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Embers (Anya Kalinczyk #1)

3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  1,200 ratings  ·  179 reviews
Truth burns.

Unemployment, despair, anger—visible and invisible unrest feed the undercurrent of Detroit’s unease. A city increasingly invaded by phantoms now faces a malevolent force that further stokes fear and chaos throughout the city.

Anya Kalinczyk spends her days as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department, and her nights pursuing malicious spirits with a...more
Paperback, 359 pages
Published March 30th 2010 by Pocket (first published March 8th 2010)
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The Holy Terror
*3.25 Stars*

This is sort of a tough one to review. I've lived south of Detroit for the better part of 25 years. This novel is set in and around Detroit so I knew I had to read it just for that fact alone. I think that I let the fascination of reading about somewhere that I'm familiar with overshadow some of the book's faults. By the last page though, it became clear that this was a less-than-perfect book.

Anya Kalincyzk is a fire investigator in Detroit, but she's also a Lantern - she has the abi...more
Catherine
When I first saw the description for this book I was intrigued. I hadn't read anything like it before, so, yay, unique setting! The world of Lanterns, ghosts, and elemental spirits was an interesting one. I liked the thought of the DAGR group, but the thought was much more exciting than the execution. I'll get to that though.

I appreciated the fact that Anya questioned what she did as a Lantern. She did it, yes, but not without questioning the morality of it. Who was she to interfere with the aft...more
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
I felt this was a bit different from the usual urban fantasy fare and I really enjoyed it. The protagonist was practical and fairly normal. She has a day job that she loves and it's one that it's hard for women to break into (though that's not mentioned) but she's moved up in the ranks. The descriptions of what it was like to be a firefighter were very good.

The plot was interesting. Though it was clear where it was going from about a third of the way in, the book was still entertaining. The act...more
Angie
I'm fairly certain I ran across my first mention of Laura Bickle's debut urban fantasy EMBERS in one of Doug's alarmingly thorough and most excellent urban fantasy round-ups over at SciFiGuy. And, as always, I responded immediately to the Chris McGrath cover art. His style works for me and I liked the wavering title font, the torque around the woman's neck, and the burning city behind her. Little did I know how accurate the attention to detail on all of these elements was. Having read the book,...more
Katie(babs)
If Laura Bickle ever needed a theme song for her debut novel, Embers, it would have to be Fire Burning by Sean Kingston. That song kept running through my head as I read. There are a whole lot of fires burning due to a supernatural arsonist bent on revenge. The one person who may be the only one to stop this madman is Anya Kalinczyk, an arson investigator for the Detroit Fire Department. It's bad enough that Detroit is riddled with crime and unemployment, including a bad case of hauntings and d...more
All Things Urban Fantasy
Review courtesy of AllThingsUrbanFantasy.blogspot.com

EMBERS has a fantastically gritty cover from the talented Chris McGrath, a paranormally enhanced version of Detroit, and a unique supernatural concept for its main character. With so much going for it, I feel like I should have liked this book more. The blurb sounded exactly like the kind of urban fantasy stories I love…but I struggled almost from the beginning to connect with both the characters and plot.

By day, Anya is an arson investigator...more
Ann Aguirre
This is an awesome debut. I loved it. The best thing about it was how different and dark and gritty it was. Anya is a different sort of heroine, and Sparky was freakin' awesome. I loved the Detroit setting, and it all felt very real to me. It was also a welcome change of pace from vampires and such.

Embers passed my highest UF test, which means I finished it and immediately gave it to my husband Andres, saying, "Read this, you'll love it."

He loves UF but he's pickier than I am, so I don't autom...more
Dark Faerie Tales
Quick & Dirty: An extraordinary tale of danger, ghosts and magic that will have you clamoring for more.

Opening Sentence: Truth burned. It always burned, even in the dark, cold hours of the morning when nearly everything slept.

The Review:

Anya has a day job as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department. When the freaks come out at night, she works with a ragtag group of ghost hunters aka the Detroit Area Ghost Researchers, fighting the good fight against malevolent spirits. Anya is...more
Nan
Jun 14, 2010 Nan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Nan by: Angie
I picked up this book on recommendation from Angie; she really enjoyed reading an urban fantasy that was set in Detroit.

As someone that's worked in Detroit for the past seven years, I was also eager to read this book. I don't live in the city, but I've worked there long enough to see the cycles of hope and improvement followed by despair and unemployment that plague this city. I've long thought that Detroit was a city calling out for urban fantasy. It's a location rich in history and darkness th...more
Cathy
3.25 stars. I like that Anya feels like a normal woman just trying to do her best. She's not a born hero, despite the talents she was born with. She's a regular woman who's trying to balance her job and her other responsibilities, working hard to make herself into a person she can respect. I love Sparky and his Glowworm, too cute. I like the DAGR scooby gang, it's not an original idea but it's well executed. I like the use of ghosts, there's a nice feeling of reality to it somehow; it's done wit...more
Kelly
(3.5 stars) In her debut novel, Laura Bickle introduces us to Anya Kalinczyk, a woman as troubled as her home city of Detroit. Like many of her sister urban-fantasy heroines, Anya has a tragic past and uses it as a reason to push people away. She works as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department and moonlights with a ghost-hunting team. Anya is a Lantern, which means she has the rare ability to consume ghosts and demons. She also has a familiar spirit, Sparky, a fire elemental who...more
Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead
I grew in Detroit. I remember Devil's night. As a kid I thought it was fun being scared of what could possibly happen on the night before Halloween. As a teenager, while watching my neighbor's house burn down, the night had a new horrifying meaning.

When I heard about this book, I pre-ordered it. I didn't know the author and I didn't know what I was getting myself into. All I knew was Devil's night was a great premise for a potentially great story.

Boy was I right. Laura Bickle did such a great jo...more
Angela James
I just couldn't warm up to this heroine (there's irony in those words, since she's an arson investigator). I actually got to chapter fourteen and finally just flipped to the end to see what happened. The book had some intriguing elements, and the writing was serviceable, but it lacked that spark that I needed to really draw me into the story (sorry, unintentional play on the whole fire angle, again). The heroine was just too...depressed. For her, everything about her life was hard, she didn't ev...more
Larissa
My Rating: 3 & 1/2 stars out of 5!

I absolutely love the Urban Fantasy (UF) genre, along with Paranormal Romance, it definitely gets the top spot in my heart as for my taste in reading. It is specially amazing when a new book or series comes along with a new take on an old theme or deals with a subject that hasn’t been written about before.

Embers is all about fire and fire creatures, it tells the story of Anya, a Arson Investigator for the Detroit Fire department that is also a Lantern. She...more
Lexie
Originally I had no intention of reading Embers. I'm a little burned out from Urban Fantasies, at least starting new series, and had resolved to take a break. Best laid plans and such found me buying Embers and then reading it in relatively quick order.

The tone of the novel was much darker than I expected, exploring several deeper emotions such as lust, guilt and personal responsibility in slightly uncomfortable ways (for me at least). Anya is a conflicted young woman with deeply rooted guilt i...more
Kathryn
It took longer than I prefer to feel attached to this book and the start was very slow yet I was hooked by the end. Urban fantasy is best in my opinion when the supporting cast is strong and I loved the secondary characters in this book. First books are always the most difficult for me but the setting felt real, I loved how myth was intertwined so well with the plot, and I love the world the writer has created.

There are no werewolves or vampires here so this might be a breath of fresh air for U...more
Darcy
I had high hopes for this one, but it really fell flat for me. At page 60 I find that I just can't bring myself to go on. The book is boring a little tedious for me. The whole salamander thing creeps me out. Anya was wishy washy for me. In the end this book just isn't for me.
Blodeuedd Finland
I do love a good sidekick and this book had such a good one. A salamander named Sparky who chased cats and licked toasters cos he likes electricity.

But to the book then. Anya can see ghosts and eats them. Well the bad ones as she does not always feel good afterwards. She is a Lantern. She was not kick-ass but at the same time she was. She was more protective kick-ass. A former firefighter turned fire investigator. To serve and protect. That is who she is. She loves this city.

The story is about...more
Sabrina
Wow! That's the only way I could think to start this review. This is an amazing, blow your mind if you love Urban Fantasy, debut novel by Laura Bickle.

I literally had to look three times to remind myself that this was a debut novel. The world-building is so compelling and fastinating, that I felt there was no way this was her first book!

This quote from M.L.N Hanover, bestselling author of Darker Angels, from the front cover really hit the nail on the head.

"Bickle has something great in Anya. Em...more
Melindeeloo
An arson investigator for the Detroit Fire Departmen, Anya Kalinczk, tries to keep her day job seperate from her night time activities as a Ghost Hunter who literally gobbles up unruly spirits. But that's just not going to be possible - a new serial arsonist on the loose and with all the clues having no mundane explanation, it's clear that the perp is using magic. So Anya has to catch the fire mage before he strikes again, because the fires are actually a magical summons and Detroit is just not...more
Sapphyria
I really enjoyed Laura Bickle's gritty urban fantasy novel based in Detroit, Michigan. I'm slightly biased since I'm from Michigan and have been to Detroit many times...thankfully I didn't have to deal with paranormal arsonists hellbent on raising an evil entity set on destroying the not only the city but the world.

Anya is a Lantern, a special form of medium that has the ability to devour spirits. They are drawn to her elemental light and then she goes through the painful process of eating them...more
chucklesthescot
Anya works for the fire department in Detroit but she is also a Lantern-she has the ability to 'eat' troublesome ghosts and remove them from this world. Her talents are often called on by her friends in a ghost hunting group. But now Anya faces a paranormal firebug intent on raising a mythical creature to burn down the city, and has to deal with a demon starting to possess her. Being attracted to the firebug does not help matters...

I liked this book. Anya was a good character and I liked the ide...more
Michele Lee
Anya is an arson investigator in Detroit who has just discovered a ritual symbol and a countdown on the floor of a burned warehouse. She's also a Lantern, charged with elemental fire magic and a devourer of wandering spirits (a gift she reluctantly puts to use in her off time work as a ghost hunter). Her private and professional lives are about to collide when she finds out her firebug might be a Lantern too.
Embers is different in a number of ways. Detroit and its decay play a very important ro...more
Steph
Embers introduces us to Anya Kalincyzk, an arson investigator for the Detroit Fire Dept by day and a medium for the Detroit Area Ghost Researchers (DAGR) by night. Anya is the rarest type of medium: a Lantern. "Spirits are inexorably drawn to her, like moths to a flame." Lanterns are unusual. She's never met another one. "Like a human bug zapper, she took spirits into her inner elemental light and devoured them, incinerating them."

DAGR is made up of Jules, Brian (techie), Max, Katie (witch) and...more
Cherry Mischievous
My Thoughts:
I looked forward to this book because I liked the premise. But somehow it fell just short of my expectations. It is still a very good book. It was just that maybe I was expecting a bit more than what I got. My expectations was just a bit too much and I got a little disappointed. This was the main reason why this book did not get a 5 out of 5...

What I liked about the book: I liked the way the story was told. The author has a very nice "voice" indeed, to keep my interest engaged. She h...more
Liz
This...wasn't bad. It's not mind-alteringly awesome; I'm not going to rave about it and accost people with copies of the book telling them they need to read it NOW! (Yes, I do actually do that.) It was, however, better than many of the urban fantasy books I've tried lately. I'd say it rates above a "meh" but below a "shiny" (which is itself below an "awesomesauce," just in case you're keeping track.)

The narrative stayed fairly tight, only wandering on occasion. The main characters were fairly we...more
Tez
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stacy
Reviewed by http://urbanfantasyinvestigations.blo...

This book had such mixed reviews it took me almost a year to finally read it. Ive read Laura's other series under the name of Alayna Williams and really enjoyed it, I also saw a review of this series from a reviewer I trust the opinion of and finally decided to give it a try. Laura has a wonderful way of bringing unique situations to her books, her writing style is also very engaging. Anya was easy to like and easy to follow, she is very troubl...more
Sarah (Workaday Reads)
I love Sparky! He's my favourite character. So mischievious and loyal. He really stands out as a unique sidekick.

I found the mythology in the story was very interesting. The use of ghosts as secondary characters was quite unique and refreshing. Especially since they were mostly victims or allies. These are your typical scary ghosts.

The romance in the story was passionate and steamy without being graphic. It really added that extra oomph to the story.

One thing I would love would be to see a pictu...more
Jessica
What I liked: Strong characters, excellent world-building (drawing from multiple mythologies usually bugs me, but Bickle seems aware enough of their relationships and differences that I actually liked it), a fast pace and Anya's elemental familiar, Sparky--I want one of my own!

What I didn't: parts reminded me of that stupid Ghost Hunters show and the final confrontation with Sirrush was really cheesy, but those are pretty minor complaints about a really fun book. I'm looking forward to the next...more
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2964564
Laura Bickle has worked in the unholy trinity of politics, criminology, and technology for several years. She and her chief muse live in the Midwest, owned by four mostly-reformed feral cats.

Her work has been published in Midnight Times, Down in the Cellar, MicroHorror, Theaker's Quarterly Fiction,Ballista , Byzarium, New Myths,a Blog-O-Novella office soap opera for True Office Confessions, and Ao...more
More about Laura Bickle...
The Hallowed Ones (The Hallowed Ones, #1) The Outside (The Hallowed Ones, #2) Sparks (Anya Kalinczyk, #2) Untitled (The Hallowed Ones, #3) The Raven King

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