Monday, June 6, 2011
Child of Fire by Harry Connolly
I just finished Child of Fire, the first of the Twenty Palaces series by Harry Connolly. Wow, it was amazing! I don't think “page turner” or “fast paced” can do this masterpiece justice.
My Rating: ★★★★★
I loved Child of Fire. I don't think any book has so completely engrossed me since (any of) the Dresden Files books. Now, I've heard this one compared to the Dresden books several times, and they do both have a male protagonist. Both are engrossing and action packed. But Ray Lilly is not Harry Dresden. He is harder and does not have Harry's refreshing sense of humor. Ray is in an awful situation – he only expects to live a few days, at most – and really, has nothing to joke about. Dresden's world can be dark, but Ray's manages to be darker. This is not a light read. But it's well worth it.
Everything? Can I say that? It's hard to point out just a few great things with Child of Fire, because I loved it so much. When I was reading, I hated to put it down. It gripped me from the first few pages and didn't let go. I loved both the main characters, even though Annalise was almost an anti-hero (technically, on Ray's side, but still scary as all could be). I really understood Ray, and empathized with him. The plot intrigued me, although only part of it was still a mystery up to the end. The action was intense and thoroughly enjoyable. Just about everything about Child of Fire was amazing.
This is more on me, I think, than the book. I couldn't keep up with all the side characters and the names being thrown around. Ray would learn some clue about someone, and mention that person later, and I wouldn't remember that name. Anyone who's met me in real life knows I'm horrible with names. There are plenty of names in this book, some of people we never meet.
This was not an issue for me, but others might have problems with it: this is closer to a horror novel than a fantasy (albeit urban fantasy). Many parts are surprisingly dark. The main plot revolves around children dying, horribly, and being completely forgotten by everyone around them. That's not a spoiler. The first one happens within just a few pages. It is very gritty and dark.
This is an excellent addition to the urban fantasy genre, and I recommend it to anyone who likes their UF dark or are looking for something new.