September 25, 2014

Firebug - Lish McBride

Firebug Lish McBride book cover
Firebug by Lish McBride
Series: Firebug #1
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication Date: September 23, 2014
Source/Format: Publisher (Thanks!) || ARC
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects my review.]

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.

Firebug is, without a doubt, one paranormal novel that makes me think I stand a chance of liking what gets put out in this particular genre/classification. I'm not a big paranormal reader, as you readers might know, but I thought Firebug was pretty dang good. The combination of compelling story and memorable characters definitely worked, as I read it way faster than I expected!

Ava, our main character, is a firebug, which basically means she can control fire and flames with just a thought. Her abilities are a special skill that make her an excellent fighter... and killer, as her contract with the Coterie might have it. Ava's a strong heroine, who genuinely cares about her family and friends. She finds the binding position she's in as a contracted member weapon of the Coterie to be totally against her morals. I seriously admired her, and also appreciated the fact that, beneath all of these skills and smarts she's got, she's also a typical teen girl who wants to live as normal as possible a life.

McBride pulls out a variety of paranormal creatures to complete the cast of characters here, even as she sprinkles a couple of memorable humans in. Among the paranormals, I loved Ezra and Lock the best. They happen to be the two other people who make up Ava's "team" and they're also her best friends; Lock's a nurturer and Ezra's the one who lightens up a situation. I love the dynamic between all three of them, and definitely look forward to having more of their interactions. And among the humans, I loved Cade, Ava's guardian, who's a normal guy but jumps through a million hoops just for Ava.

Firebug starts off a wee bit slow, but the pacing definitely picks up and gets to a good place as it progresses. I was curious to see how Ava and company would respond to the crisis they faced, and McBride definitely amps up the stakes as pages go by. The only reason I didn't 100% click with Firebug, in fact, is because it reminds me of a few other stories I'd read previously.

But the thing is, in the end, I know I liked Firebug. What's my biggest clue? It's the fact that I'm pretty sure I'm willing to read the next novel in this series, which doesn't always happen. McBride succeeded in writing a charming tale populated with fun characters, and I certainly look forward to finding out what's next in store.

What paranormal creature would you want in your family tree?

Honestly, I'm really torn between the two that first popped into mind - an elemental or a were-tiger. I really think I'd be well-suited to either based on my actual disposition. With elementals, I'd probably be either an Earth or Air elemental. And with were-tigers, well, I like tigers and I have some of the characteristics of a cat.


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