Detroit Fire Department arson investigator Anya Kalinczyk is also a Lantern, a rare form of psychic medium, who devours the souls of misbehaving ghosts.
She also has a collection of rubber duckies.
A serial arsonist is leaving his mark, and Anya soon learns that he’s also a Lantern. But he has a diabolic scheme to summon Sirrush, a mythological dragon. (I think.) Meanwhile, a soul Anya devoured has now set up shop inside her, and escalates control.
The arson investigation is the major winner here, proving that UF protags can have real jobs outside their paranormal lifestyles. (Well, until they’re thrown off the case when it gets too personal.) Detroit is refreshingly unpretty, making it instantly relatable for readers bored with glitzy locations. Demonologist mentor Ciro is awesome, as are the firefighters. The ghosts themselves – such as Virgil, Felicity, Renee and Nina – are also rather nifty.
Other characters, however, aren’t as endearing. The Detroit Area Ghost Researchers don’t really appeal to me, and the police dude taking over the arson investigation is rather one-dimensional. Also, Anya shagging the other Lantern doesn’t make sense. He’s an ARSONIST, for crying out loud! He devours ghosts who aren’t bothersome. If Mimi really is in control of Anya, that would be understandable (Mimi’s been known as Succubus before), but the Lantern guy asks Anya specifically who wants to nail him, and our heroine claims that it’s really Anya, and not Mimiveh. Unprotected shagging, I might add. Wouldn’t be surprised if he was into burning bare flesh, and allowing wounds to become affected. This is not the kind of person you should trust with your privates.
In short, the urban stuff (Detroit, firefighting, arson investigating) is awesome, but the fantasy stuff don’t entirely work for my tender brain, which can only suspend disbelief so far. But there’s no denying Embers is a page-turner, which kept me reading, and may suit M. J. Rose fans. Am very much looking forward to Sparks in late August.