Book Review (and swag giveaway): Firebug by Lish McBride
Author Lish McBride returns to the world established in Hold Me Closer, Necromancer and continued in Necromancing the Stone, with the story of Ava, a teenage girl who can set fires with her mind. As a ‘firebug,’ Ava is a valuable asset to her local supernatural group of thugs, the ‘Coterie,’ to whom she is under binding contract. Her capitulation to this contact was secured through death threats to those she holds dear, of course, as the Coterie is run by the sadistically evil vampire, Venus.
Ava, along with her two best friends, Lock (half-dryad) and Ezra (werefox), are an assassination team sent in to do the Coterie’s dirty work. Understandably, they’re not exactly willing participants. They go along with the assignments, though, in order to secure the safety of their loved ones – until the day when they are assigned Duncan, a supernatural who is a good friend to Ava and her guardian, Cade. Venus sees Duncan (and some of his recent activities) as a threat to her position and wants him eliminated. She is not unaware of Ava’s relationship with him, and wants her for the job because she can get past his defenses. Ava, however, has other ideas.
Unlike the Necromancer books, which are set in Seattle, Firebug takes place in Maine and Boston (mostly). Although they are located on opposite sides of the country, I have it on the best of authority that McBride intends for the characters from the two locations to meet eventually. (Isn’t Twitter a marvelous thing?)
While set in the same world, with many of the same conflicts and struggles, I found that the tone of Firebug differed significantly from that of the Necromancer books. While the Necromancer books are full of quipy, quirky snarkiness and bizarre humor (which I greatly enjoy), Firebug relies much more on the intensity of emotion and gravity of the situations in which the main characters find themselves. Which is not to say that McBride’s trademark humor is not evident, it just doesn’t set the major tone for the book. Overall, I found myself much more drawn into the lives of the characters, and more gripped with suspense during the action of the book. I also felt that the characterization and detailed unfolding of the relationships between the main characters was much more robust with this novel.
All of this is to say, I suppose, isn’t it amazing to watch truly talented authors whose work you admire and enjoy grow and change with their subsequent books? Being a reader is such a great privilege.
Another great privilege (also facilitated through Twitter) is my fortunate ability to give away a set of author swag from the generous Lish McBride herself. Winner will receive all items pictured to the left (4 bookmarks and 2 stickers.) Please forgive my appallingly poor photography skills. We all have our gifts…
Leave a comment on this post to enter the giveaway. Winner will be drawn 1 week from today. Good luck! Also, you should follow Lish McBride on Twitter. She’s @TeamDamnation (of course she is.)
This review was based on an eGalley provided by NetGalley. Firebug will go on sale September 23, 2014. You can preorder it in all the usual locations, including your local bookstore or online through IndieBound if you don’t have a local bookstore.
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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