As promised, a new review hot off the word document. Not really much to say here today, so let’s jump right in.
I’m not really sure how I want to start my review of H.P. Mallory’s Fire Burn and Caldron Bubble. I could start by talking about how it’s odd for a romance novel because she keeps her main characters kind of separate after the first couple of chapters. I could also start with the way it feels like a first book both in the case of the series and the author. When we meet our lovely narrator, Jolie Wilkins, she’s busy being a fortune teller and a serial single. This all changes with a ghost and a visit from the hottest man she’s ever met. Suddenly Jolie finds herself with the ability to raise the dead and a lot of unwanted attention from the super natural world. From there the novel becomes more and more what I expect from a romance novel, lots of mush without much substance until towards the end.
When first we meet Jolie she seems content with her life, yeah she could use a better paycheck but she’s got her best friend and her cat. Enter Rand, the almost freakishly gorgeous warlock with a job that needs her help. He needs to find out who killed a client of his’ father, and apparently needs Jolie’s help to do so. Well, things don’t go quite as planned and the dead guy winds up somewhat less dead than before. This intrigues all manner of supernatural folks and puts Jolie into a bit of a spot when she finds herself having to pack up her life to follow Rand to England where they will hopefully be safe from dead guy’s daughter and her army of loyal (and terrified) followers. This leads to quite a bit of day-to-day nothing as Jolie and Rand distance themselves from each other and get her ready for an eventual confrontation with Bella.
So, where does this leave me? It was good, not spectacular, but something that makes me want to read the rest of the series. There were spots of purple prose scattered throughout. At some point in time Mallory decided that one of her characters is a jerk, but hadn’t characterized him as such and then dropped him entirely. Plus the book is definitely the first in a series; it doesn’t have a really satisfying end. But my big problem was that Jolie is never wrong about anything or anyone, ever. That got really old really fast. So, I’m left wondering why I enjoyed the book as much as I did. Mallory teases her reader, offering images of what might happen in the future via Jolie’s being a seer. She hits some genuinely humorous moments with a smartass lead that I kind of wanted to talk to. Where there’s a little purple prose, the rest is solid and offers a view of how good a writer Mallory can be. Definitely worth reading, definitely worth continuing.