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Review: Circle of Fire by Keri Arthur

Monday, January 27, 2014

Circle of Fire
Keri Arthur

Series: Damask Circle #1
Genre: CrimeUrban Fantasy
Paperback: 336 Pages
Publication: January 28, 2014
by Dell


Sixteen teenagers taken from their homes. Eleven bodies recovered, each completely drained of blood. Some believe vampires are responsible. Jon Barnett knows that what’s happening is far worse. Sent by a group of paranormal investigators known as the Damask Circle, Jon quickly becomes enmeshed in a web of black magic and realizes he needs help. But fate gives him only one choice.

Madeline Smith has retreated to an isolated farmhouse, afraid of the abilities she cannot control—abilities that have killed. But when a “ghost” brings a warning of danger and her nephew goes missing, Maddie not only has to leave her haven, she has to place her trust in a man who is neither ghost nor human. As the noose of sorcery tightens, the search for the teenagers becomes a race against time. But the greatest danger to Maddie and Jon could be the intense feelings they refuse to acknowledge but cannot ignore.

◆ A copy was provided by Random House for review ◆

An intense urban fantasy / crime novel from a powerful voice in urban fantasy.

After having read a good portion of Keri Arthur's Dancing With the Devil, so I knew going into this that she has solid writing skills. Thus, though Dancing With the Devil didn't quite manage to hold my attention (it may have been my fault, as I didn't quite find the time to sit down with it like I did with this one), I was more than willing to give her writing another try, and I wasn't disappointed.

From the first pages, the writing worked to immerse me in the story. I could feel Maddie's fears and hesitations about believing in the "ghost" that appears to her, summoning her back to civilization, and I felt my own fears for Maddie and Jon in their dangerous quest to rescue the missing teenagers. In fact, though I read Circle of Fire in a brightly lit room, albeit past sundown, and I wasn't alone, I was really creeped out. When I had to leave the room to run errands, I was almost sure that the bad guy was going to magically appear in my room and spirit me away like with the missing teenagers—even though I'm not a teenager or magically endowed.

The characters are equally compelling. It was easy to connect with Maddie and her fears of losing control of her abilities because we really get a feel for them in the first pages. Jon was harder to connect with, mostly because he's had a lost of experience with denying his heart's desires. Each of them has a story behind these fears, and their stories causes them to deny the connection between them. More internal dialogue could have really helped with building up the tension between Maddie and Jon by playing up how their respective fears motivate them to conceal their feelings for each other. Especially with Jon, as he dallies quite a bit in the love department.

I would have also liked to see more danger coming from the bad guys. There is talk of old magic, and experienced as he is, Jon fears that he will not be able to come out safely. Despite the suspense, however, I never quite had a strong feeling that he was truly in imminent danger. A lot of the twists that come their way are predictable, and most of the danger seems to be directed towards Maddie, an obvious target as she doesn't have experience dealing with crime. Nevertheless, the pacing is fairly quick and keeps the plot moving.

Overall, this is a highly enjoyable read that I recommend to those who enjoy a good urban fantasy with crime mixed in.

Additional Information
  1. Circle of Fire
  2. Circle of Death
  3. Circle of Desire
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6 comments on "Review: Circle of Fire by Keri Arthur"
  1. I love the sound of a powerful voice like this and should add to my tbr.

    1. It's a great novel. I hope you enjoy, Brandi!

  2. I love the sound of this. Anything that can creep you out in a well lit room is going on my TBR pile.

    1. The creepy factor was pretty well written :) I hope you enjoy this one, Andria!

  3. Okay, this is the 2nd time I've seen this book, and now I'm even more convinced that I need to read it. I'm hunting for a new UF series to obsess over.

    1. It's a great book. I hope you enjoy it, Christy!


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