Thursday, December 8, 2011

Book Review: Within the Flames by Marjorie M. Liu

Within the Flames
Author: Marjorie M. Liu
Publication: Avon; Original edition (November 29, 2011)

Description: Joining the Dirk &Steele Agency turned Eddie’s life around. A pyrokinetic and former car thief, he cannot refuse an assignment to cross the continent in order to rescue an extraordinary woman in peril . . . even though he fears losing control of the destructive power of flame at his fingertips.

The last of her shape-shifting kind, Lyssa hides in the abandoned tunnels beneath Manhattan, seeking refuge from those who murdered her family a decade ago and would now destroy her as well. Like Eddie, fire is her weapon, her destiny . . . and her curse. Yet she wants nothing to do with this mesmerizing stranger who seeks her trust while enflaming her passion. For beneath Lyssa’s extraordinary beauty are dangerous secrets . . . and even darker, nearly irresistible urges. But she has won the heart of a fearless protector . . . and all the demons in the world will not make him back down.

My Thoughts: This is the 11th book in the Dirk & Steele series and the first one that I have read. It won't be the last. I thought the book was filled with interesting characters and had a nice combination of danger and romance. The main characters are Eddie and Lyssa. 

Eddie is an employee of Dirk & Steele. He is a prone to bursting into flame when stressed. So being in control is very important to him. He ran away from home at age 13 after he killed a man who had killed his sister. The man was the brother of his stepfather - the same stepfather who was abusing both Eddie and his sister. Actually, Eddie was aiming for his stepfather but his rage was so out of control that the fire hit the brother instead. This led to him spending years on the street and honing his skills as a car thief and learning to control his fire. Now, he works at Dirk & Steele to protect people who need him.

Lyssa has also been on the streets since she was 12. She is on the run from the evil witch who killed her parents and wants to either kill or convert her. She has been hiding in New York City. She has been afraid to make friends or really get to know anyone because they would become a target for the witch who is searching for her. She has become an artist and author but does all her communication through email.She is also in hiding because the trauma of seeing her parents killed has caused one of her arms to shift to her dragon form and it is stuck there. See, Lyssa is part dragon (on her father's side) and part witch (on her mother's side). 

The witch who is after her is Cruor Venator - that is a witch who is part demon and completely evil. They find joy in torturing people slowly to death and drinking their blood and eating their flesh. They are also able to spread a sense of absolute terror wherever they go. It was thought that the last Cruor Venator had been killed but now she is active again and has started a killing spree. And, it takes another Cruor Venator to kill her.

Lyssa and Eddie have to battle through his determination to protect her and her determination to drive him away so that she can protect him. They also have to deal with the trauma they both experienced as children. And, by the way, they have to find a way to defeat the Cruor Venator.

I found the writing style engaging and the plot fast moving. I liked the exploration of Eddie and Lyssa's emotions as they fall in love. This was a very engaging story.

Favorite Quotes:
His world stopped. Everything inside him, around him, suspended in a wash of terrible heat. Even from across the street, he could see the color of her eyes: golden as the sunrise. Fire licked beneath his skin, inside his heart, in his bones--but it felt transcendent, made of light instead of flame. Light, burning inside him.
Lyssa had never been touched by a man she wanted.

Actually, "want" was too cheap a word. Every part of her felt inexplicably, inexorably, tugged toward this man. The attraction was primal, elemental--utterly beyond her comprehension. She would have blamed witchcraft if she were susceptible to to that sort of thing, but in this case, all she could call it was insanity.  
I received a finished copy of this book for review from Elena at Wunderkind PR. You can get your copy at Amazon.

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