Monday, 2 April 2012

Fire Baptized

Title: Fire Baptized
Series: Habitat #1
Author: Kenya Wright
Pages: 286 (ebook)
Published: January 16th 2012
Published by: Dragonfairy Press

Since the 1970s humans have forced supernaturals to live in caged cities. Silver brands embedded in their foreheads identify them by species: a full moon for Vampires, a crescent moon for Shifters, a pair of wings for Fairies, and the list goes on, for each supernatural species has been tagged and categorized by humans. 

Lanore Vesta is marked with a silver X, the brand of Mixbreeds, second-class citizens shunned by society. She stays to herself, revealing her ability to create fire only during emergencies. All she wants to do is graduate college and stop having to steal to survive. But when she stumbles upon a murder in progress, she catches the attention of a supernatural killer. Now all she wants is to stop finding dead bodies in her apartment. 

Enlisting help from her Were-cheetah ex-boyfriend MeShack and a new mysterious friend named Zulu, she is steered through the habitat’s raunchy nightlife. But their presence sometimes proves to be more burden than help, as they fight for her attention. 

While the corpses pile up, and the scent of blood fills the air, Lanore is left wondering: will she find the psycho or die trying?

Lanore is a Mixie - a half-breed in a world where various supernatural species live alongside humans. Or rather, live imprisoned by humanity in caged cities. She lives with MeShack (Meschach, Shadrach and Abednego anyone? Rather distracting while reading) in a rough part of the Santeria Habitat just outside of Miami. As a Mixie she is a second-class citizen, but still does her best to achieve something with her life, attending college rather than just falling into the life of the average half-breed which namely seems to involve illiteracy and drug abuse from what we are shown.

But then she witnesses a murder and gets herself into a whole lot of mess.

I think the world Wright has created is an interesting one, with a great deal of potential. There are nice introductions to the various species and factions working in the world without being overwhelming, and I want to know more about the history of the characters and the world, and want to know what the outcome is going to be of their imprisonment. As you can imagine, they aren't particularly happy with it, and with the abilities some of the creatures have (super speed/were-creatures/vampires etc.) there could definitely be some great stuff to come.

Lanore is a nice enough character. She is principled, caring and strong, but the life she has led has made her aware of her limits. For the most part she is sensible and doesn't just rush headlong into things. She has reasons and motivations which make sense. She is fire baptised - she can ignite fire from her body and control it with her mind where it already exists, within a certain range. The first time we see her use this weather conditions (i.e. torrential rain) make it pretty ineffective, and this is the impression that stayed with me through the book. This meant I was mildly surprised every time she used it at all well, even though I was aware of the adverse conditions under which my first impression was taken. I can't decide whether this is a good thing or not, whether it was done on purpose to make you underestimate the character as she is underestimated for being a Mixie, or whether it was just badly introduced.

Unfortunately, she is the only character we really get to know. The other two male leads form the inevitable love triangle: MeShack and Zulu. They both have their histories which come to play a little in this book, but I feel they will both be developed on a lot more in the future. As it stands at the moment, they namely seem to be there to form the requisite love triangle and be pretty. But Lenora isn't distracted by them (too much) which is nice. She stays focused on the task she has set herself: finding the killer.

The story trips along nicely, and there weren't really any sections which dragged. Some of the murder scenes were a little graphic, but nothing horrendous. One even had glitter which was a first for me! The climax on the other hand happened almost without me noticing. It was over in a matter of pages and I didn't ever really feel there was that much tension or anything. There was a lot more that could have been done with it. The end of the story itself was well done, in that there was a definite ending to the events of this book, but enough in the series arc to keep me interested (but for me not very excited, which would have been better) in what's coming next. I will be reading the next one, but I won't be jumping on it as soon as it's released.

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