Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Embers (Anya Kalinczyk, #1)” as Want to Read:
Embers (Anya Kalinczyk, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


(Anya Kalinczyk #1)

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  1,625 ratings  ·  196 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
Mass Market Paperback, 359 pages
Published March 30th 2010 by Pocket (first published March 8th 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Embers, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Embers

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,625 ratings  ·  196 reviews

More filters
Sort order
*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
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
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
Apr 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 04, 2010 rated it liked it
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

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
Ann Aguirre
Jun 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
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
Dark Faerie Tales
Mar 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 14, 2010 rated it liked it
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
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
Apr 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
(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
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
Angela James
Apr 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: urban-fantasy, 2010, dnf
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
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
May 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Blodeuedd Finland
Mar 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
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
Oct 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy, demons
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
Kristine Hansen
Dec 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: paranormal
I liked the concept of the Lantern. I loved Sparky. And Anya made for an interesting character, interesting enough that I can look forward to the next book.

The problem I had with this book was that the spell casting, the exorcisms, all done in so much detail let me a little bit outside my comfort zone. I don't usually get ooky about the weird stuff in paranormals, but every once in a while something sets off my radar and I feel a little bit too uncomfortably close to things that are way outside
I was pleasantly surprised with this book. A unique concept and world building plus…I love it when an author makes you like the evil villain lol. The author also does a good job of painting the scenery of Detroit. Not that I've been there but the author made me feel like I was. I liked Anya and Sparky was great! I think most UF lovers might enjoy this.
Mar 04, 2010 rated it did not like it
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.
Jeana Budnick
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Originally posted on my blog
What can I say about this book? Well, for starters, I really enjoyed it. I’m not going to gush and rave that this is an amazing book and everyone should read it because everyone is different and not everyone may like it.

Unlike most Urban Fantasy novels, there are no vampires werewolves or fey in this book. There are ghosts, however, elemental spirits and witches. Anya is a Lantern, which means that, not only can she see and interact with ghosts, she can devour them a
Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
2.5 stars ✨
Dec 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Review originally posted on my book blog here

The Premise: Anya Kalinczyk is a Lantern, a special type of Elemental with an affinity for fire and the ability to consume spirits. Her day job is as an arson investigator for the Detroit Fire Department, but on occasion Anya gets a call from DAGR (the Detroit Area Ghost Researchers) and uses her abilities to help people with their ghost problems. Detroit is a place of unrest. Low employment and crime drives more people out of the city every day while
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) an
Mar 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: uf-pnr, fiction
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
Apr 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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
Sep 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Anya is a lantern, the rarest type of medium. Her inner fire allows her to consume demons and spirits who cause trouble and her affinity for fire coincides nicely with her day job as arson investigator for the Detroit Fire Department. However when the latest string of arsons collides with her supernatural endeavors, how will Anya track down a supernatural arsonist? Hmmm, this was a tough one for me. I really liked fire as a central subject in this book and Sparky was the most amazing foil ever. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Dark Oracle (Oracle, #1)
  • Skin Deep (Laura Blackstone, #1)
  • Red Hot Fury (Shades of Fury, #1)
  • Don't Kill The Messenger (Messenger, #1)
  • Master of None (Gavyn Donatti, #1)
  • Sins & Shadows (Shadows Inquiries, #1)
  • Spiral Hunt (Evie Scelan, #1)
  • Blue Diablo (Corine Solomon, #1)
  • Viper Moon (Earth Witches, #1)
  • Confessions of a Demon (Allay, #1)
  • Dark Time (Mortal Path, #1)
  • The Better Part of Darkness (Charlie Madigan, #1)
  • Wraith (Zoe Martinique, #1)
  • Black Dust Mambo (Hoodoo, #1)
  • The Sweet Scent of Blood (, #1)
  • Under Wraps (Underworld Detection Agency, #1)
  • Blood Law (Alexandra Sabian, #1)
  • Vicious Circle (Persephone Alcmedi, #1)
See similar books…
Laura Bickle grew up in rural Ohio, reading entirely too many comic books out loud to her favorite Wonder Woman doll. After graduating with an MA in Sociology – Criminology from Ohio State University and an MLIS in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she patrolled the stacks at the public library and worked with data systems in criminal justice. She now dreams up stories ab ...more

Other books in the series

Anya Kalinczyk (2 books)
  • Sparks (Anya Kalinczyk, #2)