January 16, 2012
Urban and Fantasy are not genres I typically read let alone a hybrid of the two. However, I said that I would diversify my reading a bit more this year and I think this was a great book to shake things up.
Fire Baptized is inhabited by several different beings labeled as belonging to one of three groups: Humans, Pureblood Supernaturals or, Supes, and Mixies. They are relegated to the caged city Santeria Supernatural Habitat in Miami. Lanore, the novel's heroine, is a college student accustomed to pilfering her textbooks from the university library but finally gets caught and witnesses a heinous crime in her flee from the campus trolls. She's also a Mixie. Mixie's are half breed humans and supernaturals brandished with an X and have an ongoing struggle for equality in the community. She lives with MeShack, a womanizer who Lanore has known since childhood and considers family. Meanwhile, Zulu, a fellow Mixbreed, heads up the Rebel organization, MFE whose main agenda is to obtain equality for his group by any means necessary. He also has his sights set on Lanore.
What ensues in this urban fantasy novel is a murder mystery with Lanore caught in the middle as the lone witness and determined to discover the killer before more lives are lost. In the midst of this is a love triangle and social activism. Kenya Wright quite seamlessly covers a lot of territory in this first of a trilogy. The pace is great as there is action from the first page to the last and the characters are all engaging. Although, MeShack, a blatant example of a male double-standard, is annoying. The blossoming romance between Lanore and Zulu is sexy to say the least. References to the Santeria religion and culture, both obvious and subtle, added another layer of appeal. What was most intriguing was how Wright cleverly incorporated sociological issues of gender and identity stratifications.
"Professor Rodrigues was from the old school of thought, believing Mixbreeds were abominations and should be euthanized. When she denied my registration for her class, she wrote me a letter, explaining that most interspecies' offspring had serious mental illnesses and the rest were only fit to be criminals or janitors" (46).
Anyone looking for an engaging read filled with colorful, unapologetic characters set in a space where there is seemingly no hope for those deemed second class citizens and the exhibition of an assortment of supernatural powers, you'd be remiss to not give this book a read. There's no question I'll be checking out the rest of this series.
I received this book from the author.