Review: Firecracker by Charles R. Verhey

Posted May 11th, 2012 in book review / Leave a comment


by Charles R. Verhey

Publisher: Self-Published (2012)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: Paperback (340 pages)
Source: Review Request by Author
Purchase: Amazon  / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
Rating: ★★★½☆ (3.5 stars)

Firecracker is a fun contemporary fantasy thriller about a young woman named Aideen Cassidy, who has to be careful with her emotions because when she explodes, things literally explode! Being a pyrokinetic – able to start fires with her mind – isn’t an easy thing to live with, especially when trying to find work in the modern world.

Luck or fate lands her a job with a group of eccentric psychics who use their gifts to help local authorities with difficult cases. They can see the future, sense feelings, read minds – useful traits. All Aideen can do is blow things up. But there’ something special about her that has caught the attention of the most powerful psychic in the world, and there are secrets about the organization even the psychics don’t know. Plans have been put into motion, secrets are unraveling, lives are in danger, and the group soon find themselves caught in a conspiracy of shadowy monsters, government spies, and ancient legends that date back 600 years.

All Aideen wanted was to fit in. Now the lives of all her new friends must rely on her talents for fiery destruction. ~ Goodreads

The Good
A Good Direction…
I started this book not knowing really what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to find great characterization, an interesting story, and a spunky heroine. I really like the direction this book went because it both satisfied me and raised some questions I hope will be answered in a second book.

On Fire…
Aideen Cassidy, or Cass, has an awesome power that she unfortunately hasn’t quite learned to control. That’s why she can’t find a job. The rumors have spread and people just don’t like being set on fire, so they all stay clear of Cass and her pyrokinetic ability. But the head of PsychTeam (a group of psychics who use their powers to help local authorities catch bad guys) has taken an interest in Cass, so they give her a chance. But Cass starts having second thoughts as things go from bad to worse in a matter of days. A little girl has been kidnapped and will die if Cass can’t find her in time and an ancient evil has reappeared and is targeting all of Cass’s friends. Can Cass learn to control her powers enough to save the ones she cares about?

A Firecracker…
I think Cass was an all-around quirky character. She was uncoordinated and emotionally unstable. She cried at the drop of a hat and embarrassed herself more times than I can count. But I think this mess of a person actually made Firecracker fun to read. She was far from perfect and wore her uncool badge proudly. Her appearance also cracked me up. I could easily imagine her red hair poking out every which way and her freaky red-orange eyes almost always full of tears, and the insistent red flush she adorned when she was embarrassed. I pictured her a bit geeky and awkward, which fit her personality. I liked that she was ruled by her emotions, constantly setting things on fire because of her Ninja fast highs and lows. We meet her when she is at an all time low-point in her life and as the novel went on, she grew in strength, determination, and bravery.

Yin and Yang…
Agent Li was an interesting yin to Cass’s yang. He was the cool cat: onfident, gorgeous (and he knows it), and kick-ass. But he does not like Cass, well, not at first. He sees her as a menace to society and PsychTeam and would like nothing better than for her to quit. But he never knew how bull-headed one girl could be. He slowly comes to admire her for she has strength that not many possess, strength that might actually save his life.

The tension and suspense was very well done. I felt all the emotions I was suppose to as the bad guys went after the characters I grew to care about. The climax was very big and satisfying. I was shocked by some of the events, which is always a nice change to the easily predictable plots I have been reading lately.

A Complex World…
I like the world Verhey created, a world I think has some true potential in growing into a great series. The backstory on how these psychics came to be a part of society was especially intriguing. It’s a complex world that we only get to see a glimpse of though. I can only hope another book is on the way because I was left with many questions by the end.

The Bad
I found that this book had a lot of lulls in it, times where I could easily put the book down. I was expecting more action.

The description and backstory were way overdone at times. Made it a bit boring. Again, I just wanted to get to the action.

One thing I couldn’t stand was the POV shifts. It’s something you rarely see in traditionally published books because it’s hard to do seamlessly. And by seamlessly, I mean I should not even notice it is happening till after the fact. I noticed the “head-hopping” right away.

There was a part of the story in which a character asked someone who just betrayed him if they would still be friends when they saw each other again. If you saw what this betrayer did, I think you would agree that you wouldn’t be asking if you could still be friends, you would be beating his face off. This character’s reaction just irked me and I had to walk away from the book to calm down.

The Snuggly
Not much romance in this book. Cass has a major crush on Li and he kind of plays around with her, but that’s it. But this is no YA book either. Expect profanity, which I thought added to the feel of the book very nicely.

By the end, I was very glad I read this book. The characters really drew me in, even if their actions were a little frustrating at times. When the action was present, it was very well written and the slow to come revelations were worth the wait. A recommended read for urban fantasy lovers.

“He’s really not so bad, once you get to know him.” There was something about Neda’s sophisticated British accent that was so appealing. She probably could have said I’m going to shit my pants now, and to Cass’s ears it would have sounded regal.

He headed to the bar to pour himself a Crown Royal on the rocks. “Want one?”

“No.” Actually, yes, but “I can’t. I’m not allowed to drink.”

“Personal rule?”

“Federal rule, by order of the United States Fire Safety Commission.”

Any man who could instantaneously trigger her laughter g-spot was someone she wanted to get to know better

book review

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