A Fistful of Fire
Madison Fox, Illuminant Enforcer, Book #2
By Rebecca Chastain
Author Website: www.rebeccachastain.com
Madison Fox has undergone her first trial by fire; but the previous week’s events, bear no comparison to what she must face in Fistful of Fire. Rebeca Chastain’s Illuminant Enforcer must rise to new occasions in order to solve a masterfully plotted urban fantasy. Hot off the heels of Magic of the Gargoyles, Chastain’s writing has never shone more brightly than in this latest novel.
A brisk read, Fistful of Fire is what urban fantasy lovers crave most. Catchy themes, elements of pulp fiction. political alliances and a cast of characters of all manners of shapes and sizes are involved in this second book of what, at least I hope, will match The Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher, in popularity. The writing is refined and well edited, not a scene appearing out of place, but oft out of the blue; it is playful, drawing the reader in and alleviating the tension with well scattered humor. The sheer pizzazz that stems from this book radiates brightly, and Chastain has truly developed a unique niche in the urban fantasy market. Re-reading the first tale isn’t required, as it is partially summed up in expository. Fistful of Fire stands nicely as an independent read, although once you’ve been bit by the vervet (it’s in the book) you’ll find it difficult to shake off; the Madison Fox books call to you like lux lucis.
Personalities galore pepper the increased landscape of this novel. From Madison Fox, the star, fumbling through her adventures, to Niko’s calmness in the face of adversity; from the different enforcers and their respective Wardens; from shapeshifting pookas, to fierce warriors of diminutive size, to fire-blazing salamanders – all are well defined and given the love of creativity as their characters emerge from the page. In fact, one of the more delightful characters was a sentient book, Valentine, who kept me giggling like the proverbial school girl (sarcastic, sentient books that have a devilish personality rank high with me – hey it’s urban fantasy). Dialogue never seems to be forced and flows naturally right down to the smallest of fairies (but don’t let them hear you call them that). Each character can be picked out from each other, and this is really where Rebecca’s talents shine. She has an ear for conversation, and it shows.
The plot and numerous subplots are retrospectively well entwined within the novel. I use the word “retrospectively” here, as just as Madison is learning, or not learning, is mirrored in the reader’s response. Information is leaked out an inkling at a time, and the reader is skillfully distracted by the ongoing sleight of hand that comes in the form of an enforcer trying desperately to live a semi-normal life. Often I found myself compulsively page turning, wondering how much more could be feasibly crammed into such a small work. It happily, passed with flying colors, much to my content. Almost everything is resolved that starts in the beginning of the adventure, is neatly tied up at the end, and knowing Rebecca Chastain, details that are “missed” will be sure to turn up in the next novel.
Overall, Fistful of Fire was a delightfully enjoyable read. Fans of Jim Butcher, Ivan Amberlake, and such, will feel quite at home within the confines of the urban fantasy setting, and its sheer power of the novel would pull in the hardiest of mystery lovers. It’s also a playful read, and one well worth it. The book should appeal to those in their teens to those far older than that. The magic of the novel spans generations, and I highly recommend it to readers of all ilk, urban fantasy aficionados, or not. It’s positively worth the read and time invested in it.