by Kenya Wright
Pub. Date: January 28, 2012
Book received from: Author
In this new adult urban fantasy/sci-fi series by Kenya Wright, a vivid world has been created. Supernaturals have been forced by Humans to live in a fenced-in slum-like habitat, separating them from the outside world, affording them only limited rights. Lenore is a Mixedbreed, who is even lower on the scale of the supernatural hierarchy. She will be the first “Mixie” to ever graduate from college, and she has paid her dues to get to where she is. She is headstrong, smart, and driven. So, when she stumbles on a murder happening, setting her in the killer’s sites, she takes it upon herself to find the killer and set things right.
Things quickly get out of hand, when the murderer turns out to be a serial killer with an agenda. With her long-time friend, and ex, MeShaw and her new interest Zulu, Lanore is sure she will do better than the authorities. She is taken into the seedy clubs, vampire parties, and throughout the slums in search of the person behind all the corpses. The problem is, the killer know who Lanore is, and the stakes are getting higher. Coming out of this all alive may not be an option for everyone involved.
The main issue I had with this book is the love triangle, as it is just an easy fallback that many writers seem to be using lately. We are given a supposedly strong female character, but she is so controlled by the men around her that it takes up a large part of the story. Not only were both the male characters vying for Lanore’s affection, they were both incredibly controlling. Although it is said that the guards that are supplied are for her own protection, they seem more like watchdogs than bodyguards. Also, the blatant statements from both MeShaw and Zulu saying that they ‘own’ her and ‘she is theirs’, is just going way past romantic feelings. At one point, one of them even ‘marks’ her with his scent so everyone will know that she is taken. To me, the forceful characterization of the males detracted from what could have been a strong female lead character.
Wright has created gritty and disturbing world that is centered around the theme of race and class relations. In a clever exploration of the politics of race, it is delivered in an entertaining way. The writing style makes for a quick and easy read, and the descriptions are well done, helping to create the fantasy world within Fire Baptized. While there could be a bit more explanation as to the origins of the habitat, the history of the supernaturals, and why the class system became organized in such a way, the meat and mystery of the story keeps you until the end. Perhaps a sequel will further explore the origin stories. If so, I may be enticed to further explore the world of Ms. Wright, and all its inhabitants.
This book can be purchased at Amazon.com, as well as your local independent bookseller.
For more about Kenya Wright, go to her website here.