Title: Child of Fire
Author: Harry Connolly
Release Date: September 29, 2009
Publisher: Del Rey
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Source: Amazon Vine
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
From the publisher’s website:
Ray Lilly is living on borrowed time. He’s the driver for Annalise Powliss, a high-ranking member of the Twenty Palace Society, a group of sorcerers devoted to hunting down and executing rogue magicians. But because Ray betrayed her once, Annalise is looking for an excuse to kill him–or let someone else do the job.
Unfortunately for both of them, Annalise’s next mission goes wrong, leaving her critically injured. With the little magic he controls, Ray must complete her assignment alone. Not only does he have to stop a sorcerer who’s sacrificing dozens of innocent lives in exchange for supernatural power, he must find–and destroy–the source of that inhuman magic.
Child of Fire caught my eye when it said that it was recommended for fans of The Dresden Files (review of Small Favor and Turn Coat). Though I don’t read a lot of urban fantasy, I absolutely love The Dresden Files, so I definitely was willing to give Child of Fire a try. While I did enjoy it and think it has a lot of potential, it doesn’t quite live up to the promise of the books it has been compared to.
Ray Lilly is a very interesting character, though I’m not sure I actually liked him at the beginning of Child of Fire. He’s unscrupulous and doesn’t seem to have an innate sense of morality. Though he is trying to improve himself and stay clean in Annalise’s employ, I didn’t feel like I could trust him as a narrator. While that made it difficult to identify with him, it also made him a very interesting character that the reader is eager to dissect.
Luckily, Ray really develops as a character as the novel progresses. He turns into something much more by the end of Child of Fire – not exactly a “good” guy, but definitely someone the reader wants to know more about. He’s likely always going to have moral gray areas, but I hope the more appealing parts of his character will be fleshed out more in future novels in the series.
The story of Child of Fire was certainly interesting and unique. The setup of Ray being sent with Annalise to tackle different missions in different cities really has a lot of potential for future novels. It’s a way that Harry Connolly can really separate his series from The Dresden Files – there are some key differences right now, but on the whole they are a little too similar.
This series is definitely one to watch – I am curious as to how Connolly will develop these novels further and make them unique. Though I’m not sure these are the best novels for those who don’t usually read this genre, urban fantasy fans will likely really enjoy this one.