9/30/2021 0 Comments
House on Fire by Jenn Burke
This is the second book in the Ashes & Dust series, which in turn is a spin off from the Not Dead Yet series. I was kindly provided an ARC by NetGalley and assumed that it would be fine to just jump right in to this book, but I must say that I strongly advice you to read at least the first book in the Ashes & Dust series, All Fired Up, first. Since I hadn’t, I was quite lost to the whole paranormal system and all characters, sadly.
Normally there’s some kind of recap at the start of a sequel that can give you the broader perspective, but not here. The story just started off at a furious pace, throwing characters and facts at you in a way that made it a bit hard to keep track of who was who and relate to them. I must admit that I never quite got the system with vampires, shapeshifters, Gods and demon co-existing with humans and why vampires could (needed?) to eat normal food, how the hierarchy worked and which of the characters to cheer for and which the bad guys were and why.
This is of course my own fault for not having read the first book, but I still would have wished for some more build-up and time to get to know the characters. Now it was so hard to keep up with who and what everyone was which took me out of the story a lot. I immediately rooted for Colin though, the Phoenix who had been held captive and forced to suck the magic of his victims, only to be bond-mated with a vampire, Evan. Evan took much longer to get to know, despite that he was the narrator and main character. He came across as quite locked-up and stiff and just off when it came to the romance part. It was like he was telling us readers how much in love he was, rather than letting us truly see and experience his feelings.
I also think that the cover and the blurb about how Colin is “done fighting his attraction to the sexy vampire” gives the impression that this is a romance between two young men, which it isn’t. There are romantic elements, sure, but it’s more of a paranormal mystery story than a romance. I also think the cover gives the wrong impression about the characters age. Colin was around 30 when he was transformed and then 30 years have lapsed, and even though he hasn’t aged during those years it still feels wrong with such young persons on the cover.
I really enjoyed the writing style though, and all queer representation, and I think that I would have enjoyed it much more if I had read the books in the Not Dead Yet series and All Fired Up first and had felt attached to the characters already from the start. So if you have read and loved those books, don’t let my review discourage you from reading this one too!
Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin (Carina Press) for the free review copy! All opinions are my own and I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.
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