I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Firebug by Lish McBride
Series: Firebug #1
Published by Macmillan on 2014-09-23
Genres: Action & Adventure, Family, Fantasy & Magic, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Young Adult
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Ava is a firebug—she can start fires with her mind. Which would all be well and good if she weren’t caught in a deadly contract with the Coterie, a magical mafia. She’s one of their main hitmen . . . and she doesn’t like it one bit. Not least because her boss, Venus, killed Ava’s mother. When Venus asks Ava to kill a family friend, Ava rebels. She knows very well that you can’t say no to the Coterie and expect to get away with it, though, so she and her friends hit the road, trying desperately to think of a way out of the mess they find themselves in. Preferably keeping the murder to a minimum, in Lish McBride's Firebug.
I love that Lish McBride provides a sorely needed breath of fresh air to the paranormal young adult genre. I mean, I know that fantasy is cool now and paranormal isn’t quite as in, but still, I will always enjoy paranormal books. As such, I will continue reading them as they continue coming into my mail. What I absolutely love about McBride’s books are that they incorporate different supernatural creatures beyond the standard fairy, vampire, and werewolf, I love that her books are hysterical, and that her books always incorporate a great element of friendship. Firebug is Lish McBride’s latest book and I am pleased to say that it exceeded my expectations. Essentially this book actually had me laughing out loud several times, not because it was ridiculous, but because it was actually funny as all get out.
Firebug takes place in the same universe as McBride’s necromancer books. While Hold Me Closer Necromancer and Necromancing The Stone take place on the west coast, Firebug takes place on the east coast — specifically in Maine and Boston. Main character Ava is a firebug, clearly as you can tell from the title. What this means is that her magical power is that she can start fires, kind of like Sailor Mars. Unfortunately, this means that Ava is in high demand for her power and in fact, she’s forced to work for this vampire woman named Venus who forces her to be kind of a hitman. Ava doesn’t love it, but the alternative is that she’s killed. Hoping for some semblance of normality, Ava goes on a date with her boyfriend, Ryan, to Boston where Venus corners her pretty much and says hey I have a contract out on Duncan, who FYI looks like Santa Claus is a golem maker and is a surrogate grandfather to Ava. Ava says no, and so the central conflict of the plot is what happens when Ava dares to defy Venus which is kind of like defying Don Corleone.
I have to say, after loving Sam from the Hold Me Closer, Necromancer books, I was a bit apprehensive about Ava. Fear not, Ava is just as awesome as Sam. She lives with her guardian, Cade, after her mother was murdered by a clean up team sent by Venus and the Coterie. She has two male best friends, Ezra who is a werefox, and Lock who is half-dryad. Ava is home schooled, but she’s trying hard to hold down a normal life between job assignments from Venus. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen for her, and as I mentioned above, Ava’s normal life is disrupted when her date takes her to one of Venus’s businesses and she’s asked by Venus to do a hit on Duncan. I loved Ava, she’s got this dry sense of humor. I mean, she’s the reason I laughed so much while reading Firebug. She wears thrift store duds because when you have a power involving fire, you tend to burn through a lot of clothes. However, she also tries to hold down a normal job, working at Cade’s used bookstore with her friend Sylvie and a bookstore cat named Horatio (for Hamlet). I think that if you like characters who have magical powers, but are also down to earth, you’ll love the main character of Firebug by Lish McBride.
I imagine that those of you in the audience reading this review saw that Ava has a boyfriend, two best friends, and are like oh no is this a love square book? Rest assured, there is absolutely no love triangle in Firebug. Sure, there’s romance. There’s kissing. There’s sleeping. There’s some definite attraction between Ava and someone who is not her boyfriend, because really he’s only a side character and does not seem nearly as awesome as Ezra or Lock. What I can tell you is that Ezra is very aware of his good looks and it’s super funny. Lock is also allegedly good looking, but beyond that, kind of sensitive and nice. You can tell that he cares deeply for Ava, so this reader totally shipped Ava and Lock as soon as we all met Lock.
Readers who enjoy smart and snappy paranormal fiction absolutely need to pick up anything written by Lish McBride. I can guarantee that Firebug will not disappoint. It has unique world building, and I have to admit I liked seeing the Coterie in contrast to the Council from the Necromancer books. I liked that Ava seems to be in an impossible situation, but refuses to go down without a fight. I loved the side characters — including a drove of hilarious were-hares. I loved the relationship between Ava and her guardian, Cade. I loved the portrayal of Duncan. I loved how deliciously evil Venus was. This book has heart and humor, and so it’s one I would not hesitate to recommend to you.