Audiobook review: She Dreams of Fire
Author: M.K. Gibson
Narrator: Xe Sands
Audio Speed: 1.25x
Series: Hammer of Witches #1
WOW! Have you been looking for a new urban fantasy series? Let me direct your attention to She Dreams of Fire. Right from the explosive beginning, I was drawn into this dark underworld of witches and paranormals. The prologue outlines the story of Aggy’s origins. As a young child, a coven of witches went to her home, murdering her mother and leaving her unknown child, Aggy, to die in a horrible fire. But when EMT Marcus arrives on scene and discovers the child, he saves her by giving her a blood transfusion. Unknown to him, he used the blood of the dying warlock who killed her mom.
Fast-forward 15 years and we find out that Marcus, now a doctor, is a vigilante hunting criminals, and Aggy is drug addict stalking and killing the coven of witches responsible for her mother’s murder. When their paths cross for the first time since her rescue, their lives become forever tangled, and Marcus is drawn into a dangerous magical world.
She Dreams of Fire is an amazing start to the new Hammer of Witches series. With its well-written, smart and unique mythology, the story takes listeners on a journey into the dark world of powerful witches. This world is filled with all sorts of fae creatures and fabled beings, many of which are creatively borrowed from various world mythologies. The creatures live right alongside humans, and in fact, the primary bad guy, Vanessa, works as a police detective, using her dark powers to solve crimes, but also cover up her own misdeeds. The story is packed with intense action, keeping me engrossed from beginning to end.
What gives this book heart is the great crew of motley characters. The three primary characters are each strong and driven, but diverse, making them all very interesting. Heroine Aggy is messed up for a number of reasons, mostly due to the early death of her mom and the fact that her aunts hid some very important parts of her ancestry. Aggy deals with life by looking for the next bigger and better high, but through her adventures during this book, she comes to terms with her past and discovers the power of friendship.
Marcus is an anti-hero, dealing with his own darkness through killing the dregs of society. He doesn’t consider himself a hero, but those around him recognize him as such. Villainess Vanessa is cold and manipulative and everything perfect for an evil being of power. Then there are the side characters such as Aggy’s human BFF, Ji, newly discovered friend of her mom, Elena, and Aggy’s magical talking rabbit.
Narration: This is the third book I’ve listened to with Xe Sands, and each one is better than the last. She does well with urban fantasy/fantasy genre. The story is shared via third person POV, shifting primarily between Aggy, Marcus, and Vanessa. While the story’s narrator remains a neutral feminine voice, it’s deep and soft, kind of scratchy, giving a gritty feel to the dark story. Ms. Sands changes her tone for the characters’ dialogue, deepening for males, adding slight accents when called for, creating a unique set of voices for the diverse cast. She captures Aggy’s desperation and loneliness wonderfully. She injects emotion without being dramatic. I just love her soft, gritty voice.
In the end, I have discovered a wonderful new UF series in She Dreams of Fire. Mr. Gibson’s world is dark and dangerous, filled with unique and engaging characters. It is perfect for fans of Dresden Files or those feeling the void left from the conclusion of UF greats like Kate Daniels or the Iron Druid Chronicles. Between the amazing worldbuilding and the small bombs dropped at the end of She Dreams of Fire, I cannot wait for the next book. I need it now!
Review copy provided by the author.