Since the 1970s, humans have forced supernaturals to live in caged cities. Silver brands embedded in their foreheads identify them by species: a full moon for Vampires, a crescent moon for Shifters, a pair of wings for Fairies, and the list goes on, for each supernatural species has been tagged and categorized by humans.
Lanore Vesta is marked with a silver X, the brand of Mixbreeds, second-class citizens shunned by society. She stays to herself, revealing her ability to create fire only during emergencies. All she wants to do is graduate college and stop having to steal to survive. But when she stumbles upon a murder in progress, she catches the attention of a supernatural killer. Now all she wants is to stop finding dead bodies in her apartment.
Enlisting help from her Were-cheetah ex-boyfriend MeShack and a new mysterious friend named Zulu, she is steered through the habitat’s raunchy nightlife. But their presence sometimes proves to be more burden than help, as they fight for her attention. While the corpses pile up, and the scent of blood fills the air, Lanore is left wondering: will she find the psycho or die trying?
Sometimes there is nothing better than discovering a fabulous new urban fantasy series that captures your imagination and makes you think about the future repercussions of the plot. Kenya Wright's Fire Baptized completely sucked me in from the first page and didn't let go until the harrowing conclusion. It had everything I love about this genre: kickass heroine, sexy guys, detailed worldbuilding, and a heck of a lot of action.
As the book description above mentions, this series takes place in Miami, specifically a gated off community known as the Habitat. This community is the home of a variety of supernaturals such as vampires, weres, demons, fairies, etc. It is obvious from the beginning that there is a definite social hierachy that has been created amongst the different species: humans on top, then pureblood supernaturals, and then mixbreeds.
Lanore, the heroine of the series, is a mixbreed college student with the ability to create and control fire. Her biggest desire is to help improve the lives of her fellow mixbreeds so she joins a radical group known as the Mixbreeds for Equality (MFE). On her way home from school one day, Lanore comes across a murder in a back alley of the Habitat and fears that she will be the next victim.
I really enjoyed Lanore's character. She was a strong woman with intelligence and independence yet she still has some vulnerabilities that made her extremely relatable. I find that some urban fantasy heroines can be too kickass or too weak-minded, but Lanore was a nice balance. Her sense of justice was evident throughout the investigation while still acknowledging the danger she was in. Another thing I admired about Lanore was that she found herself caught in a complex love triangle, but, thankfully, did not spend her time moping about choosing between the guys. She almost seemed to feel like it was an annoyance rather than a pity party-worthy choice.
Both guys in the love triangle were extremely interesting and definitely potential love interests. Meshack is a werecheetach who has been best friends with Lanore since childhood. He and Lanore dated for a while, but his promiscious nature caught up to him and the romance ended. Despite that, Meshack and Lanore continued to have a fabulous friendship and were completely devoted to each other. And then there's Zulu: the mysterious dreadlocked mixbreed who is the leader of MFE. Lanore and Zulu spend a significant amount of time together in this book and I enjoyed seeing their interactions. While Zulu and Meshack both have different views on mixbreeds and how to improve their status, they both care deeply about Lanore and want her to safe and happy which I found sweet. There is some competition between them, but not as much as in other love triangles.
The plot is pretty unpredictable and gruesome. It takes alot of time for Lanore, Zulu, and Meshack to solve the mystery and it doesn't come without a hefty price. Many bodies piled up throughout this book which gave some proof about the dangerous world of the Habitat. The mystery kept me guessing right up until the end which is always a sign of a good read for me.
Overall, this is a fascinating new supernatural world that has definite potential. I really enjoyed the characters (main and secondary) and am looking forward to seeing more of their interactions especially Zulu and Lanore. I am also interested to see the aftereffects of the mystery and its very messy investigation in the next book in the series, The Burning Bush, which is due out in May.
Rating: 4.5 Stars
0.5. Caged View (prequel-novellas)
1. Fire Baptized
2. The Burning Bush (To Be Released 2012)
BOOK CHALLENGE ENTRY