Well-Worn Pages: CHILD OF FIRE by Harry Connolly

For years, I have been on a quest to find Urban Fantasy with awesome male protagonists.

There’s a lot of bleed between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance, so you end up flirting with some of those genre’s female leads. I actually enjoy those books quite a bit, just so long as they don’t go all Ally McBeal – Season 3 on me. I am a staunch proponent of chicks in leather kicking monster-ass.

Regardless, it is definitely difficult to find cool male protagonists in Urban Fantasy.

So, how in the world did I miss Ray Lilly from Harry Connolly’s (@byharryconnolly) Twenty Palaces series?!?

Yeah… I’m going to be reading all of these books.

First off, thanks to CE Murphy (‏@ce_murphy) and Betsy Mitchell (@Betsy_Mitchell) for turning me on to the series. Second, shame on you two for doing it right when I was starting NaNoWriMo. Child of Fire was a wonderful way to spend a couple evenings curled up in front of the fireplace with the dogs and a bottle of wine. However, it most certainly did not net me any words.

This book is the first in the Twenty Palaces series, and it’s worth the read. However, if I understand correctly, Connolly recently released a prequel. I’m looking forward to that as well, but I don’t know if it would be best to read the prequel before or after the other books. Maybe someone who’s read them all can chime in with their opinion in the comments.

Child of Fire is not your modern day swords and sorcery type of story, it leans a little more toward the horror side of the genre. Connolly has his own style, to be sure, but his fantastical elements remind me more of Stross’ The Atrocity Archives than Butcher’s Dresden Files or Hearne’s The Iron Druid Chronicles. There are big, bad nasties out there and they are not at all timid about gobbling up the whole planet.

This is a fast, fun romp over forty miles of rough road. Strong, distinct characters have the wheel, and don’t climb in if you’re a little squeamish.

I have a couple other books on my must-read list, but the sequel, Game of Cages is one of my post-NaNo, December rewards.

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