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Firebug

Friday, September 29, 2017

Firebug (2014) Lish McBride

I have this thing where if I really love an author, I sometimes have difficulty starting a book in a new series. Because I’m afraid the new book won’t live up to my expectations of the other books I’ve read, so I keep putting off reading it.

Lish McBride fell into that category. I loved the Hold Me Closer, Necromancer series, and so when a new parallel series started I wanted the book immediately, but… didn’t want to read it.

Silly Michelle.

Ava is a firebug–a firestarter–but is trapped into a contract with the Coterie (think supernatural mob) as an enforcer, made to keep the one person she cares about safe from harm. But now she has new friends, and Venus (head of the Coterie) has more things with which to threaten her, and she is trapped into a contract she can’t escape but won’t fulfill.

I was chattel to Venus, queen of the manor and head of the Coterie. Lock and Ezra at least had the illusion of hope. Since they were tithes, their blood pacts were over at age twenty-five. They donated a few years of service to the Coterie, and Venus left their families alone. My contract only ended with death— mine or Venus’s.

Ava is your typical snarky teen, and delightful and complicated.

Duncan nudged a pot of jam closer to me. “To go with your butter,” he said.

I slathered my biscuit with jam. “Do you hear that cheering? That’s all the cholesterol in my arteries welcoming their new friends, butter and sugar. Yaaay, new friends.”

My immediate response wasn’t just no, it was hell, no. Extreme no. No ad infinitum, ad nauseam, with trained No! dancers doing a routine in sequins on top.

But it’s also supernatural fantasy, which means it has all kinds of interesting creatures, like Baba Yaga’s hut (a personal favorite).

Then we tracked it by the giant mounds of chicken poo. Lock stopped at one big pile with what was clearly a beanstalk growing out of it.

“The moron is feeding it magic beans.”

“He’s afraid,” I said. Lock squeezed my hand. Fear of the Coterie, of Venus, was something we both knew well.

“You’re going to have to burn these,” he said after we’d had our moment. “They’re an invasive species.”

I also like that as a YA book, there are bits scattered here and there that are thoughtful and useful but not overdone.

(W)hen you drink a lot, things tend to come out. I’ve seen drunk girls throw themselves at guys they wouldn’t normally give the time of day to, cry over ancient troubles, and generally place themselves in dangerous situations with questionable people. I’ve seen drunk guys act just as bad. This is not to say every drunk person I’ve ever seen is a train wreck, but when you mix a depressant with hormone-crazed kids who are already depressed most of the time, the mess gets worse.

That’s spot-on for the character, but also an interesting point to give to teens.

It’s also realistic in important ways.

Please. Let us make it out. Let me have this. I wanted those boats just as full when we left as when we arrived.

But even as I prayed I knew it wouldn’t happen. Coups were bought with blood. And no whispered entreaty to nameless deities would change that.

That’s a nice touch.

So of course it was good and of course I highly recommend it. Now I just have to watch for a price drop on the sequel.
Rating: 8.5/10

Published by Macmillan

Categories: 8/10, Covers, Fantasy, Urban, Young Adult     Comments (0)    



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