Friday, January 20, 2012

Firelight (Darkest London #1), Kristen Callihan

Title: Firelight
Author: Kristen Callihan (author website)
Release Date: Feb. 1st 2012 by Grand Central Publishing
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Paranormal/Romance/Historical
My Rating:1 star2 star3 star4 star

I’ve been excited about Kristen Callihan’s genre-bending Firelight for months, ever since reading about its sale on literary agent Kristen Nelson’s blog. It didn’t disappoint. Firelight is, like Gail Carriger’s Soulless, hard to define. A delicious mix of paranormal, gaslight and historical-romance, it defies classification. A mysterious, sexually-charged and suspense-filled tale, I couldn’t put this book down. Callihan owes me a good night’s sleep.

From Goodreads:
London, 1881
Once the flames are ignited...
Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family's fortune decimated and forced her to wed London's most nefarious nobleman.

They will burn for eternity...
Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man. Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it's selfish to take Miranda as his bride. Yet he can't help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn't felt in a lifetime. When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied. Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue. For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask.

Set it in gas lamp-era Victorian London, we meet one half of our dynamic duo slipping through the night, on route to commit murder. He’s distracted when he shadows a young boy, making sure he makes it safely home. Well, as it turns out, the young boy Lord Benjamin Archer encounters is anything but—and hardly defenseless. Miranda ‘Pan’ Ellis is many things—including the daughter of the man Archer was on his way to kill. As the two spar in the foggy night, they share an instant attraction, and quickly part ways...

Three years later, the dread-Lord Archer returns to England to claim Miranda as his bride. Little does she know the masked, brute of a man she’s to marry is the mysterious stranger she encountered in the London’s dark alleyways years before, and never quite forgot. The two are quickly married, and against all odds, fall in love. But both are keeping deep, dark secrets… the least of which is what’s hiding behind Archer’s mask.

I was excited to read Firelight from the get-go. I expected something similar to the aforementioned Soulless, but while the two share a number of commonalities, they’re very different creatures. While Soulless is an unashamedly absurdist tale, Firelight forgoes the slapstick and is a far darker, edgier story.

Miranda is a seriously fabulous heroine. Brave, quick-witted and intelligent, the girl is fierce. Forced into thievery to keep her and her once-wealthy father off the streets, she holds an enormous capacity for love and kindness, despite the abuses she’s suffered in her short 20-odd years. She’s neither a damsel-in-distress nor a totally invincible tomboy. She’s a balanced mix of both... she can defend herself in any situation. She holds a very dark secret; one that will keep her safe in any situation, but using it costs her a great deal. While strong and defiant, she has a certain emotional fragility at times that makes her relatable. I loved this girl.

Archer is tall, dark, huge and handsome... and an utter enigma. The truth of his curse, and the reason for his mask, is revealed in tiny pieces throughout the story, and despite a riveting mystery driving the plot of the book, it was the question of his identity that kept me utterly rapt. The sexual tension between Miranda and Archer is palpable, and it’s backed up with a growing love between the two that felt so profound and genuine it made my insides ache.

The Verdict

I was taken aback by just how utterly compelling Firelight was. Combining fairytale-like qualities with a melting-hot romance, it’s the characters in this book, and their developing relationship, that kept me turning pages into the wee hours of the morning. This is a romance novel at its smoking-hot best, combined with a riveting mystery, to make a delightful, page-turner of a read.

Books in This Series:

  1. Firelight (Feb. 1st 2012)
  2. Moonglow (August 1st 2012)
  3. Winterblaze (March 2013)
An enormous thank you to Grand Central via Net Galley for providing a review copy of Firelight!

24 comments:

  1. Great review!! I haven't heard of this series but I will now check it out :)

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    1. It's definitely adult, and it's a full on romance novel, but I seriously enjoyed it :D

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  2. "She's neither a damsel-in-distress nor a totally invincible tomboy" I LIKE THIS. I like when a character can be MORE than just one stereotype, when an author takes the time to explore every layer. Just from your review alone, I think I may love Miranda too :D And um, any time any one mentions dark and handsome men and SEXUAL TENSION in the same paragraph..... *has a swoony-seizure*

    I don't know why I don't read more adult books. I did in High School then went to YA as I got older... but seriously, thanks to annoyingly persuasive people like you, I might just have to dip back into the adult genre because these books sound SO GOOD.

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    1. I kind of go through stages... I totally cracked out on YA last year, till I couldn't stand the sight of a girl in a gorgeous dress, and then I cracked out on Historical Romance, until I couldn't stand the sight of a torn bodice and heaving bosom... It's... hmm... I don't know. I like them both, and I like a balance, but I LOVE YA... and there's so much really really good YA, and so many amazing books coming out, and there's only so many hours in a day!

      Delete
  3. This is the third awesome review I've read about this in a real short time and I keep getting more and more curious. Might be time to consider reading it, huh? ;o It does sound good! Glad you liked it! :) I also feel I should pick Soulless up, lol.

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    1. Eee, Rebecca, I KNOW you like romance, so I think you'd really enjoy this! But, ummm... if I had to recommend between this, and Soulless? Soulless is brilliant... romance, werewolves, manners and tea... just SO FUNNY and brilliant. Like a comedy of manners (think Austen) combined with historical romance (think Julia Quinn or Caroline Linden--haven't read Julia Keypas, so don't really want to comment) with a fabulous, cheeky sense of humour.

      I really enjoyed Firelight, though! It reminded me a *little* of a Loretta Chase I've read (Captives of the Night) in terms of mystery and an unlikely partnership, with paranormal thrown in. BRILLIANT.

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  4. Oooh, this book sounds good. I like that it's historial and paranormal. You read the most interesting books.

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    1. Hehe! Thanks Jennifer! I REALLY liked this one... I mean, it reads like a historical romance (if you've read any?), but the paranormal element is so. cool.
      It's fabulous :D

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  5. Oh my, THE COVER!!! So gorgeous. It's set in LONDON! You know what this means, don't you? ;) Aaa..I want to read this book. I never heard of it but as usual, your review always makes me want to read the book!!!! Awesome review, Sarah!!! So glad you enjoyed it! :)

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    1. Mwahah! It has a pretty striking cover, huh? I kind of secretly love historical romances (you know, the kind with the awful Fabio pictures on the cover?) and this is like one of those, but with paranormal! :D

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    2. If Fabio is in the cover, I don't think I will ever read the book because I will never be able to stop staring at the cover and I can't even bring myself to turn the cover and start reading! LOL!

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  6. OMG, I am so getting a new computer soon. There are a few blogs I can't use the reply option with, and your blog is one of them. It's not faaaaaiiiiir!!! My computer hates me, and you apperantly. lol. Anyways, of course I read historical romances. They were the first books I read when I started reading again after college. Love Them!

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    1. Eeep! I feel guilty my blog is being crap!
      YESSS! I thought you did, but had a brain blank moment. This is a fun book! I think you'd like it :)

      I think the new threaded comments are still a bit touch and go, huh?

      Delete
  7. Greetings BFF! Would I find this as fabulous as you do, do you think? It sounds pretty cool and the cover is epic.

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    1. Ummmm... mm... I don't know. It's not like Soulless, you know? With the comedy of manners? Miranda is rough around the edges, brave, brash... and it's not set in an alternate 1800's London, so much as a a hidden side of the one we know... and, well, you being you, I wonder if you'd get irritated with inaccuracies? Because, in Souless, you let them go, because she's re-writing history, and it's no our world. This one also doesn't have the sense of humour Soulless does. It's pretty serious... it's a lot like a modern UF/PNR in tone--dark, takes itself seriously, not without humour--but set in 1800's England, so a slightly stiffer narrative voice...

      Ugh. Honestly? I seriously don't know... because you're you. And if you read a book I like, I want you to LOVE it. I think you might like this... but not if you were expecting another Soulless, or had your expectations too high... it's a romance novel. Pure and simple... and I like romance novels. I like historicals, and I like UF/PNR... so it's a fab mix :D

      Delete
    2. So did that, uh, not answer your question at all? I have the ebook on my phone. Read the first chapter next time I see you? It'll give you a feel for it :)

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    3. Well I don't know. I'm feeling a little insulted with all these mentions of "but you're you" :P

      I will consider it :D

      Delete
  8. Who, love your review!! I have the ARC just waiting to be read, lol, you're giving me serious stimulus to skip other reads and go straight to this one xDDD

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    1. Oh, Livia, I hope you love it! I was looking forward to this one, but I try to take my expectations with a grain of salt. I enjoyed this so so much!

      Delete
  9. Great review, I agree with you, it's always nice to read others reviews. I'm curious to know how will be the sequel know, if it would be sale thing or not.

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    1. Oh, Melliane, the sequel's synopsis is already on Goodreads. It has Miranda's sister and the werewolf dude from this one in it. Sounds cool! Here it is: Moonglow

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  10. So glad to hear that this one is gripping! I have it from Netgalley, but I hesitated to begin it until I heard from another blogger whether it was worth the read. Looks like it's getting bumped up higher on the TBR... :-)

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  11. This book is new to me. I'll have to look for this one now. Great review!

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  12. OMG! smoking hotness and shit! Victorian London and OMG!!!!!!! dear you killed me with this review! I have seen this book around but never ever read a review of it! Im SO adding it to my to-read list!! aewsome review!!!! muah!!!!

    Dazzling Reads

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