Embers (Anya Kalinczyk 1)
- Laura Bickle
In a city on the brink of social and economic collapse, arson investigator Anya Kalinczyk is struggling to hold her life together. By day she's caught up in the investigation of several deadly and unusual arson attacks; by night she's helping a misfit group of ghost hunters in their battle against Detroit's spiritual pests. Both are taking their toll on her, leaving her feeling increasingly isolated and lonely. When it becomes clear that the arson attacks are the work of a Lantern, a medium like Anya, she is locked into a deadly battle, not just for her own life, but the lives of the entire city.
Embers is a very different type of Urban Fantasy novel and I found it very refreshing. Our heroine, Anya is a lantern – able to see and speak to ghosts and occasionally she swallows them - but only if they are inferring with the living. She’s had a tough childhood and finds it difficult to trust others. However, she isn’t snarky or cold. What makes Anya different, in my opinion is that she thinks things through. She’s not a physical heroine, willing to kickbox everyone out the way but rather she uses her unique abilities and tries to solve things with research and greater knowledge. She feels more real than many ‘save the world’ heroines. Her fire elemental Sparky is a cute companion – I’d quite like one! And the rest of DAGR group help Anya to ground her and focus on the living.
One of the joys of this novel is the creepy atmosphere Laura Bickle creates especially during the exorcisms. The demon one sent a shiver down my spine and the description of the fire scenes seem well researched but not lecturing. Anya is a fantastic character and I like the way that not only does she change and evolve over the course of the story but so do others around her – especially the arsonist she’s chasing.
This book has some beautiful description in it – everything from the cookies baked to the church helps place it so much more in the real world. I actually wanted to visited Detroit when I’d finished as I felt I knew the city so well by the end. I already have the sequel, Sparks in my TBR pile so I’m sure I will be visiting again soon!
Recommended for fans of intelligent Urban Fantasy, Diana Rowland and Ilona Andrews. 9 out of 10.