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Review: Fireborn by Keri Arthur

Review: Fireborn by Keri Arthur
Fireborn by Keri Arthur
Series: Souls of Fire #1
Published by Penguin
Published on: July 1, 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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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…

amazeballs CoverLove unique

Werewolves, vampires, shifters, fae, mermaids, witches—you name it, I’ve read about ’em—in fact, I didn’t think that there was a paranormal out there that I hadn’t met, until Keri Arthur’s phoenixes. Now, I’m sure she’s probably not the first writer ever to feature them, but throw in some fascinatingly unique mythology, a different spin on vamps, and three strong fictional crush candidates, and you have one fiery series debut. This seasoned author never disappoints with her trademark writing style, rich world-building, and complex relationships, however I was a little frustrated that the heroine gets kidnapped several times in one novel. I hope that these books won’t be a repeat of Arthur’s DARK ANGELS in that respect. But, that minor annoyance aside, I really enjoyed FIREBORN and can’t wait to get my grabby hands on the next installment!

SOULS OF FIRE and I immediately hit it off; I loved learning about this new universe, and was thrilled with how in depth their lore was explored. Phoenixes have three forms—human, bird, and flame—go through “rebirth” every one hundred years, and have some pretty impressive abilities. Mind you, there are a few major drawbacks to being a fire bird including a nasty witchy curse that’s made true love impossible, they need another phoenix to survive, and living thousands of lifetimes isn’t always all that it’s cracked up to be. But, the world-building doesn’t stop there with additional mythology surrounding fire Fae, vampires, Red Cloaks, and a few mystery supes as well. I was in paranormal heaven!

As far as heroines go, I really liked Emberly; she’s level-headed, quick on her toes, and knows how to throw down. Surprisingly, she still holds out hope that one day she’ll find her soul mate, and I loved that her quasi immortality hasn’t made her bitter despite past failures. Rory is Pearson’s co-phoenix, but because of the curse their relationship is rather complicated; they need each other yet can never click romantically. And, therein lies the problem because any potential suitor must be able to accept that there’s always going to be another man in Emberly’s life. Sam, her ex, left her for that very reason without waiting for an explanation, so I had serious issues with him from the get-go, but on the flip side, I couldn’t exactly fault his logic either. Then add a smexy fire Fae into the mix, and readers are left with a whole lot of man-candy to drool over.

When I first started this book, I wasn’t exactly sure where Arthur was going to go with her phoenixes, but by the end I had a good sense of the main story arc. As in her other series’, the investigative angle is strong, and I enjoyed following this novel’s breadcrumbs. The Sindicati are formidable foes, and I look forward to seeing how the Crimson Death thread plays out as well, not to mention there’s something funky going on with Sam. I already have SO many questions, and this is only the first installment! Earlier I expressed my concerns about this author’s over-utilized kidnapping card, but I was somewhat consoled by the fact that Emberly is extremely difficult to contain. Here’s hoping that she won’t be another helpless victim like Risa Jones.

FIREBORN is book one in a red hot new series that’s destined to become an Urban Fantasy favourite; if you’re tired of the same ol’, then look no further than Keri Arthur’s SOULS OF FIRE.

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June 23 SciFi Chick July 09 My Bookish Ways
June 24 I Smell Sheep July 10 Supernatural Snark
June 25 On Starships and Dragonwings July 11 Not Yet Read
June 26 Manga Maniac Cafe July 14 HEAs Are Us
June 27 Fang-tastic Books July 15 Live to Read
June 30 Tynga’s Reviews July 16 The Book Pushers
July 01 Ramblings from this Chick July 17 Paranormal Book Club
July 02 Urban Fantasy Investigations July 18 Awesomesauce Book Club
July 03 Book Obsession July 21 Nyxx Book Reviews
July 04 Rabid Reads Jule 22 Literal Addiction
July 07 Wicked ‘Lil Pixie July 23 Supernatural Snark
July 08 A Great Read


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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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  1. Oooo Emberly sounds like a killer heroine! I love UF heroines. Glad to hear this new series from Arthur was a good one. I do love her books but it’s been absolutely ages since I’ve read one. Will have to give this a go!
    anna (herding cats & burning soup) recently posted…Interview w/ Yasmine Galenorn–All kinds of paranormal goodness, mac&cheese and camouflaged gnomes! + giveaway

    • In that case, you are going to LOVE Arthur’s dragons! Happy reading. 😀

  2. While i’ve read toms of UF and Paranormals they are all starting to sound somewhat the same but this one seems like the author added a really cool twists to the UF genre that makes this one stand out. I’m going to have to give it a try, especially since the heriones so kickass.
    Lily recently posted…Landline:Review

    • I was really surprised by the uniqueness of this book’s story line. If you’re looking for a change, Fireborn is definitely the way to go!

  3. Love hearing about the great world building and depth of the lore.

    • Good because this book has all of that and more!

  4. Loved this review! I love that this is so different and about phoenixes! This is going to be a must read for sure.
    kindlemom1 recently posted…Review: Magnolia by Kristi Cook

    • Thanks! Not too shabby for someone who’s barely back from vacay, eh? 😉

  5. I’m looking forward to this. I loved Riley’s and Risa’s books. This is going to be a bit different – I’m excited. Thank you!

    • Keri Arthur definitely brings her A-game in this latest book. Happy reading! 😀

  6. Woah, I LOVE that cover! And the book itself sounds so awesome. I’m glad the heroine is likable, too. Great review, Carmel!
    Hafsah recently posted…Review: LANDLINE by Rainbow Rowell

    • This book has SO much going for it that it’s practically impossible to resist! At least, I know that I sure couldn’t. 😀

  7. This one is high up on my TBR list! So glad to see you enjoyed it, was waiting to hear some reviews before I bought it. Though I do love KArthur books lol so I should have known it would be great.
    LilyElement recently posted…Review: Signed, Sealed, Delivered

    • I’m totally hooked on this series after only one book. Love it!

  8. I don’t think I’ve ever read about any phoenixes other than the HP books, this sounds really good. Something about this cover made me think this might be YA, but after reading your review I’m adding it to my list! I’m always on the lookout for a new supernatural in my reads 🙂
    Lori recently posted…Blog Tour: QUEEN OF WANDS by Katee Robert {Guest Post + Giveaway}

  9. Phoenixes! I need this! I don’t think I’ve read a phoenix before and I haven’t read any KArthur book either. Sounds like this is a great place to start. Thanks for the giveaway!
    Braine Talk Supe recently posted…#FBF: Discovery of Witches by Deorah Harkness

    • You can scratch two first off your list by reading this book. Win/win!

  10. Well hello! It looks like I have a new UF series to add to my wishlist and with Hollows ending this will be a good one to start. So many elements I love! Fantastic review Carmel
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…Vipers Run by Stephanie Tyler

    • You’re going to LOVE Keri Arthur’s phoenixes!

  11. I tend to have mixed feelings about some of her writing, but have always seemed to enjoy her worldbuilding no matter what. This sounds like a fantastic debut to a series and now you made me curious!
    Melissa (Books and Things) recently posted…Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper

    • She used to be one of my go-to authors, but her Dark Angel series kinda turned me off of her writing for a bit, so I’m glad that she hit it out of the park with Fireborn.

  12. Awesome looking cover!
    blodeuedd recently posted…The Child Eater – Rachel Pollack

  13. Wow, the phoenixes are an interesting new supe to read about! Great angle and lovely review Carmel.
    Jeann recently posted…One Tiny Lie by K.A. Tucker Review: Cheating both ways

    • I thought so too! It just goes to show that the Paranormal genre hasn’t explored all options yet.

  14. That is a different take and I haven’t read a story with phoenix’s. Great review Carmel, I’ll have to try Keri Author out 😉

    • Nice! Hopefully I don’t steer you wrong. 😉

  15. That cover really grabbed my attention! I love all the details and the font is also really cool. Never read a story about a phoenix, so I’d definitely want to read this! Great review, Carmel!
    Marianne recently posted…Review: Locks: Rapunzel Unhinged by Sarah J. Pepper

  16. I’ve been looking for another good UF book after finishing Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop. This sounds and looks perfect. Thanks for the great review!

    • This book’s more Urban and less Fantasy compared to The Others, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome. Happy reading!

  17. Hmmmm, Phoenixes?? I don’t think I’ve read any book with phoenixes as other as birds with fire magic before, so this one sounds like a new and very interesting kind of twist on the paranormal genre! Now I need to add it to me TBR list!
    Great review, Carmel!
    Pili recently posted…Saturday Pages: ARC Review of Rain by Amanda Sun!

    • The phoenixes are what drew me to this book too. Well, that and Keri Arthur’s writing!

  18. Aw now I’m sad I didn’t pick up this one up at the bookstore the other day. I started one of her older series a few years back and although I haven’t finished that series yet I do like it and want to keep reading it.

    Now I’m excited for this and I’m glad you highly enjoyed it.
    Thanks for the great review!
    Alexa recently posted…Easy

    • This one’s easier to get caught-up on too because there’s only one installment. 🙂

  19. Oh I want to discover this one as well! It sounds so awesome and I love every Keri books so you can understand that I’m curious. I want to discover the world now! I’m quite intrigued. thank you for the review!

    • If you’re already a fan of Arthur, then you’re going to LOVE this one!

  20. WOW! Phoenixes? That’s amazing! I had no idea there was a book about them :O So cool! I’m so glad you liked Emberly. She seems to be a perfect heroine. Oooh, I need to meet this Fae man-candy 😉 So glad you enjoyed this, lovely!
    Siiri recently posted…Mini-reviews: This Girl and Finding Cinderella by Colleen Hoover

    • What’s not to love about firebirds, right?? 😀

  21. I love a kick-ass heroine because what’s not to love, right? And you add that it’s UF…I’m sold. I haven’t read anything by this author so I’m excited to add this to my TBR!!! 😉
    Cristina recently posted…Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) by Leigh Bardugo

    • Nice! I hope you get to it sooner rather than later. You wouldn’t want to keep a phoenix waiting for too long!

  22. I’ve only read one book by Keri Arthur, but I still know exactly what you mean about the kidnapping thing. It was pretty annoying, so I’m glad to hear that Emberly is tough for her captors to subdue! The phoenix angle is very intriguing, so combining that with a stronger heroine and an emphasis on investigation makes me want to try Arthur again. Adding it to the massive TBR!
    Danya recently posted…Review: God’s War by Kameron Hurley

    • The whole kidnapping thing really annoyed me in her Dark Angels series, so when Emberly burned the ropes up and escaped I was like YEAH!!! LOL

  23. I just came back from a mine vac for the 4th of of July… I can’t denied I’m still under the influence a few but I still know when I want read a book.. And I want read this!
    Thank you for bringing it to my un-sober (another word for drunk) attention.
    Lupdilup recently posted…The Saint Audiobook by Tiffany Reisz (review)

    • You’re drunk and commenting? That’s a bad combo. Hehe

  24. I haven’t heard of this one but that cover! *stares* It’s so good, but I’m pleased to hear that it’s more than just that cover. So glad you enjoyed it and great review, Carmel 🙂
    Tanja recently posted…Sunday Post (#14)

    • Thanks Tanja! The cover is definitely a looker, but the inside is just as good. 🙂

  25. Emberly sounds like an awesome heroine, Carmel! I really think I’m going to enjoy her. Of course, as soon as I saw your ‘amazeballs’ gif, I added it to my GR shelf 😀 And that cover is hard-ass, too! I can’t wait to get to know Emberly, especially because she isn’t completely jaded after living for such a long time.
    Excellent review 🙂
    Lexxie recently posted…Blogtour Review: Division Zero (Division Zero #1) – Matthew S. Cox

    • Haha Glad to hear that my review gifs are working their magic!

  26. Glad to see you liked this. Tend to enjoy Keri Arthur and was intrigued that this was about phoenixes.
    Kristina D recently posted…Some Thursday Randomness

    • Keri Arthur’s writing really shines in her latest book. Enjoy!

  27. I just picked up Fireborn this weekend ( like I need more books – lol) and I’m even more excited after reading your review Carmel! Emberly sounds like such a fascinating new characters and I’m intrigued by her being a Phoenix.I loved how she has the three traditional Firebird forms “—human, bird, and flame—go through “rebirth” every one hundred years” you mentioned. Thanks for the wonderful review 🙂
    kim { Book Swoon } recently posted…Book Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

    • Arthur’s lore is so rich and detailed, I barely scratched the surface in my review. You’ll see what I mean when you read it. 🙂

  28. This sounds fantastic, Carmel!! I have read Keri’s Riley Jensen series (haven’t completed it yet) and enjoyed it quite a lot. I do appreciate how well she does with her worldbuilding and in creating characters that I became very invested in. I am anxious to see the world she built around phoenixes. I’m always happy to see new lore, like this. Fireborn is definitely going on my TBR. Great review!

    • Her Riley Jensen books were one of my first series addictions. I’m hoping to do a re-read one day because it’s been so long.

  29. I love the Phoenix so much so that the only tattoo I have is of one! I really look forward to reading this one!
    Tabitha (Not Yet Read) recently posted…Book Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson