Normal people sneak out to a party and have fun. Maya Rao ends the evening by incinerating the guy who attacks her.
Nik Lucas, sexy, new in town and totally forbidden, happens to walk in on her. Normal guys would run for the hills. Nik knows a whole lot more than he’s telling.
Maya doesn’t believe the gods are real, doesn’t waste her time with mere mythology. But when gods, demons and hellhounds become the new normal and wielding fire becomes her new skill, she must decide what it is she really believes.
Can Maya accept that normal is something she will never be because it isn’t normal to be
…the Hand of Kali.
Now here’s my book review:
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I enjoyed Fire, very different from Christian paranormal in having demons but no angels. The pantheon of Indian Gods seemed more similar to Greek mythology than Christian. I stopped to look up Kali, referred to as the dark Goddess, to make sure Maya’s parents weren’t worshipping a dark as in evil being. Reassured, I empathized with Maya’s journey from total disbelief as an immigrant raised in American culture to finding she had a key role to play as Kali’s hand. The power to go with her purpose/mission—fire—made Maya a target of the demons.
One aspect of the book I enjoyed was Maya’s two opposite friendships, one with an American girl neglected by her parents and another of Indian descent whose father ruled with an abusive iron fist. Ayer did a good job on the characterization, making me want to punch out the bad dad and sympathize with both of Maya’s friends during the critical incidents that propelled the plot forward.
I also liked the mysterious newcomer Nik who showed up everywhere Maya went. An out-of-control party set things in motion for Maya’s slow acceptance of her own power and of beings she thought were myth. Along with her unwillingness to accept her destiny, Nik made an intriguing part of Maya’s conversion. The romance didn’t displace the action but became a part of it as Maya trained, so the pace didn’t get too bogged down. As the demonic attempts on her life took devious turns, the surprises kept coming too. Plus, I love awkward interactions and misunderstandings like those of Nik and Maya.
Although I couldn’t suspend my disbelief enough to immerse myself, curiosity and tension made up for that. I felt Maya’s surprise at each new bit of mythology she encountered, not all in the ways she’d been taught. I also felt her sorrow and anger at the (spoiler events) that pushed her to accept a desperate quest to retrieve (more spoilers) from the worst demon. The visuals were mostly well done, and the realms where Maya ended up traveling were interesting. The resolution was another pleasant anomaly in the trend of cliffhanger endings—a complete plot arc. The author even threw in some new mysteries and tension for the next book instead of leaving the first book’s business incomplete.
Not everything worked for me. The runaway sentence fragments drove me crazy, especially when I found what should have been a final clause down in the next paragraph. It’s not that hard to change the end of a verb from “ing” to “ed” to make a complete sentence, so I hope the editing cleans up those along with the ton of punctuation problems. Bottom line, an ARC shouldn’t be sent without at least a first round of editing because that many errors pulled me out of the story. Overall, this is a solid beginning to a series—3.5 stars for the creativity, complete plot, and characterization, and 4 once edited. There is plenty of room to expand in a universe I would like to visit again.