Wright got it right! What an impressive debut effort!
Review: Kenya Wright’s Fire Baptized pleasantly surprised me! Just when I start to wonder if I’m just reading too much Urban Fantasy, I run into a fantastic story like this one.
There are no secret supernaturals here. Since the ’70s humans have isolated these species to live in restricted areas. Think District 9 with a little less slum…in some parts of town. They identify all of the different species with brands on their foreheads. Of course there is a class system within their kind, with mixbreeds being on the bottom. Our main character, Lanore, is one of these mixbreeds. Armed with the power of fire, she is far from helpless, but she doesn’t really look for trouble either; it merely finds her.
She ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time when she witnesses a grisly murder, eventually making herself a target for this satanic killer. The biggest fear is of the unknown. And to stop this killer she has to team up with a couple of hunky–but helpful–friends as she investigates the murder herself and tries to stay alive.
The world building is fantastic, intriguing, and easy to follow. Some of the characters and the monsters are awesome too, if not a bit sympathetic at times. The story is a shorter read than most, but it still qualifies as a novel and I felt that it was the perfect length. Because of this, I can honestly say that I wasn’t bored for a second. I would say that it’s a lighter Urban Fantasy with some dark elements to it because I did find myself laughing a good deal of the time.
Lanore is an African American character so I thought it was awesome to change it up from what we usually see (not that I don’t love that too). It’s just great to see diversity in this genre. I also really liked the descriptions of how she uses her fire power.
I don’t like love triangles and this one didn’t change my mind. That is pretty much the only harp I have with this book, so I grinned and beared it. Though there is interracial romance, the racism and discrimination is a species-based issue and it gets pretty ugly, making you really question “humanity” or the lack thereof.
Overall I am truly impressed, especially considering that this is Wright’s debut novel. It kicks off strong and never lets up. It was a very imaginative world and I am eager to read the next book. While this book solves the mystery, there is definitely a larger overarching plot that is developing, so we have a lot more to look forward to.
And on one last note, I must say that I love love love the subtlety of the cover. I think it looks great!
*ARC provided by the author