Friday, June 22, 2012

Embers by Laura Bickle

by Laura Bickle
Series: Anya Kalinczky #1
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication date: March 20, 2010
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
Purchase: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository

Truth burns. 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. (synopsis from B&N)
Embers, is the first novel in the urban fantasy series Anya Kalinczyk by Laura Bickle. The setting is Detroit and focuses on Anya Kalinczyk an arson investigator and physic medium known as a Lantern. She has the ability to see ghosts and crosses entities over who should not be here. This was an intense read as Anya with the help of her friends tries to stop an arsonist. I quickly consumed this novel and will be continuing the series.

As Bickle sets up this world, we meet protagonist Anya. As a Lantern she has the ability to absorb, eat, swallow and remove entities from this world and from the bodies of the possessed.  It isn’t something she is exactly comfortable with, but she assists DAGR (Detroit Area Ghost Rescuers) when they need her expertise.  DAGR investigates paranormal activity and cleans homes of evil entities. When, Anya and her side-kick Sparky remove a demon from a possessed girl it attaches itself to Anya. At the same time Anya is investigating a series of arson fires. The person responsible is leaving behind strange Egyptian symbols. When a firefighter is killed things escalate. Anya quickly discovers this person is a supernatural being who is trying to summon an ancient creature to destroy Detroit. The tale that unfolds is filled with witchcraft, supernatural elements, myths and enough action to keep you up late as you race to discover what happens.

Anya reminds me of Rachel from the Hollows without the whining. Crap keeps happening to her throughout the book which made it suspenseful but gosh, at times I felt sorry for her. She is tough, fearless and has issues. She is afraid to let herself get to close to anyone but Sparky. She fears she will somehow hurt them. She isn’t completely comfortable in her role as Lantern and hasn’t really learned enough about her skills. With the exception of an incident that occurred involving the arsonist, I liked Anya. Sparky her familiar just rocks! He is a fire elemental who takes the form of a giant salamander. He gets into all sorts of mischief and I adored the scaly little fellow. He is completely loyal to Anya and is invisible to humans. This creates some weird situations for Anya, and deeply affects her love life. Brian is the geeky member of DAGR and he totally has a thing for Anya. He knows about Sparky and what Anya can do, but she keeps pushing him away. Despite her outward attitude, she has feelings for Brian. Watching the sparks fly off these two was fascinating. While this romance takes a backseat to the intense action; I am looking forward to watching it develop. Other team members of DAGR add to the tale, as do the members of the fire and police department.  The arsonist Drake is interesting. As Anya learns more about him, I struggled to hate him and Anya feels drawn to him. They share some pretty intense scenes.

The world-building was original and I definitely want to learn more about Lanterns. The supernatural, religious and mythical elements made this tale appealing. There is something about demonic possession that grabs my interest. The witchcraft and summoning completely drew me in. Why not a five rating? From the beginning I was hooked as Bickle drove us at a rapid, hair-raising pace toward the climatic ending and that’s when we ran out of gas. While I liked what occurred, the delivery felt rushed, and I found myself rereading to understand what occurred. Despite the lackluster ending I have every intention of reading the next installment to this series.

I recommend Embers to fans of urban fantasy. This was an action packed ride, with some humorous elements and an awesome side-kick. The next novel called Sparks is currently available and I hope to bring you a review of it over the summer. I have added Bickle to my authors to watch list.

I gave this novel 3.5 coffee cups out of 5.

Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

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At June 22, 2012 at 1:31 AM , OpenID mariposaspring said...

The demonic presence scare me quite a bit, especially about the Lantern's abilities... But Brian and Anya sound interesting haha!


At June 22, 2012 at 8:45 AM , Blogger Nick said...

I love the cover of the book. Anya looks really kick-butt in that !
The book sounds really interesting and it seems that in general, you did enjoy the book. Thanks for sharing ! :)
Great review, Kimberly !

At June 22, 2012 at 1:12 PM , Blogger Sophia said...

Anya sounds like my kind of protagonist! :D Fearless and tough. This urban fantasy sounds really cool. I'm glad you liked this book, Kimba! Hopefully the series just gets better and better. :)

At June 22, 2012 at 2:51 PM , Blogger Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings said...

I don't know possession is one of those topics that weirds me out! This does sound good even though the ending was a bit of a let down it wasn't a cliffie was it?

At June 22, 2012 at 3:53 PM , Blogger Blodeuedd said...

Sparky was the best thing about the book :D I loved him! And yay that you did not end up hating the book

At June 22, 2012 at 5:52 PM , Blogger samantha.1020 said...

I enjoyed this book when I read it as well! I've been meaning to continue on with the series since then but I just haven't found the time. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it....your review made me want to grab the next book now. LOL!

At June 22, 2012 at 8:19 PM , Blogger Michelle @ Book Briefs said...

Tis book looks great! Thanks for bringing it to my attention, I hadn't heard of it before :) great review

At June 22, 2012 at 9:01 PM , Blogger Celine said...

Don't think I've heard of this book before but it sounds really interesting! And the cover looks really cool!

Awesome review, Kimba! ♥ Glad you enjoyed it!

At June 23, 2012 at 12:42 AM , Anonymous Christy @ Love of Books said...

Rachel doesn't whine!! She.... well.... okay, maybe a little. lol

Seriously, this sounds good.


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