Sunday, January 8, 2012


Child of Fire is an Urban Fantasy novel that has been “on my radar” for some time now.  “Excellent reading…delicious tension and suspense”, Jim Butcher author of the Dresden Files Novels is prominently featured on the cover, and even though this is my current favorite author and series, I still did not purchase Child of Fire. What was my hesitation to read Child of Fire? The main protagonist Ray Lilly was clearly a former criminal and from my minimal research, did not seem like a particularly likeable character. I’m not a fan of the anti-hero; and yet Child of Fire still intrigued me.

Finally, after more than two years from its original publication date, I bought and read Child of Fire by Harry Connolly. I was right that Ray Lilly, Child of Fire’s main character was not your standard “hero”, but it turns out that he is fairly likeable.

The novel starts with Ray driving his “boss” Annalise Powliss on a mission to find the cause of children missing from the small town of Hammer Bay, Washington. Ray is a “wooden man” assigned to Annalise , who is an agent of the Twenty Palace Society – a group of sorcerers that hunt down and kill other users of magic. Ray, a former car thief, is released from prison by the Twenty Palace Society for the sole purpose of acting as a sort of body guard and servant to Annalise.  When they arrive at Hammer Bay, no one in town remembers the missing children and it quickly becomes apparent that magic is the key to their disappearance.

The tone of Child of Fire is very “noir”, but the action and mystery elements keep the story from bogging down and becoming too morbid – despite the many deaths of both the innocent and guilty. The magic in Child of Fire is very different from most other Urban Fantasy novels, in that it involves the use of written spells, as opposed to the usual verbal ones. Not much time is spent on either explaining the magical rules or the origins of the Twenty Palace Society that Ray and Annalise work for. This causes a bit more work for the reader than I’m used to, but it works for Child of Fire in that it forces you to focus on the plot at hand and work out the magical rules for yourself.

The sequel to Child of Fire, Game of Cages was published last year, and I’ve already bought this – with plans to read it in the coming months. If I like that as much – and hopefully more – than the first novel, then I will more than likely buy and read the third novel, Circle of Enemies – published in August of 2011 – as well.

TECHNICAL: Plot – 9 Characters - 8 Style - 9 World building – 9 Big Finish - 9
VISCERAL: Imagery – 9 Creativity – 9 Intellectual – 8 Emotional – 9 Involvement -9


A fairly recent trend in publishing is to create "trailers" for novels. Here is the full trailer for the Twenty Palaces books, created by Wyrd Films.


  1. Luv the site, mad players! Wonderful review of Child of Fire, I've placed it in my TBR pile. I'm trying to find you guys over on g+, but can't seem to find you. You have to hook up on FB and on Twitter, so there's more shout outs to your site. Hope to read more reviews! Godspeed and the best of luck with the site.
    See ya,

  2. Thanks for the big props, Dana!

    I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed the challenge of Child of Fire – which is not something I get from most of my Urban Fantasy reading. That may explain why I’ve been reading less of UF in recent years. Still, I’ll read a book in any of my BIG THREE genres if it has an interesting premise, likeable characters and a solid plot.

    I don’t have any plans to hook up with Google plus just yet. I also – nor do any of my other Genre Guardians – have a Facebook or Twitter account and it isn’t likely we will in the future. However, I am attempting to recruit a new Genre Guardian that has mentioned he has some interest in setting up an account on both those social networks. So it may happen sometime in the near future. Perhaps Phileas can tell me if it is going to happen or not. Eh, Phileas?

    Keep up the great works at Readaholics Anonymous, Dana!