Title: Baptism of Fire
Author: Jessie Thomas
Genre: Urban fantasy
Rating: Five stars
“Welcome to Perdition Falls, New York: where arson is considered a recreational activity, the abnormally hot climate makes everything unbearable, and according to one origin story shrouded in myth and legend, our city is an actual Hellmouth.
I’ve learned those infernal tales aren’t just a cheap marketing ploy to lure in tourists and paranormal frauds.
It’s Hell. We’re literally sitting on top of Hell. Fire, brimstone, actual demons—the works.
When an incendiary—the name other pyromancers have given to the infestation of Hellfire-wielding demons—kills my closest friend and fellow firefighter, I’m left with a rare power I barely understand. It’s the only reason I survived. It also makes me a target, something to be coveted by those who know Perdition Falls’ most dangerous, well-kept secrets.
While a demonic arsonist puts the city’s resident pyromancers on edge, I’m reunited with my long-lost childhood friend Javier, who shares the same strange power that runs through my veins. With him, I find my footing in a place I thought I knew and buried memories from our past start to resurface. As our ragtag group comes together, we become the last defense against the incendiaries’ corrupt hold on the city…one completely disastrous mission at a time.
But taking down this homicidal demon with a flair for pyromania might mean trusting one of their own.”
* * *
I found this book by asking for paperback recommendations on Twitter and wow. If every book I find through Twitter is this good, I’m going to make it a weekly thing.
Baptism of Fire follows Victoria Phoenix, known mostly as Nix (sometimes Vic but never Victoria). She is a firefighter in Perdition Falls, a city in New York state which is abnormally hot year-round and a place that arsonists call their playground.
When a disaster happens on one of her call-outs, Nix learns that Perdition Falls isn’t on fire because of its climate but because of its residents. Demons walk among them and they enjoy watching the city burn. This disaster unlocks an unusual power that Nix never knew she had and it has put a target on her back.
Nix is determined to find the demon responsible for the disaster which kills her best friend and colleague. Luckily, the supernatural sect of the city’s fire department is eager to help her learn how to use her new powers and track down the demon who seems to be targeting firefighters.
I. Loved. This. Book.
I was interested from the get-go, but I was hooked by chapter two. By chapter fifteen, I was a lifelong fan of this author. It’s well-written, incredibly immersive and so vivid. It’s one of those books that makes you forget that reality is a thing while you’re reading it.
Nix is an incredibly realistic character and that makes her pretty vivid too. She’s broken by her recent experience, fuelled by vengeance, yet she has almost crippling doubts and fears that serve as their own obstacles alongside the demons she’s facing. She’s a multi-faceted protagonist, kick-ass and very human, despite her supernatural abilities.
The antagonist in this book is both absent and ever-present and its that sinister feeling of him always being there yet constantly out of sight that is particularly striking about him. He only really shows up for the last two chapters yet we feel as if he has been there all along. I somehow built up a strong perception of the antagonist throughout the book without him doing much at all. It’s a masterful portrayal of a very sinister, dangerous man.
Story-wise, this book knocked it out of the park. There’s drama throughout, unpredictable outcomes and high stakes. When Javier, Nix’s childhood friend, arrives on the scene, he teachers her how to use her powers and he is the sweetest guy. This book should come with a warning that you will be obsessing over this new book boyfriend.
I’ve already tweeted Jessie Thomas as to whether or not there’s going to be a book two because there is the sweetest, most wholesome connection between Nix and Javier that I would love to become a full-on romance. The verdict: there’s a second book in the works but no release date as of yet. No worries, I follow her on Twitter and I will be obsessively checking for updates.
Jessie Thomas is a masterful story-teller and in five years time she will be on all the bestseller lists and who knows, maybe even a household name. One way or the other, this lady is going places.
Without a doubt, Baptism of Fire has earned The Secret Library Recommended Reads seal!
In case I haven’t stressed this enough, you need to Get. This. Book. Immediately.
Here is the Amazon buy link and I highly recommend getting this book in paperback because you’ll want to be able to pluck it off the shelf and read it again and again. Plus, it’s going to look absolutely gorgeous on your bookshelf – it sure does on mine!
Thanks for reading!