Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Review: Embers by Laura Bickle

Embers by Laura Bickle
An Anya Kalinczyk Novel
Publisher: Pocket
Pub. Date: March 30, 2010
Genre: Urban Fantasy
368 pages

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. (Summary from author's website)

Embers is the debut urban fantasy novel from Laura Bickle. Anya Kalinczyk is an arson investigator in Detroit, a ghost hunter, and most importantly a Lantern, the rarest kind of psychic medium. She also always wears a torque necklace around her neck that contains her familiar and guardian, Sparky, who is a Salamander, a fire elemental.

The book starts out with Anya helping out the Detroit Area Ghost Researchers (DAGR) where she must deal with a spirit in an old soda machine. Yes, you read that right a soda machine. As a Lantern she can destroy spirits, though it isn't something she likes to do. She helps out DAGR when they need her, but her day job is with the Detroit Fire Department as an arson investigator. She is currently dealing with a serial arsonist, who is leaving strange symbols at the scenes and causing impossible fires.

This case will bring her in to things she never expected, and make her face things about herself that she never wanted to face. Yet she may be able to learn more about what a Lantern is capable of and what really matters to her. You never know what you love until it could be destroyed.

I loved this book! Anya starts out trying so hard to keep herself so separate from everything so that she doesn't hurt anyone, yet she doesn't realize how many attachments to the world she really has. This book can be dark and gritty and show the darker sides to Detroit, but there're also lighter parts and beauty and hope.

Anya is a great heroine that goes through a huge transformation, and I loved taking that journey with her. The DAGR gang is fantastic, and I loved the whole dynamic of their little family. Brian, I want to know more about because he's my kind of guy, brainy, brave, and handsome. Drake is someone I ended up liking a lot too, though there were only so many ways that could end.

Then there's Sparky, the elemental familiar. My favorite familiar of all now. I absolutely adore Sparky! His Gloworm was awesome, I had one of those too! LOL His tendency to blow up things electronic was hilarious! He was fiercely protective of Anya and worried about her. I don't think I can explain how much Sparky had me laughing and smiling while I was reading this. Truly one of my favorite characters!

All in all this book is one of my favorite reads of the year so far! There are mediums, ghosts, demons, witches, people, and Sparky! It's urban fantasy through and through, and I can't wait to delve farther into this world Bickle has created. It's fantastic!

Anya Kalinczyk books:
1. Embers (available now)
2. Sparks (available August 31, 2010)

Writing as Alayna Williams
Dark Oracle (available May 25, 2010)

She will be here June 10th as a part of her Blog Tour for Dark Oracle, so make sure you check that out!

Discussion Questions for Blog w/ Bite:
1. So if you had the chance would you have a pet elemental, even with the inconvenience of broken microwaves?
Absolutely! I love Sparky! Of course, you probably already figured that out. LOL
2. What did you think about the relationship between, Brian, Anya and Drake?
I understood Anya's pull towards Drake, but I really like Brian and hope that thing escalate for them in the next book!
3. Did the book make you want to visit Detroit or steer clear?
I've been to Detroit before, and I really didn't feel a need to go back.
4. A big part of Embers surrounds paranormal activity and the whole Scooby style system....What do you think of shows like Ghost Hunter, Paranormal State and the such?
I really enjoy them, though I tend to forget about watching them unless someone reminds me. I don't think much of what is shown is real, but the entertainment is fun.
5. Do you believe in the paranormal world around us or chalk it up to complete fantasy and make believe?
I believe that there is plenty out there that we haven't discovered yet, and I'm open to things paranormal being out there, though I am a bit of a skeptic a lot of times.

*I purchased this book on my own.*


Candace said...

This sounds quite good! I'll have to add it to my TBR.

I have an award for you on my blog.

Paper Cut Reviewer said...

Ahhh!!! Now I really want to read this book lol!:) Thanks for the really awesome review Amanda!

Heather (DarklyReading) said...

Yeah, I'm so glad you liked the book - it's on my tbr pile and I was wondering if I should get it.. now I think I must!

Amanda Leigh said...

@Candace- Aw, thanks so much for the award!

@Steph- LMAO So read it! LOL And Thanks! :)

@Heather- Glad I could help. I really did love it!

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Thanks for the great review. I have this one on the list to get. I like the connection here, she works for the Fire Department as an Arson Investigator and her familiar is a Fire Elemental. Hmmm, does she like Fire? There seems to be a connection there.

Amanda Leigh said...

@Melissa- Fire is definitely something she understands. :)

Wings said...

great review!!

im glad you liked it :)

i really couldnt get into this one so im glad you were able to :)

Amanda Leigh said...

@Wings- This really is one of those books that I think you either love or you can't get into. I'm not sure if there will be much of a middle ground. Thanks!

My 5 Monkeys(Julie) said...

great review and agree with about how you can love or hate this book.