firebugAuthor: Lish McBride

My rating: 5 of 5

I’m really not at all sure how Ava thought she was going to have a normal boyfriend. I mean, come on–she’s a magical fire-maker who was blackmailed into a blood contract with the local vampire mafia boss Venus to be her pet arsonist/assassin. How normal can life get? But things go from bad to impossible when Ava’s boyfriend takes her on a date to the classiest restaurant in the city . . . which just happens to be Venus’s headquarters. There they get VIP treatment and a thoroughly embarrassing welcome from Ava’s two best friends and teammates–Lock the half-dryad and Ezra the fox–not exactly what Ryan was expecting, precisely what Ava was dreading. And with the worst possible timing in the world, Ava’s team gets pulled to Venus’s personal lair, where they are told in no uncertain terms to assassinate an old family friend. So NOT what Ava was hoping for on a date!

I have admired Lish McBride’s writing ever since I first discovered Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, but I think Firebug is her best book so far–it’s certainly my favorite. Actually, this book reminds me of some of Robin McKinley’s more recent books–which is huge praise. All of the elements of plot and backstory tie together into this complex but seamless entity that just exists on its own . . . that’s how I feel when I read it. It all fits so perfectly, and the story moves effortlessly yet intensely toward an unexpected yet appropriate conclusion. I think the characters bring a lot to this story–in a sense, they make the story, really. Ava herself, and her relationship with her guardian Cade, are fascinating in their own right. Lock has this great, conflicted big brother/almost lover feeling to him, plus a complex, interesting personality that goes way beyond just his relationship with Ava. And of course, Ezra is a total wild-card character, unpredictable and frankly delightful in a perverted sort of way. (I should note that this is kind of grown up in that regard–probably 15+ at least.) Honestly, even Venus herself is an intriguing character in a dark sort of way. Basically, Firebug comes with high recommendations; it’s easily one of the best books I’ve read in recent months.


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