Author: Laura Bickle
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Rating: 4 Stars
Check out Laura’s page here.
Laura Bickle has definitely upped the ante with her sequel to Embers. Anya and Sparky are back in Sparks, with more ghosts, more creepies, and more bang for your buck. There is also a new fabulous baddie is in their midst….shyster Hope Soloman who runs Miracles for the Masses in Detroit who is intent on wreaking havoc, despair and destruction. You name it, she either wants to break it or rule it and she’s giving Anya a run for the money. Anya might have defeated Sirrush and Mimiveh in Embers, but now she may be way in over her head.
This time Anya must track down Hope who is capturing entities into spirit jars, and essentially controlling them-forcing them to maim and kill-and she’s leaving a trail of corpses all over Detroit. The ultimate source of power that Hope is after is the reputed Pandora’s Jar that is currently on loan to the Detroit Institute of the Arts. Anya suspects that it could it be an enormous spirit jar. With such an artifact at her disposal, Hope could possibly command thousands of ghosts to do her bidding and eventually tip the power of Hell itself. And Anya must do whatever she can to stop her.
Armed with the eternal Charon (who is a hottie), Sparky and a brood of newly hatched salamanders, Anya might finally be on the path of fulfilling her destiny-the hints of Anya being one of Ishtar’s chosen ones is thrilling and hopefully Bickle will pursue this next. One of the most important clues we get in Sparks, is the real truth behind the devastating fire that killed Anya’s mother, as well as her mysterious father, and some harsh truths about Brians’ character.
There is little to no romance in Sparks, and Bickle might be hinting that Brian is on his way out (yes…breath a sigh of relief). With the introduction of Charon who is ready and willing to help, I can only wonder…will he be the next in line? There is also the interesting take on the A.I. that Brian develops (ALANN) at the university with a captured soul at its technological core-this concept reminds me strongly of Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampires series and evil Ada who was the ghost in Myrnin’s machine.
Bickle has done herself proud with Sparks, because this time around there are more shades of Anya, and readers get closer to her as a character. There is also the added bonus of new forays into Detroit’s underground which lends Sparks a great edgy, gritty, darkness. Anya ventures to Hell, the astral plane, Michigan Central Station (the way station of the ghostly realm), and even sewers…all great backdrops to the action and suspense that Bickle has mapped out. And that earlier indecisiveness and unsteady footing that might have been present in Embers is missing. In its place, is a competent writer who has realized her vision with this series, plunged head first to write an exciting and visually stunning sequel. Bravo!
A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat)