Zayn Valentine lives a life of solitude, and that’s how he likes it. As a Humanblood, he has no magic of his own, but his uncanny ability to fix anything magical keeps his mind and hands busy, and his bank account full. That and his vast collection of shiny golden bears is all he needs. Micah has no desire for his life to change. But he has no choice in the matter.
A mysterious fixit job seems suspect, but Zayn does it anyway. But when he delivers the package, things take an unexpected turn. With magic crawling all over the house, and a stripper who entices him beyond belief, Zayn ends up caught in a magic spell that will surely kill him. Only it doesn’t.
Charlie Ellison is a Felineblood who can’t make ends meet. He’s a private detective without cases. So when he gets a mysterious call for work, Charlie jumps at it, only to find himself in the middle of something nefarious and having to take another’s life just to survive — and saving Zayn in the process. They met once before, but neither expected this. The mystery is deep, and Zayn is transformed into something else entirely, having abilities he shouldn’t possess.
The two decide to work together to get to the bottom of things, but every answer they seem to find just brings up more questions. Not to mention, an apparition keeps appearing to Zayn, speaking in riddles and claiming to be Lucifer himself. But with every bit of information they uncover, the plot thickens more. And Zayn discovers nothing he thought about himself is true.
Two things of note before I move further into the review. This book is the first of the Fallen Fire series and ends on a cliffhanger, but the series is completed so there’s no wait for the next part, if you’re so inclined. There is also not much romance to speak of here, though there are some romantic undertones that lead me to believe it will play at least some part as the story develops.
I was intrigued by the world building within this story. Amos has created a world that can best be described as urban fantasy, though the story itself takes place in a city apart from the contemporary world. While Angelica City is a place unto itself, where years ago there was a great battle the angels won and eradicated Lucifer and his followers, many modern conveniences like cell phones, music, and cars are present. There are only five types of humanoids left in the world, magic is done with the help of gems and agate placed in steampunk-esque machines, and angels are the terrifying final letter of the law. The world building itself is not terribly complex, but seems well thought out and consistent. The author does a good job staying within the confines he created, while also throwing in twists that challenge what Zayn, and therefore the reader, knows.
Zayn is the main POV character, although there are multiple chapters from Charlie’s POV as well. Zayn is grumpy, to be sure, and has a dark past. But he’s made a life he enjoys and is content in. But the one job changes that, changes him, and his entire world is upended. The mystery that surrounds the change to him gets even more twisted the more they learn. Zayn is not what he’s always thought, and the implications of that are potentially devastating. The author dropped exactly the right amount of clues so that I wasn’t surprised by the reveal, but instead pleased that it made so much sense.
Charlie is a nice counterpoint to Zayn, mostly in his attitude and outlook. He’s much more laid back and positive, and takes each setback as an opportunity to solve a new problem. He thinks quickly on his feet and knows a lot of people who might be considered unsavory. He’s definitely more of a sunshiney character to Zayn’s grumpy, and the author uses that juxtaposition to further the storyline. The attraction between them is a soft through thread that only jumps out on occasion. They are becoming friends, and they are partners in solving this mystery. As things heat up and more truths are reveled, Charlie’s insistence on being there for and taking care of Zayn is really nice to see.
This novel is not without it’s issues for me. At times, the narrative is a bit info dumpy in an attempt to get out information. There are also passages that get a bit muddy with who is speaking or what information is being presented. Though these issues are small and not too prevalent, they do pop up enough to be worth a mention. There were a few scenes where the pacing dragged, but they too didn’t last long before the narrative picked up again.
I’m definitely interested in seeing where this series goes. The author has built an intriguing world and set up a mystery that is only growing more complex as the information is revealed. Zayn is an intriguing character who is doing the same. This book is definitely a beginning and a set up for more things to come, but it’s a heck of beginning. I can’t wait to see where the author takes these characters next and what twists this is going to take.