new_user's Reviews > Firelight

Firelight by Kristen Callihan
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's review
May 06, 14

bookshelves: paranormal-romance, first-reads, historical
Recommended to new_user by: AH
Recommended for: fans of A Rose in Winter
Read from January 22 to 24, 2012

Despite rough beginnings, Firelight by Kristen Callihan ends as a fun debut.

Callihan worried me when Firelight opened with one cliché stumbling over another cliché, smoking another cliché. The opening revealed some of Callihan's weaknesses, i.e. a tendency to wax purple when attempting flowery scenery, a bit of exaggerated insta-love, a beautiful-but-not heroine, and some self-conscious references to English culture by English characters. When I saw the girl in trousers, I groaned.

However, Firelight flies the gates with an action scene, and only a chapter or two further, Callihan abandons those problems and hits her stride with tighter language and a tighter, no-nonsense narrative. She doesn't waste pages on slow-as-molasses internal hand-wringing, parlor tittering, or shopping trips. Her pacing's smooth, fast, and she zooms in with laser focus on the questions that most interest her reader: the mystery and the romance. Action romance writers, take note.

Firelight leaves awkward insta-love behind when protagonists Miranda and Ben marry and reveals the novel's treasure: the dynamic unfolding between Miranda and Ben as they learn each other and learn to trust and admire one another. Miranda and Ben themselves feel realistic and fleshed enough that one can predict their reactions, especially as we read the perspectives of both characters.

I knew the villain early on, but the real mystery, Ben's identity and history, kept me reading, as well as Miranda and Ben's adventures investigating the crime or each other. A few Misunderstandings notwithstanding, they weathered the requisite relationship obstacles heathily enough to convince me of a future together. They actually seem to like and know each other. Also, 500 pts. for a moving ending.

I don't want to spoil, but I'll say that Callihan builds a unique mythos suited to her period. I doubt the next book just a bit because she borrows a more prevalent, dare I say, tired myth. We'll see if she breathes new life into it. I like the hero. I recommend Firelight if you love Beauty & the Beast tales, mystery, or action. Don't let the historical tag stop you; it's accessible to everyone. Also, the alley scene is the new Chapter 32. I'm between three and four stars.
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Reading Progress

01/22/2012 "I have a bad feeling about this..." 4 comments
01/22/2012 "His reaction to her is too exaggerated." 3 comments
01/23/2012 "[image error]Okay, that was hot. Was not expecting an alleyway encounter in an HR." 11 comments
100.0% 4 comments

Comments (showing 1-35 of 35) (35 new)

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The Holy Terror Well?

message 2: by Jan (new) - added it

Jan Awesome. I had hesitant high hopes for this, so I'm happy at least one friend likes it already :)

willaful Oh, this review is such a relief. The cliches at the beginning were really getting to me, and I was starting to think I was losing my mind.

message 4: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH Phew, glad you liked it too. The prequel is on Netgalley now.

new_user willaful wrote: "Oh, this review is such a relief. The cliches at the beginning were really getting to me, and I was starting to think I was losing my mind."

LOL! You are not alone! Hopefully it improves for you too.

Thanks for the rec, AH! Hope you like it, Jan! Shanizzle, you might even like this one, LOL.

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Sounds kind of tempting. What is cock & vag factor like?

new_user Ah, well, I told you about the hot alley scene, LOL. The rest are detailed without being too explicit or borrowing euphemisms, sometimes edgy, sometimes humorous-- the latter is really nice to see from time to time. Sometimes characters come off like robots. Sexytimes is funny by nature. We should acknowledge that now and then, LOL. So yeah, there's some emotion too. That's nice.

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Sounds like a good all-rounder, no? Barring cliche thing. Will wait for e-release, can't be having with Netgalley. Great review, amigo.

new_user Thanks! Yeah, it's a nice li'l read. You no like Netgalley?

message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Nah, can't be arsed asking for things. Would rather buy and be done with it.

Galla Moss wrote: "Nah, can't be arsed asking for things. Would rather buy and be done with it."

I'm exactly the same. Plus, I don't like feeling obligated to review. Sometimes I just want to slap up some stars and move on.

Sandra The Alleyway scene the new Chap 32. Might have to get this, just for that alone!

message 13: by Jess (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jess Sandra wrote: "The Alleyway scene the new Chap 32. Might have to get this, just for that alone!"

It was a fantastic scene!

Sandra Jess, you've read it as well? Definitely adding it!

I see #2 is out later this year Moonglow (Darkest London #2) by Kristen Callihan as well.

new_user Yep, looks like she's contracted for at least three. Here's hoping #2's good. :)

Sandra I've ordered #1, have to read that alley scene! LOL

message 17: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH NU, the prequel is on Netgalley - Ember.

new_user AH wrote: "NU, the prequel is on Netgalley - Ember."

Thanks, AH. Did you read it already?

Sandra wrote: "I've ordered #1, have to read that alley scene! LOL"

LOL! Let me know what you think!

message 19: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH Nope. Asked for it. Hope I get it.

new_user Cool. I'm not usually into prequels, but looking forward to your thoughts.

message 21: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Hi NU, great review:)

message 22: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH new_user wrote: "Cool. I'm not usually into prequels, but looking forward to your thoughts."

The prequel is more of a companion book - it fills in a few of the gaps in the backstory. Think of it as a deleted/bonus scenes book with teasers for Firelight and Moonglow. 3.5 stars.

new_user Thanks, Amanda! Cool, AH, will check it out.

Gricel great review, i had a similar reaction to the cliches in the first few chapters.

new_user Nice to see it wasn't just me, Gricel. I get the impression a lot of people were put off by the initial chapters.

new_user My first paragraph. There were probably more. I can't remember them now.

new_user LOL. Yeah, certain tropes do recur, but a lot of them are avoidable and don't contribute much to the narrative. By beautiful-but-not, I mean that the heroine doesn't think she's beautiful because she's supposedly not up to society's standard, but her description describes her as a stunning red-haired, green-eyed model. Cue eye roll. She's also a spitfire who bucks expectations for her sex, wears trousers, and sword fights in an era when no one sword fights. LOL. Then he's smitten with her when she talks back. Reviewers are too free with this accusation, but her Mary Sueness borders on obnoxious.

Fortunately, the novel improves after the first scene and has other good points to recommend it. Otherwise I would have rated it down.

new_user Oh, I was looking forward to book 2. Ian was such an interesting character, and the teaser was good!

new_user I haven't read it yet, unfortunately. :( The book I'm reading is progressing slowly, but maybe I'll read it next! I'll let you know what I think. :)

new_user I'll look out for it! :)

new_user Only two months? Good job! (Welcome to GR, btw! :) Illustrated reviews, hm, just be warned, some people like 'em, some people don't. I would just keep the gifs sparse and PG.

new_user It does! Especially for a slow writer like me, LOL.

Kathleen Great review! I loved it too.

new_user Thanks! Unfortunately, I didn't like Moonglow as much, but maybe I wasn't in the mood. It was a little too typical for me.

Kathleen I liked it a hair more, but I was in the mood for a wolf shifter.

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