Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Review of Sparks by Laura Bickle

Five Fangs for Sparks by Laura Bickle

The urban fantasy genre has a wonderful new heroine in Anya Kalinczyk.

Laura Bickle's urban fantasy world is complete and unique. In a genre drowning under the weight of vampires, witches and werewolves Bickle's character Anya, a Lantern, is something different and refreshing. And the fire elemental Sparky the salamander- brilliant. The two of them together make a wonderful team that I really enjoy reading about.

The books display the darkness and despair that circle around the real city of Detroit while showcasing a fictional side that we don't see- the world of spirits, elementals and all sorts of darkness feeding off the despair. The backdrop is perfect. And Anya is believable- she's not hip or decked out in leather like some urban fantasy heroines or is she an all powerful creature battling the darkness alone, thought the possibilities of what she is to become are there and she is developing naturally in her role.

In the second book of this series, Sparks, Anya who is a rare psychic medium called a Lantern is trying to keep up with her day job as a Detroit fire investigator. Her newest series of cases raise some crazy questions and point to spontaneous human combustion- but what may be behind it is ghosts.

But how and why?

Turns out a local celebrity/con artist may be behind the ghosts and the spontaneous fires but how?

Anya has to put everything on the line to stop the ghost collector- all while trying to protect Sparky's recently lain eggs.

Sparks is even better than the first book Embers.

The interaction between characters is much more detailed and fleshed out, Anya's character is also fuller and richer and I loved the introduction of a new character Charon the ghostly connection between this world and the underworld. I really hope to see more of him in upcoming books.

I do question Anya's taste in men- first Drake another Lantern but also a firebug not to mention a little off his rocker, now Brian a highly intelligent tech geek who does government work- top secret work. He seems nice enough but something about his ethics and his murky aura make Anya wonder about him. I honestly don't think the two of them mesh- their whole code of ethics and thoughts on ghosts are totally different.

Sparks gives us (and Anya) some new information about Anya's past and her origins which are quite surprising and I am looking forward to seeing where that little twist takes the story in future books.

And here's the part that really got me in the book...they discuss spirits. Do they have feelings, a consciousness and does it matter if they do?

Anya feels the ghosts are still a part of humanity that they matter, Brian and another ghost hunter disagree.

I think that if humans are who we are because of our souls and the souls turn to spirits when we die how can what essentially makes us who we are not be important?

That's something to think about isn't it?

Sparks was a fantastic fiery read that I couldn't put down until it was finished. If each book in this series just keeps getting better I can't wait to read the next installment.

If you are looking for something out of the ordinary in the urban fantasy genre- this series is one to try. Not a vampire in sight, no werewolves either but you'll get lots of ghosts and elementals and Lantern or two.

Here is the book description from the back of the book:


Anya Kalinczyk is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern, who holds down a day job as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department—while working 24/7 to exterminate malicious spirits haunting a city plagued by unemployment and despair. Along with her inseparable salamander familiar, Sparky, Anya has seen, and even survived, all manner of fiery hell—but her newest case sparks suspicions of a bizarre phenomenon that no one but her eccentric team of ghost hunters might believe: spontaneous human combustion.

After fire consumes the home of elderly Jasper Bernard, Anya is stunned to discover his remains—or, more precisely, a lack of them; even the fiercest fires leave some trace of their victims—and she is sure this was no naturally occurring blaze. Soon she’s unearthed a connection to a celebrity psychic who preys on Detroit’s poor, promising miracles for money. But Hope Solomon wants more—she’s collecting spirits, and in a frantic race against time, Anya will face down an evil adversary who threatens her fragile relationship with her lover, her beloved Sparky’s freshly hatched newts, and the wandering souls of the entire city.


Sullivan McPig said...

Great review! I love this book.

Laura Bickle said...

I'm over the moon that you enjoyed it!

Roxanne Rhoads said...

Thanks Laura- I truly love this series and hope to see more of Anya and Sparky soon- Charon too for some reason he has totally grabbed my interest.

Laura Bickle said...

Thanks, Roxanne! If the series gets to continue, I have many evil plans for Charon...MWAHAHAHAHAH! He's not exactly what he seems to Anya, and I hope to explore that further. ;-)