Fallen Embers (Book 1 of the Ember Series) by Lauri J. Owen
September 1, 2010
Paperback, 384 Pages
Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: "Fury consumed her, comforted her, caressed her.
The fire was her heart and it was burning. She wanted to strike out, ease her fear…
but she couldn’t seem to remember anything but the rage."
A violent attack leaves a young attorney and her nephew in an alternate time ruled by a class of decadent mages who have enslaved the shape changing indigenous peoples. As war looms, Kiera must learn to survive in this new world. Whom can she trust — Marco, the young mage she saves, or fierce and handsome Laszlo, the slave captain of Lord Vayu’s army? Kiera’s harrowing journey leads her to joy and to heartbreak. Choosing the wrong side may cost her everything.
When Keira and her nephew are attacked by a dog, they awake in an alternative version of Alaska. As she struggles to gain her bearings, she comes across three children being attacked by soldiers. When she attempts to save the children she gets her first taste of the magic
that suddenly flows through her body. She commands fire. As she holds back the soldiers from the children, she meets the gorgeous Captain Laszlo. Captain of his Lord’s army, he invites her and the children to travel with the Army. While traveling with the Army Kiera learns more about the world she has arrived in and fears for hers and Alex’s safety.
It is a feudal time where man is king, slavery is permitted, and women are chattel.
When she arrives at her destination she finds herself detained by deception, promises, and love when she once more saves a child’s life. Kiera chafes at the luxury she sees in the opulent world of the ruling class she sees being obtained on the backs of the enslaved shape shifters.
Cruelty and decadence rules this empire and it’s inhabitants.
As Kiera tries to cope with magic, parenting, and love she also unwillingly enters the political arena through a series of small but socially conscientious acts.
Rebellion soon sweeps through land and Kiera is swept along with it along with her lover, Captain Laszlo and Marco, the royal child she saved But betrayal is a fine edged sword and soon Kiera is unable to distinguish between those who will help her and those who want her dead.
Fallen Embers is a deceptively complex Urban Fantasy that takes the sensitive issues of slavery and abuse and wraps them in a vibrant magical world that hides a rotten core. Teeming with intrigue, suspense, and forbidden love… Ms. Owen’s word building skills are phenomenal.
I found myself unable to put this down once I started. While the story reads fast and the writing style easy to follow, the actual arc is complex with its multiple story lines and background information. The vivid descriptions and rich details drew me in and made me part of this world.
Deception is a main theme of the story and keeps you guessing till the end. The underlying tension ratchets up the suspense in the story, building to a climatic finale that left me satisfied but ready for the next installment.
I absolutely fell in love with Kiera. She is not your usual Urban Fantasy heroine. Kiera has none of the usual qualifications we are used to seeing.
She is not classically beautiful, magically inclined, nor part of this world. She is a modern plus size single mom who’s quick wit and even quicker mind makes her a worthy character. She is courageous, forthright, and intelligent. Her greatest attribute and flaw is her caring nature. She has a quick temper she tames through humor and love. Her fortitude in how she handles being thrown into an alternate universe is amazing. She had me laughing and crying with the decisions she is forced to make in order to survive.You can’t help but cheer her on with each obstacle she overcomes.
Her affair with Lazslo is sensual and passionate. Though is happens quick, it’s obvious they are made for each other. Their chemistry and love sizzles off each pages. The fact that they both risk everything to be together makes their love affair so much magnificent to watch.
Lazslo is every woman’s fantasy. Quiet, beautiful, and protective of those he loves; his respect and caring of Kiera through out the book is enchanting. He does everything he can to make her life easier in this unknown world. He is a complicated man and hides his cards well against his chest. Ms. Owen’s does a fine job of keeping us guessing to what Lazslo’s intentions are. I did wish he would have been a tad more forthcoming with Kiera. She practically has to beat information out of him.
The secondary characters are rich in personality and emotions. Their development is so flawless and smooth I soon became part of their lives. Marco is an incredible young man who’s actions and convictions earned him a special place in my heart. I can’t wait to see what Ms. Owen’s has planned for him in the future.
There were some questions and scenes that were not explained that left me wondering. I also found her quick submersion into the culture and no attempts to get home a little unbelievable. Hopefully Ms. Owen’s will address these in the second installment of this series. If you looking for new look at Urban Fantasy with a heroine that will leave you cheering and wanting more, then I highly recommend Fallen Embers.
This series includes:
Blowing Embers – TBA