Fireborn (Souls of Fire, book 1) by Keri Arthur
From New York Times bestselling author Keri Arthur comes a brand new series featuring heroine Emberly Pearson—a phoenix capable of taking on human form, and cursed with the ability to foresee death…
Emberly has spent a good number of her many lives trying to save humans. So when her prophetic dreams reveal the death of Sam, a man she once loved, she does everything in her power to prevent that from happening. But in saving his life, she gets more than she bargained for.
Sam is working undercover for the Paranormal Investigations Team, and those who are trying to murder him are actually humans infected by a plague-like virus, the Crimson Death—a by-product of a failed government experiment that attempted to identify the enzymes that make vampires immortal. Now, all those infected must be eliminated.
But when Emberly’s boss is murdered and his irreplaceable research stolen, she needs to find the guilty party before she goes down in flames…
Claims that this book was a lot like the Riley Jenson series had me practically foaming at the mouth for Fireborn!! Pretty please and thank you. Ironically that's probably why I didn't love it. Because it was too much like the Riley Jenson series. Emberly had plenty of potential, but I didn't feel like she was fully fleshed out. Instead she had all the basics of Riley, and not enough Emberly to separate them. She has a male roommate, her soul mate who she can never be in love with—but still a lot like Riley's brother. Emberly is completely comfortable with her sexuality and owns it! (And really that is an aspect I'm happy to live with.) Emberly wants to live a quiet and normal life—this time around—but she's clearly all over the action and her justifications for getting involved seem stupid. Even the love interest has a lot of qualities like the Riley series, but worse.
Sam is already at that he's-an-asshole-who-felt-betrayed-but-really-just-didn't-understand-and-hurts-Emberly-continually jerk state. No really. Sam is already introduced as Emberly's ex. And he's probably one of the most insufferable male love interests to grace the pages of literature. OK, I've read a few worse ones, but this is a status update as I read: “Queue bus. Sam splatter. Now.” Arthur doesn't set up any time span for readers to get to know Sam as anything but an ass. There's no tender flashbacks. Readers are just supposed to take Emberly's word for it that their love was amazing, and that five years was not enough to get over him. Even though now that he's back in her life he's drugged her multiple times, threatened her, expects her to help him but practically gives her nothing, and one of those druggings leaves Emberly and another person completely defenseless against some enemies he knew where coming after her! Emberly annoyingly pining and Sam being an unmitigated ass gets old fast. Knowing Arthur she will drag this out, and I hate Sam. No matter what there will be no redemption for him.
Other then that, this book is a great start to a knew series! Jackson enters as a fire Faye who's down right sexy and helps Emberly steam up the page! While there is some questions to whether he is a good or bad guy, Arthur is kind enough not to torture readers too long. Also, some question to whether Jackson will be the other side of the love triangle. The vibes I’m getting are just good friends with benefits. They're a great team together and I like the idea of following a series where they both interact. Rory is also a surprisingly fun character, and I hope to see more of him considering he has a pretty tight connection to Emberly.
Which brings me to the coolest aspect of this series. Phoenixes! There's only one book that actually had a lead who was part phoenix that I've read, and others they've just been magical creatures. Arthur spins her mythology well. As phoenix are fire spirits and are quiet different from humans. They have three forms: human, fire, and phoenix! Phoenixes come in pairs, or soul mates, and can not live without their other half. Of course there's a tragic twist that pairs cannot ever be in love, romantically, with each other. Every life they are reborn their destined to have true love, and it is fated to never end well. Really sad crap. But I wonder how much it is they find that “true love” for that life and then they give up on “normal love”. You know the practical kind that you have to work at? Just a thought.
While Fireborn didn't have as powerful a murder mystery as what I'd grown accustomed to from my beloved Riley, I did have fun. (Come on, we all no ones different/wrong with Sam.) The setup for the Red Cloaks was interesting and left open to sprawl out in future entries into the series. (Though how no one would think that there's something fishy to a bunch of “crazy mindless beings” all having red cloaks? Mindless creatures don't wear uniforms.) The dark world and humor that readers have grown to love, and expect, from Arthur is present! While I find two of the men in Riley's life fantastic and love them without actually needing them to be her HEA. I will say that if Sam is dragged out as “the one” I'll probably not continue this series too long. However, I love the promise and I hope to get to know Emberly more! Arthur can deliver better mystery and love story then this and I look forward to it.
And no. You do not need to have read the Riley or Dark Angels series to read this It’s the same universe, but no cross over a that feeling of missing something.
Sexual Content: Hot bedroom scenes, plenty of sexual humor, and well . . . tons of sexual content. It’s Arthur it comes with the turf.
3/5- Adored it, just a few minor details held it back.
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