“Though this is a prequel to Firelight, I am glad I took the advice of others and read Firelight first. Ember just gives more background information about Firelight. It is a very short read but worth reading after Firelight. I plan to read further books in the series because the characters and...”see full review » see other reviews »
“Though this is a prequel to Firelight, I am glad I took the advice of others and read Firelight first. Ember just gives more background information about Firelight. It is a very short read but worth reading after Firelight. I plan to read further books in the series because the characters and the plot made it hard to put down the book. This is my favorite era to read about and the author seems to draw you in and make you feel like a first had witness to all of the action.”Riann wrote this review 2 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Very intriguing. Firelight is going to be awesome. ”Casey wrote this review Monday, June 25, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Note: This review covers both “Firelight” and “Ember”, and you will be spoiled. Just a warning!
I will admit – I’m a sucker for characters that have to hide behind masks. When I was a kid, I adored “The Man in the Iron Mask”, and that love of masked characters has stayed with me since. Benjamin Archer in “Firelight” is no exception – he’s an awesome character, and the book itself is a great alternate look into a universe where the paranormal/supernatural exists quietly (well, in this case, not so quietly) alongside regular humans. This book is definitely not for the YA market, and it’s kind of refreshing having adults doing…adult things? Every once in awhile. I really enjoyed “Firelight” in all of its dark, mixed fantasy (lots of different legends and cultures mixed in this one – I loved that!), so I’m really looking forward to the sequel when it comes out later this year.
This world that Callihan has created really does feel like a real world – the worldbuilding is wonderful, and quite realistic even in all of its fantasy. The characters feel full and real, rounded out and very 3D – with the one exception of the villainess, Victoria. There was the one large hiccup in the book that did kind of interrupt things a bit. Victoria’s character, as it’s revealed later, as the main antagonist should have been far more filled out, regardless if she’s human or not. We’ve seen her referenced in terms of her beauty, her cunning, and her blatant seduction of men, but we don’t really find out more about her until the end of the book where it feels like the rest about her is told and not really shown at all. The only thing that kind of redeems that is the epic sword fight for “possession” of Archer at the very end, where it’s literally good against evil, black against white, fire against ice. Callihan really ratchets up the stakes for both Miranda and Archer very well there, but at the cost of filling out Victoria’s character.
There’s also quite a bit of repetition when it comes to the physical description of Miranda herself – we get it. She’s gorgeous. She’s lovely. And everyone’s in love with her. Enough. I’m hoping in the next book we’ll have a little less of the narration about Miranda’s supernatural beauty and a little more on her actual character (though she was filled out quite nicely in the important areas – no pun intended), and little more exposition on her thoughts and motives. Also, the repeated chases after Archer (which thankfully ended around the third quarter of the book), were a little much, and really could have been cut for the most part when it’s just Miranda demanding to know more about him as the motivation. I didn’t find that as a good motive for tension, but rather as filler, and I’m not a huge fan of when authors do that.
The romance and sex scenes, though, really make up for a lot of this – there are quite a few, and while seemingly chaste at first, they get hot and fast. And Callihan writes it all pretty tastefully – she could have chosen different words, but she chose the right ones, and it all just kind of flowed. You really feel for poor Miranda and her mostly unconsummated love/marriage/romance with Archer, but things work out in the end, and that’s always a happy thing. But man, some of those scenes! Really steamy and awesome.
The ending itself? I adored it. I LOVED the epic fight scene and wish it had been a little longer, but it largely satisfied me in the sense of the exploding tension between Archer, Victoria, and Miranda. There were parts that felt a little rushed (the epilogue itself felt like a lot of telling and not enough showing once Archer is freed from the curse), and I could have stood for a little more explanation as to how Miranda was able to lift the curse instead of just everyone having a largely happy ending. A lot of the last fourth of the book did feel rushed with the explanation of Victoria, the curse, and the West Moon Club, and that was a bit unfortunate – but the scenes that actually showed the Club convening for their ritual with Victoria was really almost cinematic in quality, and I wish there’d been more of that within that last fourth of the book when the origins of the West Moon Club are uncovered.
As for “Ember”, the prequel novella released right after “Firelight” (literally, it was released the next day), we get to see more of Miranda and Archer’s backstories – including his search for a “cure” for his curse and Miranda’s discovery of her powers and how her house is brought to its knees by both her fire magic and Archer’s cunning. I think that all of this could have been included within “Firelight” – intercut as flashbacks between some of the larger arc-propelling action scenes without it having to be cut and made into a novella. I loved all of what I had in “Ember” – it all felt very polished and very solid, as opposed to my aforesaid issues with parts of “Firelight”. It should have been kept in “Firelight” and the book itself would have been a whole lot stronger than it ended up being.
Final verdict overall? With the really strong scenes and some of the weaker scenes that were more telling than showing, the strong arc-propelling scenes make up for the weaker scenes and the rest comes out as a wash. The prequel makes up for all of the weaker scenes within the first book, however, and the ending of “Firelight” is so satisfying that I did end up being very entertained by it all and generally enjoyed it. All of that said, I really, really like where “Darkest London” is going as a series and you can bet I’m really excited for the next book in the series, “Moonglow”, which should be out later next year. This one definitely needs to make its way into Felicia Day’s Vaginal Fantasy Hangout (one of the most fun geeky book clubs for girls, you guys!) as a read of the month, and it’s generally just really fun. If you like your heroines Victorian, your world paranormal, and your sex scenes hot, definitely go for the “Darker London” series. It’s out now via Grand Central Press in mass paperback and ebook.
(posted to goodreads, shelfari, and birthofanewwitch.wordpress.com)”
“Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales
Quick & Dirty: This prequel novella helps set the dark tone to Firelight, but the events within may be better understood after reading the novel.
Opening Sentence: “This is the story of a beast, so great and fearsome that he was reviled by all. And of a merchant’s daughter, brave and beautiful, whose love for the beast redeemed his soul.”
First of all I have to say that I read Ember after reading Firelight. After seeing some of the reviews on Amazon saying not to read the novella until after Firelight I decided to wait and read it after. I would have to agree with that sentiment. Ember is, by all rights, a prequel novella to Firelight. All the events in Ember, except one, take place between the Prologue and Chapter One of Firelight. Every scene in the novella really does help explain the back story to Firelight that was mentioned in the novel but not explained.
Ember begins with the warehouse fire that starts the downfall of Miranda’s family. Then it skips to after Miranda and Archer met in the dark alley. Archer is searching for a cure to his mysterious appearance and Miranda is moving on with her life as a thief. The stories do intertwine. The only thing I found weird was the fact that Miranda’s story line was two years in the past from Archer’s story but a dream connected them together, like it was happening at the same time.
As a standalone novella, it is intriguing and makes me want to know more about the characters. The plot is mainly about Archer getting back to Miranda, but I think some of the mystery that I loved so much about Archer is removed if you read this first. I did like the fact that Miranda is not as strong as a heroine as she is in Firelight since these are the events that helped make her a well-developed woman, it makes perfect sense.
I would almost say that Ember is all the background that was taken out of Firelight for the sake of pacing and plot, even though I don’t think this was the case.
Ember is a perfect read after you have read Firelight. If you like the characters of Archer and Miranda it helps explain quite a bit of the background. Once again I will say I think it would take away some of the mystery if you read it first, but I would recommend reading the novella, if you liked Firelight.
His smiled curled. It was an ugly thing, that smile. He was almost within touching distance. “’Tis the way of the world, kitten.” Like a snake, he uncoiled, grabbing her by the elbow and yanking her close. The thick tang of unwashed male and street living filled her nostrils. “Come now,” he murmured, “be a good pussy, eh?”
Her stomach rolled but a sudden surge of defiance hit her. She was the monster here, not her stalker. Heat, need, and power surged within her. The fire wanted out. “I’ll give you one warning. I’m not like other girls. I will hurt you. Badly.”
He chuckled. “Promise?”
Before she could think, he slammed her against the wall, his forearm pressing into her throat, cutting off her air. Shock and pain rendered her immobile. Her mouth worked open and shut, trying to scream, searching for breath. Her gaze caught the tattered remnants of a poster advertisement for bath salts as he went for her skirts, jerking them up with eager fingers. Shame pulled at her insides. She ought to have run, this was her fault.
His damp breath panted over her neck. Another hard tug at her petticoat brought her hips against his, and his intentions. All at once, a sense of herself flooded back to the fore, and with it, her rage. Miranda clutched his coat sleeve. A pinch of something like pain but tinged with pleasure rippled down her fingers. Instantly, fire caught hold of the greasy wool of his sleeve. It licked up his coat with a hiss.
He jumped back with a screech, the frantic movement only making the flames grow. They liked to dance. It gave them power.
Pain seared her throat from where he’d pinned her. “I did warn you.” It worried her how flat her voice was, and something deep within her heart froze and turned black and pitiless.
The Darkest London Series:
FTC Advisory: Grand Central Publishing provided me with a copy of Ember. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ”
“This prequel takes place over the three year time span between the Prologue and Chapter one of Firelight. I would recommend reading it after Firelight as it gives away a little too much info on Archer to be read beforehand. You get to find out a little more about Miranda's fiancé Martin and why he left, and the reasons behind Miranda's illegal activities. Also a little on Archer's worldly travels and his quest to find answers to what ails him.
I'm not typically a huge fan of prequels, but I loved these two characters so much that I would happily read more on them in any given form.
All together, I'd say this was a quick, touching read, and whilst not providing any shocking new information, it certainly helps flesh out some of the briefly mentioned story threads concerning Miranda's troubled past and why Archer decided he was going to have Miranda no matter the risks.
4 Stars ★★★★”
“4 STARS This is the back story of Archer and Miranda and how they would come to meet. It is a bit like Pirates of the Caribbean meets Sherlock Holmes. Set in Victorian England Miranda learns she has the power to create fire with her mind and this makes her question her normalcy and worth. Archer is on a search for a cure so that he can have Miranda....Don't want to give anything away in case you have read Firelight first.
I really like Callihan's writing - it is quick and exciting. I cannot wait to read Firelight and see Miranda and Archer meet...and their passion ignite!”
“***original review posted at Romancing Rakes For The Love of Romance***
The beginning sentence pretty much sums up Ember and Firelight:
This is the story of a beast, so great and fearsome that he was reviled by all. And of a merchant's daughter, brave and beautiful, whose love for the beast redeemed his soul.
Doesn't that just send shivers down your spine? A classic Beauty and the Beast story that will have you tearing up and clapping at the end.
Ember is the prequel to Firelight in which Miranda's history is explained as well as Archer's and how he came to be banished from London society.
Miranda's gift of fire is both a blessing and a curse. She accidentally burned down her father's warehouse because of a dare and has been paying for it since. In the form of being a pickpocket and fencing the items to keep her and her father barely afloat.
Archer is trying to find a cure for his curse all the while dreaming a certain fire haired beauty who he is looking forward to claim as his own when he returns to London. She just doesn't know it yet. The deal is between Archer and her father due to her father's crew sinking the ship that contained Archer's friend and cure.
This novella was a peek inside Miranda's world before Archer came along to claim her as part of the bargain. She was practically engaged to her childhood friend Martin and they are about to make is official. Complications arise and one rash act using her deadly power send Martin fleeing.
He needed a cure. Find the cure and he could claim her. Find the cure and his life could begin.
OVERALL: Gah! A little more time with Archer and Miranda put a smile on my face. Ms. Callihan definitely has a way of reeling me in and making me stay even though it's only 60 pages long. I wanted more and thought about re-reading Firelight just to get a new perspective as to why things are the way they are. From the hot sands of Egypt to the desert of Central Mexico to the dark alleys of London and bustling New York City, this novella packs a punch with danger, adventure, hallucinations, intrigue, heartbreak and a whole mess of under the table dealings that will change two lives forever. Well done, Ms. Callihan.
***review copy from Netgalley***”
(Darkest London #0.5)
Reviewed by Ann & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog
EMBER doesn’t really serve so much as a prequel than it does as bonus material. It doesn’t lead into the events of FIRELIGHT, the first book in the Darkest London series but instead, highlights and expands on certain scenes of the first book. I highly suggest you read FIRELIGHT before you read EMBER, because although you won’t be confused, I just feel like you would appreciate the story more if you know the details of FIRELIGHT.
This book is mainly for those readers who simply couldn’t get enough of Archer and Miranda. Callihan takes you deeper, enhancing scenes and revealing details that readers would appreciate if they loved the first book.
So far, I’m enjoying this series so it will be interesting to read about another couple and see where Callihan takes us.
Read my review of FIRELIGHT.”