Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Review: Fire Baptized by Kenya Wright

Fire Baptized by Kenya Wright
(Habitat #1)
2.5 out of 5 stars

Published by Dragonfairy Press
Review copy received through the author

You know the feeling when every single person you know loved a book, but you don't? And you wonder why people don't see it? That is how I feel about Fire Baptized.

Supernaturals are being forced to live in cages the size of small cities. Here they live in poverty and suppression. But things are even worse if you are a Mixbreed. They are second-class citizens, even in the Habitat. When she witnesses a gruesome murder on the way home, Lanore is determined to find the killer. But then he starts targeting people around her, and the killings get more personal.

The best way to describe Fire Baptized is an Anita Blake novel merged with a dystopian with social suppression themes. Think pre-orgy Anita Blake here. It's graphic urban-fantasy. There is a high level of gore and sex scenes that leave very little to imagination. I wouldn't recommend this for the sensitive reader. But for those of you who like it gritty - you might like this.

I admire the idea behind the story. It's different from what we're used to. There are Shifters, Vampires, Fairies, Pixies, Half-Demons and Witches; about every supernatural creature you can think of. They live in a caged city, cut off from the world. It's a highly original concept, and I just wish the execution was better.

The thing is, when you make this fantastic world with countless creatures that inhabit it and even make a whole religion for them, I want details. I want to know who built the cage. How does it look. What kinds of supernaturals are there, and what are their powers. When did supernaturals come out of the closet, so to speak? My main problem with Fire Baptized is that these details aren't there. There are pixies flying around, but I don't even know what they look like. Trolls make an appearance, but I have no idea whether they're black, green or orange. I get that you have to avoid info-dumps in books, especially in genres like urban-fantasy, but I sense a new phenomenon here. I'm calling it info-voids.

One of the biggest info-voids is why the supernaturals are even in a cage. Who put them there? Didn't they put up a fight or something? It mustn't be easy to put witches inside of a cage. The elements that make this story unique are just hinted on. Too much information is bad for a story, and it bogs it down. But too little makes it senseless.

Another thing that bothers me is inconsistencies. At one point in the novel, a law is mentioned that says vampires can't grow older than the age of a hundred. A few chapters later, we meet some vampires that are about two hundred years old. Maybe there is an explanation for this, but it isn't mentioned in the book.

My biggest annoyance in the book is the language Ms Wright has created. I think it's admirable to create your own language; I think it's great that Rebels speak some kind of dialect. You can even call it Lib Lib if you want to. What I don't like is that the Rebels talk like Yoda on a trip to Jamaica. As an illustration, I will quote some of the Lib Lib sentences spoken by a Rebel.

"Me no like this place already," Nona complained. "It's full of oppressors. We sit in the front."

"Me understand, but he can't harm you. You're Zulu's breeder."
And this is a response from heroine Lanore.

"Rest your... um, mouth, Nona," I said, straining to think of the few Lib Lib phrases I knew. "Him good."
I'm willing to believe in magic. But I am not willing to believe that this person cannot understand basic English. She SPEAKS basic English, only like a three-year-old. It just wasn't credible at all and turned into something that annoyed me every time it came up.

If you like stubborn (not necessarily smart) heroines, love triangles, alpha males with rock hard abs, gruesome murders and grown-up bullying, I think you might like Fire Baptized. It really isn't a bad book, and a lot of people have enjoyed and will keep to enjoy it. As of now I am the only person here on Goodreads not to like it that much. Try it, and see for yourself.


Since the 1970s humans have forced supernaturals to live in caged cities. Silver brands embedded in their foreheads identify them by species: a full moon for Vampires, a crescent moon for Shifters, a pair of wings for Fairies, and the list goes on, for each supernatural species has been tagged and categorized by humans.

Lanore Vesta is marked with a silver X, the brand of Mixbreeds, second-class citizens shunned by society. She stays to herself, revealing her ability to create fire only during emergencies. All she wants to do is graduate college and stop having to steal to survive. But when she stumbles upon a murder in progress, she catches the attention of a supernatural killer. Now all she wants is to stop finding dead bodies in her apartment.

Enlisting help from her Were-cheetah ex-boyfriend MeShack and a new mysterious friend named Zulu, she is steered through the habitat’s raunchy nightlife. But their presence sometimes proves to be more burden than help, as they fight for her attention.

While the corpses pile up, and the scent of blood fills the air, Lanore is left wondering: will she find the psycho or die trying?

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Mirjam said...

Never heard of this one before, but after reading your review I do not think I am missing out on anything!

Andrea said...

I've never heard of this series before, and I'm kind of glad. It sounds like there is too much going on. I like that it incorporates all these supernatural creatures but I feel it would be too much. And the info-voids would get to me too. Thanks for the honest review. I think I'll hold off this one for a bit.

Kenya Wright said...

Thanks so much Celine for reviewing my book!  :-)

Kenya Wright

Ashelynn @ Gypsy Book Reviews said...

Ugh. I understand how you feel. Whenever I don't like a book everybody else did, I think, "Am I reading the same book?!" because... yeah... :p

thanks for the review! I'm going to steer clear of this book, mostly because the "Lib Lib" talk drives me insane. I like when authors create their own language (like James Dashner's THE MAZE RUNNER trilogy) but when it's caveman speak... ugh, no. AND YES! I want details, too. It's hard to find the balance between info-dump and info-void, but it has to be found because readers don't know EVERYTHING about your story like you do. 

great review. :) 

Ashelynn @ Gypsy Book Reviews.Be sure to read my cover interview with THE LOST GIRL's author, Sangu Mandanna. 

Celine said...

You're very welcome Kenya (:

Celine said...

As far as I know your taste in books by reading your blog, I think this book wouldn't be for you indeed (:

Celine said...

The several paranormal creatures actually didn't bother me that much, because while they're there, they're not the focus of the story. It reminded me a bit of City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

Celine said...

Thanks Ashelynn! I think it's cool when authors make their own language. But in this instance it was too simplistic for my taste. You can also over-do it, like Christopher Paolini who even adds a pronunciation guide at the end of his book.

Writing a book is all about balance, and only very rarely does an author get it perfectly right ^^

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