this review was first published on the Amazon UK product page.

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