The Fire King: A Dirk & Steele Novel Mass Market Paperback – Jul 26 2011
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From the Back Cover
Long ago, shape-shifters reigned as gods.But even gods have laws that they breakat their own peril . . .
Each member of Dirk & Steele has a unique ability.Soria's is the gift of communication—which is why she'sbeen chosen to learn the language of a tormentedwarrior resurrected after thousands of years of icy sleep.
He is Karr, and once he was a king. Strong as a lion,quick and deadly as a serpent, he saw everything he lovedconsumed in flames. Death was to be his salvation,but thousands of years later he has been awakened againsthis will. Now a breathtaking human moves him inways he neither understands nor desires. But Soria cansee beyond his rage . . . and only she can speak thewords that will cool the destructive fury in his soul.
Words of love.
About the Author
Marjorie M. Liu is an attorney and New York Times bestselling author of paranormal romances and urban fantasy. In the world of comic books, she is also the writer of NYX: No Way Home, Black Widow, X-23, and Dark Wolverine. She lives in the American Midwest and Beijing, China.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Soria is a human with something extra--the ability to understand and speak any language, as long as she is in the presence of a native speaker of that language. One year ago she suffered a horrible betrayal and lost her right arm. Since then she has barricaded herself in her apartment...until a strange pair bring her a new mission from Dirk & Steele. Imagine her surprise when her new mission turns out to be a 3000-year-old fairy tale...a chimera. The product of two different shifters, something that is supposed to be impossible. Now she and the chimera are on the run and Soria isn't sure who is friend and who is enemy.
Karr was the warlord of the shifters from a time when Egyptians and Hittites ruled. He sacrificed himself to save his people, so what is he doing alive now? And who is this woman who appears to be the only one who can understand and speak with him? Is she enemy? A spy? Again and again she appears to help him during their escape and flight...but the more Karr learns, the more unsure he becomes of who is or should be an enemy.
Liu does a wonderful job of making her paranormal characters human. She brings out their hopes, fears, happiness, and disappointments and I, for one, can't get enough of it. Each of these books can be read as a stand-alone, but each also furthers an overarching storyline that continues to evolve with each novel.
"The Fire King" has action, romance, hot sex, mystery, and magic. The story rolls out as smoothly as my favorite chocolate and the characters become people I want to know more about and want to see happy. My only real beef is that she doesn't write fast enough!
I thought The Wild Road, book 8, was 10 times better with plot and story progression. Personally I think Ms. Liu might have rushed this Dirk & Steel novel, or was more distracted with it. She may have had too many projects on her plate at one time, writing The Iron Hunt and her comic. Since Iron Hunt has gotten much more book publicity (that I have seen online) I think that project is her "baby" right now.
Writing nine novels is a feat in itself. I look forward to reading more in this series, but I was disappointed after reading this one. After I read the last chapter I was like "that's it?" Darn.
Photocopy plot: main character with emotional baggage and prior betrayal by someone important, can transform into mythologic being, chased and repeatedly attacked by a panoply of forces, some with competing interests. In charges D&S, attractive character of opposite sex, with similar emotional wounds and background baggage. Meet and find a bond that was meant to be, heals psych issues, occasional characters from prior stories appear as their powers are needed, can beat combined forces. Middle filler of gratuitously violent attacks and injury to innocent bystanders.
This one had less plot development than the rest and, disappointingly, felt like less effort made for the character development which I really enjoyed about her writing style, more depending on the suspension of disbelief to accept what is poured over the reader. The part about the little knife and Soria's arm would have been powerful in a setting of paranormal, but a random uncle who happens to be a serial killer? huh? And, as a physician, it pushed the limits of my belief, sorry, ain't gonna happen, especially not between joints.
The end was flat and overly simplified, imo. I was very disappointed with this book, especially compared to some of the earlier books. Also, please try a new story line, it is starting to feel like another sequel just for the $$$.
If you read this book, get it from the library, so you are not disappointed you dropped $8US like I did. If you are looking at reading a D&S novel, this should not be your first or even second or third, there are a lot of references to the overall series storyline in this book that you won't understand. Tiger Eye and Shadow Touch are earlier books that were great reads.
Having said that... The Fire King was a bit of a disappointment. Soria has lost an arm, and has decided to leave Dirk & Steele behind...but is reeled in at the last moment to translate an ancient language. Spoken by an ancient, beautiful, and imprisoned man who is awakened after thousands of years. They run through a Mongolian landscape in order to discover the mysteries surrounding his re-awakening and find the remnants of his people, the Chimera, while dodging shadowy agents and militant bad guys. Meanwhile, Soria learns to deal with her missing arm, struggling to love and be loved.
While the premise is wonderful in theory...the execution of it was less polished and lively as usual. Soria's struggle is brave, but not inspiring. She, herself, was uninteresting and pales in comparison to all the heroines who came before her in the series. The hero is not very memorable. It almost seemed as if he merely served the function of introducing the Chimeras into the series. The side characters (I can't even recall their names) should have been exciting - they reminded me of Manga characters. The deadly assassin and his dead-eyed female companion were reminiscent of the dangerous fighters and schoolgirl in Kill Bill 2. But it just wasn't pulled off as well as Koushun Takami or even Quentin Tarantino. They were also a bit two-dimensional - they were merely "original" because characters such as these have not been featured in romance novels much, if at all.
This book merely seemed like a filler - the bridge between the last book and the next. HOWEVER, it is still a good book and worth the purchase. I didn't once feel like throwing it against the wall, or holding up my shorter table leg with it. It was still a pretty solid read, though it can be a bit confusing to those who choose this book as the first one to read re: the Dirk & Steele series. Ms. Liu is taking a more serious turn in her tale, which I find terrifying. Either it'll turn out really, really well...or she'll change the face of her beloved Dirk & Steele into something unrecognizable. In other words, it's like marrying a man who changes over time - either he's still the man you love but certain characteristics emerge that make your marriage deeper and more fulfilling...or he turns into someone you don't recognize anymore, and you don't know what happened to all the qualities you fell in love with!
Ultimately, I will give this book 3 stars for a solid tale. If you've never read a Marjorie Liu book, I suggest buying her other Dirk & Steele books first before coming back to this one. You'll have a better time if you're more invested in the characters and general progression of the Dirk & Steele universe.