Saturday, February 11, 2012
Well, lookit that! It's Saturday! That means it's time to fill yo brain with the words, my friends.
When I first picked up Child of Fire by Harry Connolly at Sara's recommendation, I wasn't sure it was my thing. I'm used to the amiable male protagonist like Harry Dresden, or a sarcastic, wise-cracking guy like James Stark. Ray Lilly is nothing like that. He's an ex-convict who realizes that the magic user he's working for would be absolutely thrilled if he died screaming. This fact understandably colors his judgement, overwhelms his personality and lends itself to a grim tone for a very dark story. And yet it's a hell of a ride once you adjust yourself to the tone of the book.
The children of Hammer Bay, Washington are dying. One by one, they are bursting into flames and all that remains of them are horrific silver worms that burrow into the ground. Once they've combusted, no one even remembers that these kids ever existed - not even their parents. Ray Lilly and the magic-user he works for are dispatched by the Twenty Palaces Society to find out what is going on. Ray's boss, Annalise, will do anything to stop what she finds in the sleepy little town of Hammer Bay, and little things like collateral damage and hurting innocent people mean nothing to her. Armed only with a bespelled paper knife and a few protective tattoos, Ray struggles to come to terms with Annalise's callousness and the hard decisions he has to make to save Hammer Bay, and maybe the world.
This is the darkest book I've read in awhile. The next ones in the series only get darker, though Ray becomes less grim and more likable over time. The writing in this book is excellent and Ray Lilly is like no one I've seen in an urban fantasy. Even though he's considered entirely disposable by his powerful mentor/owner, he perseveres and does his best in the face of overwhelming odds. I like that about him. Plus, I actually had a nightmare about what they find in Hammer Bay. Yikes.
And hey, this book is $0.99 on both the Nook and the Kindle, currently. Give it a look - can't beat the price of admission.