September 23, 2014 by mmileti
Though Firebug is rather typical for a young adult (YA) urban fantasy, it is definitely one of the more enjoyable stories in the genre. This is the fist installment of the Firebug series by Lish McBride, who is best known for her previous series, which begins with the humorous YA urban fantasy Hold Me Closer, Necromancer. Fans of McBride’s Necromancer series will find much of what they love about McBride’s writing present in Firebug, while many readers that are new to her work will be drawn in by her flawed but sympathetic characters, sarcastic and witty banter, and a fast paced plot that is full of adventure.
Firebug is told from the perspective of Ava, a teenage girl that happens to be able to start fires with her mind. Ava is not the only Firebug in existence, but they are rare, and therefore valuable, within the supernatural community. Because of her unique and useful powers, Ava has been forced into a deadly contract with the Coterie- a kind of magical mafia run by a vicious vampire named Venus. When Venus asks her to kill a family friend for the Coterie, Ava rebels. As a somewhat recent orphan, friends are the only family that she has. Unfortunately, it is impossible to say no to the Coterie and get away with it, so she and her friends go into hiding until they can find a way out of this mess Ava has gotten them in, and hopefully all keep their lives in the bargain.
I do not always enjoy a story with a first person narrative, but it was done very well in this novel. Ava is in many ways a flawed character, but most of these flaws can be attributed to being a teenage girl. She can be stubborn, impulsive, and easily blinded by her emotions, but she is also strong, intelligent, and her sarcastic commentary made me laugh at loud at several points in the story. I was also impressed with the way that Ava grows throughout the story, and her depth of character development. Her best friends Lock and Ezra are also well-developed characters, and their loyalty, distinctive personalities, and general quirkiness make the book even more enjoyable and easy to read.
The novel’s pace stayed fast throughout the story, and the combination of wonderful characters and a suspenseful story line made Firebug one of the more engaging YA novels that I have read this year. Though the plot and setting were not filled with any incredibly unique elements, I found myself more entertained and immersed in this novel than other stories that are typical of the same genre. I would have liked the plot a bit more if it contained more shocking and distinctive qualities, but for a book in this particular genre I was more than satisfied by how pleasurable the novel was to read. I would recommend this novel to anyone that loves YA urban fantasy, and also anyone that likes a character based book filled with plenty of humor. I will definitely be reading the next installment in the Firebug series as soon as it is available.
My rating: 7/10
I received a copy of this novel from Goodreads First Reads and the publisher in return for an honest review.