Fire Kissed is the first in a new series by Erin Kellison. The world of the Shadow series extends to this one, with the addition of some new supernatural entities that make wraiths look like puppy dogs.
Kaye Brand is our scarred heroine. Literally. At the age of fifteen, she was sold to another House by her father. Not being too keen on becoming property, Kaye refused her husband-to-be and set the course for a seismic upheaval in the status quo. Think of it this way – each House, or family, of mages and their staff have a particular power. The Brands summon Shadowfire. The Mayas work with illusion. The Greys, to which Kaye is being sold, are said to work with iron. By saying no to her husband, Kaye set her house against his. The Brand house gets burned to the ground, Kaye’s face scarred by a wraith, and her father assumed dead, all because of one, tiny, two-letter word — no.
Kaye’s adult life is built on that tiny word. She set off on her own and sells her ability to summon Shadowfire to those rich enough to pay her price. She’s the perfect pawn to use as a gateway into the mage houses, and the angelic Order uses her as such. They send Jack Bastian, a jaded angel who reminds me so very much of Cary Grant, to convince her to infiltrate the world of the mages and hopefully stop the war between light and Shadow that all sides see coming. Romance blossoms, evil-doers plot, and the fae watch from the darkened corners, waiting to pick up the pieces of the defeated.
I loved the similarities – whether they be on purpose or accidental – to Notorious. No, I’m not talking about the movie about the rapper; I’m talking about the Hitchcock movie starring Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant. In it, Bergman’s German character is approached by Grant to spy on her former lover for the American government, much like Jack approached Kaye to spy on her own people. Jealousy is inevitable, and it morphs into negative feelings and assumptions of a return to the woman’s old, “loose” way of life. I loved it! There was even a reference to laying off the booze, just like in Notorious. It was like reading a paranormal version of one of my favorite movies. Again, this may have been purely accidental, but it added a new layer of enjoyment to the story.
For readers who aren’t giant movie nerds: I’ve adored every novel Erin Kellison has written. I devoured her Shadow series, became enamored with the Shadow Touch novellas, and couldn’t wait to return this world with the new Shadow Kissed series. Enough description about the world is given to entice, but not confuse, new readers without becoming repetitive. The characters are strong-willed, but not bullies, and they tactfully avoid those “Too Stupid To Live” moments we often see in the genre. My favorite part, though, was the chemistry between Jack and Kaye. There were several times when a convenient misunderstanding would have turned this into An Affair to Remember, but the bond between these two characters was so strong that they refused to be separated even when it seemed as though their love was doomed. How can you not love a story with magic, violence, and a little light to guide you through the Shadows?
- Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Zebra (July 3, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1420118978
- ISBN-13: 978-1420118971
Books in the Shadow Kissed series in the order they should be read: