Child of Fire by Harry Connolly
Ray Lilly is what the driver and assistant to Annalise Powliss, a high ranking and very strong member of a group of sorcerers who hunt down and destroy rogue magicians. Unfortunately for Ray, he is her assistant under duress. He is there to be a sort of cannon fodder actually. The mission goes horribly wrong and takes Annalise out of commission and Ray has a choice…to ride in on the proverbial white charger and to try and save the day, the town and it‘s inhabitants or to wimp out and try to save his own neck.
“Children of Fire” is being marketed to the readers who happen to like Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series. I think they might be making a mistake. I think that this book is so fantastic and different, that it should also be marketed towards the fans of Stephen King or Dean Koontz. “Child of Fire” reads more like an early King horror novel than a simple speculative fiction. If you are a fan of speculative romance, this may not be for you, but I really urge you to try it. The characters are so well written, the pacing is so brisk and the mystery is complex enough that you won’t even miss it. There is enough evilness and horror to keep even the most jaded reader looking behind his shoulder at night.
The only fly in the ointment is some of the interaction between Ray and Cynthia Hammer. Sometimes it seems a little forced and doesn’t ring true.
This is a roller-coaster of a ride. I never felt the need (like I have been needing to do a lot lately with new authors) to skim through boring or slow parts, or excessively long inner-dialogs dealing with the protagonists regrets and past. This book kept me chained to my reading chair until I finished it. Well not literally, but you know what I mean!! There is enough back-story to make you understand why Ray is doing what he’s doing, but not enough so that we don’t still have more questions for Ray and Annalise. I truly couldn’t put it down. A new installment to this series - “Game of Cages”, should be out in May of 2010. I can not wait.