20 October 2011

Book Banter: Child of Fire

Title: Child of Fire
Author: Harry Connolly
Genre: Urban fantasy
Length: 343 pages
Plot Basics: Criminal Ray Lilly and Twenty Palaces Society member Annalise are sent to the small town of Hammer Bay to investigate magical disappearances of children. When Annalise is injured and not healing like she should, it's up to Ray and his small amount of magical power to find out the truth about the town and stop the predators harming the children. Ray's investigation riles up a whole host of secrets, threatening to rip the town apart.

Banter Points: I found the third (and sadly last) book in the series on the library's new book shelf, bearing a blurb from Jim Butcher and I immediately went to the stacks to find one and two. I wanted some new urban fantasy that didn't involve vamps/zombies/etc. and Connolly delivered.

I love love love the fact that he never fully explains the Twenty Palaces Society, their magic, etc. I love it because it keeps the story from getting bogged down backstory and infodumps. As a reader, I loved the mystery that I could related to Ray in not knowing exaclty who he was working for.

I like that Ray is not a nice guy and has to come to grips with right and wrong as he moves through the story.

I love the idea of magic tattoos (thanks Weis/Hickman and the Death Gate cycle for that one).

Bummer Points: Ray Lilly basically has one magic trick to solve all his problems, his ghost knife. It gets a little repetitive to see him use it over and over.

Of course, the big bummer is Del Rey has dropped Twenty Palaces and there won't be anymore. Connolly explains the whole thing over on his blog. My timing on this one sucked, seeing the announcement when I'm 2/3rds of the way through Child of Fire. I'm going to keep reading through books 2 and 3, but I'm bummed.

Word Nerd Recommendation: I have mixed feelings here, knowing that the series has been cancelled. Normally, I would say run right out and start reading, but... sigh... the writing is solid, but if you're looking for a long-term relationship with a series, know that you're going to be left hanging here.

1 comment:

Don said...

I get the basic reaction to the extreme use of the ghost knife but I think seeing it as a bummer misses the point of it. It's used extensively because it's Rays ONLY TOOL. And that fact is significant - it's a representation of how over his head he is. And we get a sense in this book that he's not entirely alone in this - Annalyse uses those ribbons pretty extensively and exclusively and Ray ponders at one moment how long it takes her to make more. She's on the next tier of power up from him but she's similarly limited, if just not as much so.