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Monday, February 20, 2012

Review: Within the Flames

Title: Within the Flames
Author: Marjorie M. Liu
Page Count: 376 pages
Publisher: Avon
Genre: paranormal romance
Copy for review provided by the author's publicist in anticipation of an honest review


Joining the Dirk & Steele Agency turned Eddie’s life around. A pyrokinetic and former car thief, he cannotrefuse an assignment to cross the continent in orderto rescue an extraordinary woman in peril . . . even though he fears losing control of the destructive power offlame at his fingertips.

The last of her shape-shifting kind, Lyssa hides in theabandoned tunnels beneath Manhattan, seeking refugefrom those who murdered her family a decadeago and would now destroy her as well. Like Eddie, fire isher weapon, her destiny . . . and her curse. Yet shewants nothing to do with this mesmerizing stranger whoseeks her trust while enflaming her passion.For beneath Lyssa’s extraordinary beauty are dangerous secrets . . . and even darker, nearly irresistible urges.But she has won the heart of a fearless protector . . .and all the demons in the world will not make him back down.

The Dirk and Steele series is one that I keep meaning to read and it somehow keeps falling through the cracks. Given the chance to pick up the series with this installment, it seemed like a fair enough deal. I admit it took me awhile to get around to reading this book, but I'm glad I did, and it definitely makes me want to go back and read the series in order, from the beginning.

I will lay out right here that my biggest issue/obstacle in this book stems from only having read the first book in the series and therefore not really knowing who any of the characters were or how they know each other or came to be in the story. That was only a small issue, though, as the overall focus of the story is definitely on Lyssa and Eddie and them falling in love and saving her from peril. It's just an element that I wish had been there for me, but I'm sure will be there upon future readings.

Anyway, Eddie and Lyssa are great together as a couple, and not just because they can both incinerate things to crispy little shreds if they aren't being careful, since Lyssa is a dragon shifter and Eddie is pyrokinetic. Both of them are Lonely with a capital L, since being a walking time bomb is no way to go through life, and therefore having friends and stability are kind of nonstarters as well. Each of them realize right from the beginning that finally having someone to trust and confide in is a huge blessing, and it was nice that neither of them ran from that.

The major conflict in this story stems from Lyssa being targeted by creepy witches that eat people to get high off their blood, and while that conflict was gross and creepy, it didn't overwhelm the romance of the story, and I did get that feeling that the whole story was just people running all over the place waiting for things to happen, which I've encountered with other series. It felt that although circumstances were desperate, they weren't chaotic. The tight plotting of the story was a definite plus.

Like I said, the big drawback for me reading this book was that I wasn't terribly familiar with any of the secondary characters. This made it a little difficult to get the references to past books, but made me want to read those books, so the purpose was still served. After doing this little bit of jumping around in the series I can definitely recommend starting from the beginning and reading in order. That's my plan, anyway!

Overall Grade:
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