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Chasing Embers

(Ben Garston #1)

3.25  ·  Rating details ·  969 ratings  ·  207 reviews
There's nothing special about Ben Garston. He's just a guy with an attitude in a beat-up leather jacket, drowning his sorrows in a downtown bar. Or so he'd have you believe.

What Ben Garston can't let you know is that he was once known as Red Ben. That the world of myth and legend isn't just a fantasy, as we've been led to believe. And he certainly can't let you know the s
Paperback, 464 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by Orbit
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James Bennett The two series aren´t connected in any way, no. I don´t think they bear much similarity to be honest, outside of the obvious London connection and the…moreThe two series aren´t connected in any way, no. I don´t think they bear much similarity to be honest, outside of the obvious London connection and the fact that both series could be called Urban Fantasy (although my novels aren`t set in the one city and tend to bounce around, location wise).

Tracey Winwood designed the covers for the Ben Garston Novels. Stephen Walter designed the ones for Rivers of London. (less)

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Average rating 3.25  · 
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Sep 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: fans of dragons, people who can skim or don't sweat the small stuff
Aka: The review where I lose my Netgalley privileges.

There's something to enjoy here. A dragon. A fast moving plot. A dragon. Realized settings from NYC to London to Berlin to Cairo. Oh, and a dragon. It starts as a simple plot: an age-old enemy is trying to kill Ben, the only dragon left walking the earth. He represents his species while the rest slumber as part of a Compact (aka The Magna Carta), awaiting the return of the Fay and the First Ones/Lost Ones/gods. What was less enjoyable was the
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Chasing Embers is an urban fantasy that seems to have a little bit of everything. There are dragons, magical spirits and mages, the Fae, and even a generous helping of ancient Egyptian mythology. The strange thing is though, even with so much going on in this novel, I actually find myself with very little to say about it. The story was a fun romp, but I enjoyed it on a very “surface” level without forming many deep attachm
Heidi The Reader
Aug 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I seem to be on a dragon themed reading kick lately. And, as far as I'm concerned, that's awesome!

Red Ben is a dragon, masquerading in human form so that he can walk down the street without everybody freaking out. Hundreds of years before this, he signed a pact called the Lore with a bunch of other magical creatures and knights, in which, he essentially agreed to hide his existence from humanity at large and the knights, in turn, would protect him. Tonight, he was attacked twice. What's up with
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
The last of the dragons hidden within society, passing as human and trying to live out his life until he becomes embroiled in a mystery? Count me in. Plotwise, this book should have been right up my alley, but unfortunately, it just didn't work for me. If I were forced into conciseness, I think I'd describe Chasing Embers as a take on Neil Gaiman's American Gods written in the style of Wilkie Collins. While it may be sacrilege and I may end up tarred and feathered for it, I must admit that I'm n ...more
Sep 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
I loved the story, the developed history and myths. I reread some of the amazingly beautiful descriptive scenes, they awed and left me breathless. The action was nail bitting worthy. The book was an epic movie in written on pages. This epic-ness made it hard to read at times.
There was so much information dumped, so many extremely detailed details, written with such artistic flourish that the book felt heavy. I could only read for short amounts of time, my brain needed time to rest after
Aug 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Urban fantasy with dragons: where do I sign?

This opener showed lots of potential, for two main reasons:

1) Bennett has clearly done his research. There are lots of references to various world religious and mythical systems/beliefs, but he has not allowed them to box him in. Instead, he has used them as the basis for an imaginative storyline that speaks to the power of myth and its essential nature: change.

2) The subversion of stereotypes. Again this fits with point one, in that Bennett has felt
Liz Barnsley
Urban fantasy (yay) and dragons (yay) this book seemed like the perfect fit for me when I’m in the mood for this sort of thing and with more yay I was right. Thoroughly enjoyed this one, kick ass start to kick ass finish.

I do love a book that has intensely exciting action scenes, divisive characters and a kind of enigmatic flow to it which Chasing Embers has in spades. I like the history as mythology angle, Ben as a character (and a dragon no less) is so beautifully flawed in a kind of useless h
Urban Fantasy, with dragons and written by a British author. This book sounds like my perfect match so I was incredibly excited to read it and was fully expecting it to be the start of a new favourite series. There's no denying it's well written but unfortunately I just didn't get on with the writing style so I didn't finish reading it. I was just over 300 pages in (out of 464 total so I think I gave it a fair shot!) and I realised that I just didn't feel invested in any of the characters and di ...more
Dragons? Check. Egyptian mythology? Check. Urban Fantasy setting? Check.

At first glance, this book seems to have been written with me in mind. You've got a dude that turns into a dragon (rawr!), witches and gods and fairies (oh my!), and all sorts of fun locales.

Honestly, this book was a wild ride. My only gripe is that there were a few "infodumps"... granted, they were worked into flashbacks or portrayed as a history lesson at a museum gala, but still... infodumps. Other than that, it was a sol
The Shayne-Train
DNF at 67%

I tried, guys. I really, rrreally tried.

Maybe it's me. Maybe I just don't really dig on traditional 'Urban Fantasy' like I used to. The writing had spots of being good, but.....I just couldn't get into it. The characters, the world, the so-UF 'secret history' of fey things operating under the normo human radar: it all rang false to me.

I tried, guys. Really.
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
Good urban fantasies with a male protagonist are so very hard to find. I can name no more than three series I truly enjoyed from start to finish, which is why books like Chasing Embers are not only fun, but also necessary and always welcomed.

Chasing Embers is told in third person from more than one perspective, which is fairly unusual for urban fantasy. I sometimes wished for the first person narrative I’m more comfortable with, but I understood why Bennett made his choice and how it served his
Jan 22, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Chasing Embers is a fun first installment in Bennett’s urban fantasy series starring Ben Garston, the last dragon awake in our modern world. There is something gritty and noir about the writing style itself, which I enjoyed. The use of metaphor is overdone, but in the same way that noir detective movies overdo it, which added to the hardboiled feel of the story. Ben Garston is basically a Heartstriker (definitely not Julian) with the personality of John Constantine, and the same inability to lea ...more
May 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely fantastic. Dragons, mythology, ancient gods... and an epic showdown to match. What a great debut.

Chasing Embers is an exciting new urban-fantasy, beautifully written and on the gritty side. Red Ben is not as human as he seems, and his rather slumberous life is disturbed abruptly by an attempt on his life. A centuries-old pact has been breached, and it is up to Ben to find out what happened, and why.
*Source* NetGalley/Publisher
*Genre* Fantasy
*Rating* 3.5

*My Thoughts*

Chasing Embers is the first installment in author James Bennett's Ben Garston series. Chasing Embers is told in the third person narrative with a male lead character. Bennett takes his character from New York City, to London, to Berlin, and onward to Cairo for the crushing finale. Ben Garston, aka Red Ben is one of the last dragons left in existence thanks an agreement that was signed between the Remnants, and King John who also
K.J. Charles
Jun 04, 2017 marked it as pass
Shelves: dnf, fantasy
DNF at 25% because the overwriting was becoming physically painful. Nice concept, author can tell a story, but wow this book needed an editor.
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
This story has some cool ideas, but it never quite came together for me. I spent a lot of time wishing I could reach into the story and smack the main character, and on a purely nuts-and-bolts level the prose drove my internal editor berserk. (If I make one literature-related resolution this year--and stick with it--I'm going to read a chapter or two before putting down money for a whole book by a new author. Because a lot of this is just a poor match between me and the book, and realizing that ...more
Lynn Williams
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 -4 of five stars
Strong start to series. Full review to follow
Chasing Embers certainly gets off to a very promising start, in fact you barely crack the book open before there’s an explosion of action that leaves you anxious to read quickly on. I’m not sure how many books are planned but I can see that this has the makings of a very entertaining urban fantasy series where a world of mythology lives alongside our modern world and a whole host of fantasy c
Charles Green
Aug 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
Being a sucker for decent urban-fantasy I wanted to like Chasing Embers, the debut novel from James Bennett. The central hook, an immortal Dragon, in disguised human form, living in the contemporary world, was both appealing and had a degree of originality. It was certainly a departure from the usual wizards or vampires of most urban fantasy, and I was curious to see what Bennett did with it.

The answer, unfortunately, was he just tried to do too much and too quickly, and as a result I can only c
Aug 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Urban Fantasy Fans, Dresden Files fans
Recommended to Shadowdenizen by: Goodreads Giveaways
Shelves: paranormal
Disclaimer: I received this book thru GoodReads' BookFirst Giveaway, but that has not impacted my review or opinion of this book.

As can be seen from the cover (front and back), this book falls squarely into the already-crowded "Urban Fantasy" genre, which counts, among others, such series as "The Dresden Files" and the "Hexed" series.

Fortunately, this book both honors that connection, and yet still manages to forge it's own unique and subversive path at the same time.

Overall, this was quite an
Beautifully written draconic fantasy that imbues myths and legends of the medieval era while staging a conflict with the advent of modernity and its clash between science and magic, fairy tales and realism, nature and the grim polluted age of machines. Bennett has done a wonderful job of fusing these elements together into a solid story and a well thought plot that has the depth and tragic outcome of the old sagas.

The worldbuilding was good, rooted in modern London and carrying the reader across
Aug 31, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 1/5
(I received a free copy from the publisher, Orbit Books, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)
***Minor spoilers***

In Ben's universe, myth is actually history. In fact, he's actually part of that history - he's a dragon. The only one awake at the moment, as per the rules of the Pact. The Pact dictates that one of each of the Remnant (mythical) species are allowed to be awake. The rest are in the "long sleep," a state where they are unconscious but alive. This keeps the peace
Apr 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
From the cover: Fans of Ben Aaronovitch and Jim Butcher will revel in this fiery tale of adventure and modern-day mythology from a stellar new talent.

I really wanted that to be the case, but there is absolutely nothing butcheresque or aaronovitchy about this book, unless you haven't read Dresden Files or Rivers of London *.

The premise / basic plot of the book isn't bad, but the execution is. Mostly, it is a book in need of fewer pages. It is so, so wordy, the author really going for intense and
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
2 stars for Chasing Embers. Maybe 2.5 for the ending.

I wanted to like this book so much more than I ended up actually liking it. The premise seemed so interesting and I loved the idea of a shape-shifting dragon-man as the main character. Unfortunately it never lived up to everything I wanted for it.

As much as I liked the idea for Ben Garston, I never really connected with the character. I never felt his emotions. I didn't gasp when he was put in danger or worry about what was going to happen ne
Sydney (sydneysshelves) West
Chasing Embers is was pitched to me as a fantasy with dragons. And this is true and not. The book follows Ben who is indeed a dragon. He comes from the "days of old" when magic and humans lived together peacefully. Now in modern day New York he finds himself being hunted by new and old foes. Only to be surprised to find that one of the old sleeping remnants has been awakened. Sounds like a solid plot. But I struggled with this book. There was a lot of exposition and info dropping. Making the nov ...more
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun book filled with lots to love.

Full review to come.
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love that moment when a book clicks. When you’re reading an author’s work for the first time, and suddenly you just get it. There is always the little frisson of panic whenever an author is an unknown quantity. Will I enjoy their work or will it be for someone else and not for me? Within a handful of pages I knew without question that James Bennett was going to be an author whose work I was going to enjoy.

‘Red’ Ben Garston is a complicated soul. I’m going to try avoid any major spoilers, that’
Caroline Mersey
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: review-copies
Chasing Embers by James Bennett (review copy from publishers Orbit, via NetGalley) is the first in a new series of urban fantasy novels about muscle-for-hire Ben Garston. Ben is not your typical mercenary, though. He's the last remaining dragon in the world. After ruinous wars, King John signed a Covenant that led to the fae and all supernatural beings withdrawing from the world, except for one of each species.

For the most part, Ben leads a pretty quiet life, doing the occasional job of work wi
Sep 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, magic
When I received an email about ‘Chasing Embers’, and I saw that beautiful cover, I was super excited to get the change to start reading this book. I was also a little scared though.. Lately I’ve either loved a fantasy novel, or just didn’t get it at all. But I definitely wanted to give this book a try.

In ‘Chasing Embers’ we meet Ben Garston. At first Ben seems to be a leather jacket wearing drunk. But soon we find out he is much more than that. One day when he is sitting at a bar, he is suddenly
Maria Itliong
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-read-books
This book is well written, myth and modernity is a great combination of gods, dragons, Fay, and Knights, Bennett blended Egyptian and Arthurian myths as well as religions,
Apr 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received a free preview copy. If you had read the synopsis of this book to me and told me I had to read it my heart would have sunk. This is the kind of story I avoid at all cost however I really enjoyed it. It was like a superhero comic come to life with a hunky hero, magic, innocence and evil. There be dragons too. A tale of mythical beasts and their quest for love and vengeance with quite a feminist slant. The damsels are very feisty even when in distress here. So a fantasy with a message f ...more
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James Bennett is a British writer raised in Sussex and South Africa. His travels have furnished him with an abiding love of different cultures, history and mythology. His short fiction has appeared internationally and his debut novel CHASING EMBERS was shortlisted for Best Newcomer at the British Fantasy Awards 2017. The following volume RAISING FIRE earned a starred review in Publishers Weekly an ...more

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Ben Garston (3 books)
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