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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Embers - Laura Bickle

Title: Embers
Author: Laura Bickle

Format: Ebook provided by Bewitching Blog Tours for Review

From Goodreads:
Unemployment, despair, anger--visible and invisible unrest feed the undercurrent of Detroit's unease. A city increasingly invaded by phantoms now faces a malevolent force that further stokes fear and chaos throughout the city. 

Anya Kalinczyk spends her days as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department, and her nights pursuing malicious spirits with a team of eccentric ghost hunters. Anya--who is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern--suspects a supernatural arsonist is setting blazes to summon a fiery ancient entity that will leave the city in cinders. By Devil's Night, the spell will be complete, unless Anya--with the help of her salamander familiar and the paranormal investigating team --can stop it. 

Anya's accustomed to danger and believes herself inured to loneliness and loss. But this time she's risking everything: her city, her soul, and a man who sees and accepts her for everything she is. Keeping all three safe will be the biggest challenge she's ever faced.


Embers is the first book in the Anya Kalinczyk series, which is based in Detroit!  Hometown love!  I tried very hard to not let the familiarity of the places in the books mess with my opinion, and I think I did pretty well.  I liked this book overall.  There were some parts that were a little slow for me, and some of the Detroit references got to be a bit much for me – but once the action was going, it was an easy coast to the end.

Anya is a fire investigator for the Detroit Fire Department.  She’s also a supernatural being, a Lantern to be exact.  She can see ghosts, and sort of…devour them.  The way she says it, she takes them into herself, and incinerates them within.  And on top of all that, she uses her supernatural skills working for the DAGR (Detroit Area Ghost Rescuers).  That’s one busy lady. 

There is a serial arsonist in Detroit, and as it turns out, the fires might have a supernatural connection.  Enter Drake Ferrer.  I don’t like him.  He isn’t the sexy villain, except that he does have some sort of appeal.  I just can’t put my finger on it.  Anya is drawn to him because he is a Lantern like she is, only more powerful.  Not to mention that he is the only other one she knows of.  But she is the arson investigator, and well, he’s the bad guy. With Drake I kind of felt like he was not the evil guy in black, but more the bad guy in heavy shades of gray.  I didn’t really warm up to him like I do most leading men, but he definitely had his moments.

Anya on the other hand… I liked her, but she just has problem on top of problem on top of problem – and none of them were getting solved.  That was a bit frustrating for me, but it definitely lent to the clicking tock feel towards the climax.  I found myself feeling sorry for her, and a bit frightened at the predicament she had gotten into.  She’s got the fires and Drake, her work with the DFD and DAGR, and then a demon possession on top of it all. 

And next, Sparky.  I loved him!  Sparky is Anya’s familiar, but not like a familiar that we are used to.  Sparky is a fire elemental, in the form of a salamander.  He is frisky and playful, and he has quite the personality.  When he isn’t needed, he can transform and reside in her necklace (which was handed down from her mother).   I guess that part is kind of hard to explain, but in a magical world anything is possible.  But you definitely get to see a mischievous side to him, and it brought a bit of fun and grins to the story.

There are plenty of characters in this book that I liked, but I didn’t really feel like I got to know much about them.  We get to know some of the ghosts more than the actual living humans.  The city is as much a character as anyone in this book.  I definitely think this is a book I would recommend to anyone interested in the fiery side of the supernatural, ghosts.  And if you are local to the area, you will definitely love it! 


Laura has worked in library science, criminology, and technology for several years. She and her chief muse live in the Midwest, owned by five mostly-reformed feral cats. She is represented by Becca Stumpf of Prospect Agency.

Twitter: @Laura_Bickle
Sparky the fire salamander from EMBERS and SPARKS has his own Twitter account, here: @SparkySalamandr