Ray Lilly is living on borrowed time. He's the driver for Annalise Powliss, a high-ranking member of the Twenty Palace Society, a group of sorcerers devoted to hunting down and executing rogue magicians. But because Ray betrayed her once, Annalise is looking for an excuse to kill him - or let someone else do the job.
Unfortunately for both of them, Annalise's next mission goes wrong, leaving her critically injured. With the little magic he controls, Ray must complete her assignment alone. Not only does he have to stop a sorcerer who's sacrificing dozens of innocent lives in exchange for supernatural power, he must find - and destroy - the source of that inhuman magic.
©2009 Harry Connolly (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
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"Good book with a warning."
The world and magic system are excellent. The characterization is good for a first book. the story is fast paced and fun.
It had an air of the unknown about it. The main character was in the dark about most things and you learned slowly along with him. It maintained the scarry, dark mood of the piece.
Yes. he did a good job.
Magic may be hazardous to your health.
Very important note. This is the only book in the series that is on audio. The company dropped the author midway through the series due to poor sales. The series is excellent but you will wind up being left with questions that will never be answered as the author stated he doesn't really plan to take the series back up if he ever gets another book deal. Other than that the story is great and worth a listen.
"Gritty urban fantasy"
Yes, I have the paperback novel, and I was glad to get the audio version. I'll probably come back to it several times. I like the relationship between Ray Lilly and his boss, Annalise, and I like the way Ray deals with situations.
Annalise explaining to Ray what his job as a 'wooden man' actually means.
Rummel does an excellent job getting Ray's 'tone' and gave other characters just enough 'voice' without sounding like impressions or over-the-top accents. He sounds matter of fact enough to let you ride smoothly along with the story without ever being jarred out by 'acting'.
Yes, there is a scene near the end where Annalise lays into Ray about their work keeping the predators that rogue magicians call up from destroying the world, and how they can't afford pity, or mercy, and Ray comes to understand what living like that has done to her.
I think fans of the Dresden Files will like this book, though it's not quite as humorous. There are two additional books in the Twenty Palaces series, "Game of Cages" and "Circle of Enemies", and I hope to see them on Audible too.
I've read all of Connolly's available stuff, and am REALLY glad to see it finally getting some audible recognition. Ray & Annalise are great characters who are intentionally played against type. I like that there's more than one story line and, even though they touch each other very gently in one or two spots, that they're not interdependent.
Since I read all four 20 Palaces novels I had what I thought was a really solid Ray voice in my head, and although it didn't sound like Christian Rummel he quickly usurped it. His portrayal of Ray sounds believable - authentic, even. That description of a guy & his circumstance paired with Rummel's voice was great casting. Initially I wasn't too sure of how he portrays Annalise, even though he followed Connolly's description of her voice to a T; but he does a very, very clever thing as he characterizes her through the progression of the story. I don't like spoilers, so perhaps just listen to it thinking of how someone may seem to you when you first meet and how that perception may change what you hear and see as you get to know them -- even though they may not actually change at all. It's very subtle, and I love how it adds depth to the story.
I'm ready for the rest of the books now, thank you!!!
"Loved everything about this novel."
All of them. I know that's a cop out but I'd rather not spoil anyone and all of them really are memorable.
He did a great job. His voice is very low and, well, kinda sexy. As a woman, I could definitely listen to him all day :)
My only extreme reaction was just surprise at how good it was. I love urban fantasy but much of it isn't particularly well written. Child of Fire has no slow spots. The author doesn't give any exposition, which I loved; I like being able to figure out things by myself.
This book received many glowing reviews from critics and they were well deserved. Download Child of Fire. You won't be disappointed!
"Action fantasy novel - with a lot of gore"
Firstly, I liked this book.
This is an urban fantasy novel with a lot of action, and a lot of innocent people die - graphically. It's not a horror novel though and it maintains a level of blood splatter throughout - hence, it's more graphic action rather than horror (despite coming very close).
The book is about Ray Lilly who is an ex-crim working for a secret society ruthlessly trying to get rid of people abusing magic.
To that end, Ray and his boss Annalise travel to Hammer Bay to follow a trail. Both are magically endowed and have power granted by spells and tattoos. What follows is a trail of death and destruction which lasts from the start to the end of the book. .
The narration reminded of the Len Cariou (from Harry Bosch) series - not my favourite, but gave a gritty feel.
I wouldn't necessarily listen to it again though, given the gritty feel and the mass killings in the novel. A good thing is that you can finish this book and not listen to the rest of the series. I am 50/50 about listening to this book's sequel.
"Interesting Dark Contemporary Supernatural Novel"
Its been about a year since this was released and the audio book for the second books isn't out yet. Indicating that there probably won't be one that's a shame.
"Urban Fantasy done well"
Enjoyed listening to this book. It has been on my to be read list for a while and came highly recommended (with very good reason). I like that the story is from Ray's point of view and that the reader is figuring things out at the same time that he is. Was left with lots of questions at the end of the book and wanting to read more (not a bad thing).
Christian Rummel is the perfect narrator for this novel. He nails the character voices and his performance is well paced.
Reading Twenty Palaces: A Prequel first certainly isn't mandatory, but it does fill in some blanks and the back story referenced in this book.
Audible, oh great & all powerful, please consider arranging for Book 2: Game of Cages and Book 3: Circle of Enemies to be conjured into audio.
"A work of art"
God he needs to finish this series, and make audio books of the rest. So good
"It has its moments"
While the writing style was well done and the narration was excellent, the actual story was only moderately compelling. The protagonist came off a bit like Mike Hammer in a Mickey Spillane novel with some arcane magic thrown in to move it into the Fantasy genre.
Even so, it was interesting and it generated more than a few snickers along the way. Essentially, I wasn't disappointed in the story but I wouldn't put it on my re-listen list for the future.
"This has become one of my favorite books"
Great book, just depresses me that the series was canceled. definitely worth the time though.
if in dire need of a new book
An alright story, with a very original interpretation of magic
pleasant Works well with the story
the story line leaves much to be explained. The protagonist keeps hinting at something that happened before the book takes place.
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