Monday, 23 January 2012

Review: Fire Baptized by Kenya Wright

This is the début novel from author Kenya Wright. Fire Baptized is book 1 in the Habitat series

Title: Fire Baptized
Author: Kenya Wright
Publisher: Dragonfairy Press
Release Date: 16th January 2012 (Kindle Edition)
Series: Habitat Series, Book 1
Source: I received this e-book from the author for the purposes of an honest review.

From Kenya Wright's website:
Since the 1970s humans have forced supernaturals to live in caged cities. Silver brands embedded in their foreheads identify them by species: a full moon for Vampires, a crescent moon for Shifters, a pair of wings for Fairies, and the list goes on, for each supernatural species has been tagged and categorized by humans.
Lanore Vesta is marked with a silver X, the brand of Mixbreeds, second-class citizens shunned by society. She stays to herself, revealing her ability to create fire only during emergencies. All she wants to do is graduate college and stop having to steal to survive. But when she stumbles upon a murder in progress, she catches the attention of a supernatural killer. Now all she wants is to stop finding dead bodies in her apartment.
Enlisting help from her Were-cheetah ex-boyfriend Meshack and a new mysterious friend named Zulu, she is steered through the habitat’s raunchy nightlife. But their presence sometimes proves to be more burden than help, as they fight for her attention. While the corpses pile up, and the scent of blood fills the air, Lanore is left wondering: will she find the psycho or die trying?

When I read the synopsis to this book I thought it sounded good. I was wrong, this book isn't just good, it's great. Kenya Wright has created an incredible world. Added to a plot-line cram packed with action and suspense and you have the recipe for a damn good read.
The story is set in Miami but in this Miami there are Habitats where the supernatural creatures are penned in to keep them separate from the human race. Mixbreeds like Lanore (people whose parents are from different races) are second class citizens, and are not allowed to socially mix with purebloods and rarely go into higher education. In fact if she graduates Lanore will be the first Mixie to graduate from her college. Each type of supernatural creature has a silver brand on their foreheads. Mixies have a large X brand, identifying them for all the world to see and are largely shunned by society.  There is disparity between the purebloods and the Mixies and it's very well written. It's not the central theme of the book but it does give it another dimension. This disparity is intricately worked into most scenes like when she goes into a club to see her room-mate/ex-boyfriend and his band play, she is told she must sit at the back away from the pure-bloods, despite being equivalent to a VIP.

From very beginning we are thrown straight into an action packed scene where our heroine Lanore is running from security trolls having stolen the books she needs to continue her schooling. From there her day goes from bad to worse when she crosses paths with a couple of thugs who try to mug her and rape her. However, Lanore is half royal Fairy and half Demon, giving her the power of pyrokinises. If not for her ability to wield fire, Lanore would have been in big trouble. However her fire doesn't help her when only minutes later she stumbles upon a murder. Lanore cannot help the poor woman being butchered before her eyes and unfortunately she is seen by the killer. From there she finds notes from the killer taped to her apartment door and 'presents' they leave on her doorstep and in her apartment. These gifts consist of body parts belonging to people she knows. Lanore knows it's only a matter of time before the killer catches up with her so she becomes determined to get him before he comes for her.

As well as a killer with his sights set on her, Lanore has to deal with the two dominant male personalities in her life. Meshack, her room-mate and ex is the first one we meet. He's a pureblooded were-cheetah whom Lanore has known since her childhood, which by all accounts was troubled. Especially since her demon father experimented on Meshack, making him different from all other shifters. Meshack and La La (his nickname for her) have a pretty confusing but intense history and in a few scenes you can see the passion they have for each other still burns hot. Second is the mysterious Mixie Zulu, who like Lanore has royal Fairy in his blood, but also were-tiger. He has the ability to stop the shifts of most were animals and oozes power. Zulu is cunning and dangerous and, like Meshack, has fallen head over heels in love with Lanore. This leads to some fiery confrontations between the two men, usually with Lanore refereeing. Lanore has some tough decisions ahead concerning the two men in her life. I'm eager to see where these relationships end up throughout the series.

I enjoyed the world Kenya Wright has created and like the characters that call it home. I felt Lanore was a believable heroine, she may have been investigating these murders but you felt her fear along the way, she isn't naive or stupid enough to believe that she will come out of this completely unscathed. She also handles the situations concerning Zulu and Meshack well and will not allow them to dictate to her or to distract her from her matter how hard they try. She's far too stubborn for that. Zulu and Meshack are great contrasts as her lovers, Meshack being the pureblooded but rough around the edges rock star, and Zulu the refined aristocrat Mixbreed with more money that he knows what to do with. He also heads up a rebellious faction within the Habitat that calls for equality for the Mixies, something Lanore is proud to be a part of. The plot is straight forward and exciting with twists and turns as you try to figure out who the killer is along with Lanore. I enjoyed it immensely.

All in all I was presently surprised by Fire Baptized and will be on the lookout for the next one in the series. Also I think the cover is awesome.

My Rating 4/5

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, interesting review. I may have to buy this, or at least look into it. Never heard of the author though.


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