Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Review: Fireborn

Today I'm thrilled to be wrapping up the tour for Fireborn, the first installment of the new Souls of Fire series by Keri Arthur. I thoroughly enjoyed this book (as you'll see in my review below) and can't wait to see what future books have in store for Emberly!

Souls of Fire #1
Keri Arthur
Urban Fantasy
370 pages
Available Now
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
From New York Times bestselling author Keri Arthur comes a brand new series featuring heroine Emberly Pearson—a phoenix capable of taking on human form, and cursed with the ability to foresee death…

Emberly has spent a good number of her many lives trying to save humans. So when her prophetic dreams reveal the death of Sam, a man she once loved, she does everything in her power to prevent that from happening. But in saving his life, she gets more than she bargained for.

Sam is working undercover for the Paranormal Investigations Team, and those who are trying to murder him are actually humans infected by a plague-like virus, the Crimson Death—a by-product of a failed government experiment that attempted to identify the enzymes that make vampires immortal. Now, all those infected must be eliminated.

But when Emberly’s boss is murdered and his irreplaceable research stolen, she needs to find the guilty party before she goes down in flames…

Fireborn is the first in a new urban fantasy series from Ms. Arthur, thrusting us into a paranormal world full of the more familiar supernatural creatures such as vamps and weres, but utterly delighting us with the introduction of an entity we’ve seen very rarely (if at all): Phoenixes. Emberly is a phoenix, immortal in the sense that she experiences rebirth again and again and in possession of two separate forms when she calls on her fire. Given the unusualness of her kind, we find ourselves helpless to do anything but glory in everything we learn about her history, her various abilities, and the mythology of phoenixes in general. In addition to a truly fascinating protagonist in Emberly, we’re also given a complex mystery surrounding the Crimson Death virus, one that is clearly going to carry through future books despite the nice stopping point we find at the end of this first installment.

Emberly, while grabbing our attention from the beginning simply due to the fact that she’s a phoenix, also reaches out and tugs on our heartstrings as well, a troubled history with former lover Sam making itself known through clipped conversations and a painful exchange of barbs in the opening chapters. Though Sam’s anger at how his relationship with Emberly dissolved years prior is more than understandable when we learn what happened between them, we have the benefit of being in Emberly’s head rather than Sam’s, so we’re better able to see the why's of her actions when Sam can’t allow himself to see past his hurt. Thus we have the setup for what will undoubtedly be an emotional journey for the two of them, one that shows no signs of finding any type of resolution in the near future.

As is the case with many urban fantasy stories, Emberly is surrounded by a bevy of interested men, including Sam (though he fights it has hard as he can), but thankfully Ms. Arthur manages to create a situation between Emberly, Rory, Jackson and Sam that’s not nearly as frustrating as we might expect upon hearing of such a romantic setup. Each man has a distinct role in her life, but Emberly is not a woman who gets herself into irritatingly complex emotional entanglements, instead we learn early on that her heart belongs fully to Sam–despite his cool treatment of her throughout–while the other two fulfill very different types of needs or wants. Rory and Jackson are not love interests in any real way, they are friends, partners and sometimes lovers to Emberly, there for her when her heart or body take a brutal beating.

Overall, Fireborn is an intriguing start to the Souls of Fire series, giving our imaginations something new to play with as Emberly and Rory’s phoenixes take center stage, and ensuring our hearts are as involved as our minds thanks to Sam's heartbreaking presence in Emberly's life. Emberly is strong, smart and fiercely loyal to those she cares about (even if certain other people might argue the last one), and she is certainly someone with whom I can't wait to spend more time in the next installment.

Rating: 4/5

Find Keri:

*I'm the last stop on this month long tour, below is the full list of participating blogs so you can go back and check out additional reviews, excerpts and more!

6/23 - SciFi Chick
7/11 - Not Yet Read
7/14 - HEAs Are Us
7/15 - Live to Read


  1. That sounds so great - even though I am still worried about so many men, but then... maybe I'm not worried after all... :)) But yes I definitely want to meet Sam!

  2. Phoenixes!! That just got me right excited right there! I know I would react in the same way as you because it's something we've never seen before and new things are just fascinating. But it's definitely good that this one seems to have the goods to back up an awesome new paranormal entity, as cool as that is. Thanks for sharing this, Jenny - must add this to my tbr now!!

  3. I am so glad you liked this one Jenny because I really want to read it but have been hesitant after seeing a few negatives reviews for it. I think I will definitely add this one to the pile now.

  4. Was this once your WoW? Because I swear I've seen this book somewhere O______O Anyhow, yay for a new PNR! *reads the word phoenix* OHHH! It was on Jess and Carmel's blog. Ya yaa. Carmel loved it. Ok :D Now I know where I've seen this. The story and mythology of this world sound so wonderful and intriguing. I'm so glad that you liked Emberly as the MC. Though it already hurts me that Sam cannot bring himself to.. yeah. Heh, even though no LT, it's stil hard to think that she's with other men whle waiting for Sam to come back. I'm so happy to learn that you loved this one too :) Gorgeous review, lovely!

  5. So yeah, I read the word Phoenixes and I knew I needed to read this book! Adding to the TBR list like now!
    I'm also rather glad to hear that the guys situation is not one of those crazy triangle/heptangle/whatever, or at least it didn't feel like that for you!
    Thank you for another fantastic review that makes me want to get this one for sure, Jenny!

  6. oh yes this one. I wanted to much to read it and I can't wait to buy it so I'm glad to see you had a great time with it. I love the Keri Arthur's books and I'm really curious to try this new one. great review!

  7. I love that this has a phoenix as a main character. That's very different for UF indeed. I like the sound of Emberly as a character. She sounds badass and emotional at the same time. I'm glad to hear that she doesn't waver between the guys either. I like that she has some kind of tension with Sam. I definitely to try this one out.
    Lovely review, Jenny!

  8. *perks up* A bevy of interesting men? That's always a reason to pick up a book, Jenny! Always. Wasn't sure about this one so I didn't request it but I'm kind of regretting passing now!

  9. I'm intrigued by this... and the COVER. *pets it*

  10. It's been so long since I've read a Keri Arthur book, and one about Phoenixes sounds SO awesome, definitely am adding this one!

  11. I'm so glad I picked up this new series - Emberly is pretty amazing as a phoenix, and the way Keri Arthur weaves in the mystery, supernatural and romance - made it so easy to get lost in her book. I think you described perfectly her relationship with Sam (her true love) , Rory and Jackson. I want to know more about the cures, and what's up with Sam and who is the man in the dark?? LOL. Wonderful review!!

  12. Loving the cover of this book. And its about a Phoenix! Super cool!

  13. "As is the case with many urban fantasy stories, Emberly is surrounded by a bevy of interested men."<-----I love this. LOVE it, Jenny. The more, the merrier, I say ;) And I'm excited about this book. It's not often we get a new UF series about a not-yet-standard branch of the creature community that isn't . . . gross, LOL. Or questionably believable. YEP. Can't wait for this one. Glad you loved it too!

  14. I tend to have a love/hate relationship with her books. I do usually enjoy her worldbuilding and it looks pretty good here. Oh and since you enjoyed it so much I think I'll be more on the love side for this book. Yea, you got me putting this one on my wishlist.

  15. I still haven't tried anything by this author, I really need to check her out and I need a good new UF, so this is going in the maybe pile.

  16. I've heard some mixed things about this one but I'm glad you really enjoyed it. I love the idea of Phoenix's, that's definitely different!

  17. WHY have I not heard of this one before, Jenny?! WHY?! I think it's been over a year since I've read an urban fantasy novel, but I'm sold on this one - if only because Emberly sounds awesome! Lovely review!

  18. I am almost positive I read a review of this book recently only the cover may have been different? Either way, I'm so fascinated by a heroine who is a phoenix. I think my biggest drawback here are the multiple lovers scenario for which I'll be waiting before diving into this series. It seems to be a solid start to a new UF Series, though, and I can't wait to get around to it. :)

  19. Ahh this saddening thing about this is that I am really interested, especially since I can see one of my favorite tropes in here (SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE *flails*) but at the same time.. the idea of two other men makes me a little iffy. Especially since even though they are friends, they are also lovers. I think I may wait to see how things will play out with their relationship (although I am sure.. or I hope Sam will be the end game) before proceeding with this series.

    LOVELY review, Jenny!! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato