Author: Lish McBride
Series: Firebug #1
Ava is a firebug, someone with the power to start fires with her mind. She tries to have a teenage life, but that’s hard when normal teen activities have to be restricted or redirected because of her ability. And it’s also hard because she’s bound to the Coterie, a group that governs the local supernaturals. Ava is an enforcer for the Coterie. Together with a half-dryad and a were-fox, she’s sent out to put down those Venus, the Coterie’s head, wants disposed. But when Ava gets in over her head, she’s got to hope she can escape the Coterie’s iron hold over her life . . .
This took a bit longer to get me really interested, but once it got going it was a great deal of fun. Ava has a bitter, hard edge to her personality, the result of a lifetime of trying to escape the Coterie only to fall within its grasp and become everything she feared. But once Lock and Ezra take a bigger role, the team dynamic the three of them have is the best thing in the book. Ezra, the were-fox, is unabashedly playful, while Lock, the half-dryad, is the almost over-serious adult. (And that makes the visit to Lock’s family even funnier… his relatives are amazing at asking awkward questions.)
I liked some of the deeper things that came out, too. Ava hates the Coterie with a passion and would be just as happy burning it all down, but for all that it’s being run like the mob, it still has a unique role to play for the various not-at-all to mostly-human supernatural entities in the area. I especially liked how Lock keeps challenging Ava’s desire to skip the “middle bits” and go right for the conclusion, pointing out that sometimes the process is equally important.
I also really like the worldbuilding. Ava’s firebug abilities aren’t free, though they appear so to onlookers. She has to try to gain weight to give her body fat to literally burn when she starts her fires, along with keeping her electrolytes and potassium levels high. Then there’s the sheer variety of creatures populating the pages (including some amusing weres).
My one disappointment is that there’s a bit of a nasty twist very close to the end, and the next book isn’t out yet so I can’t see how it will resolve. But if my only complaint is that the sequel isn’t here RIGHT NOW, that’s good enough for me. I rate this book Recommended.