Monday, April 2, 2018

Review: Fire and Bone by Rachel A. Marks

Otherborn, Book One
by Rachel A. Marks
YA Urban Fantasy
407 pages

In Hollywood’s underworld of demigods, druids, and ancient bonds, one girl has a dangerous future.

Sage is eighteen, down on her luck, and struggling to survive on the streets of Los Angeles. Everything changes the night she’s invited to a party — one that turns out to be a trap.

Thrust into a magical world hidden within the City of Angels, Sage discovers that she’s the daughter of a Celtic goddess, with powers that are only in their infancy. Now that she is of age, she’s asked to pledge her service to one of the five deities, all keen on winning her favor by any means possible. She has to admit that she’s tempted — especially when this new life comes with spells, Hollywood glam, and a bodyguard with secrets of his own. Not to mention a prince whose proposal could boost her rank in the Otherworld.

As loyalties shift, and as the two men vie for her attention, Sage tries to figure out who to trust in a realm she doesn’t understand. One thing's for sure: the trap she’s in has bigger claws than she thought. And it’s going to take a lot more than magic for this Celtic demigoddess to make it out alive.


The tagline 'Gossip Girl meets Percy Jackson' lives up to its claim, but with a heavy mix of the TV series, Lost Girl, throw in.

Sage's life is a mess and has been as long as she can remember. Against her better judgement, she's lured to a party with the promise of food and a shower, but instead, finds herself captured by a strange people, who claim to have supernatural powers. But more, they insist she too is not human. She's dragged away to a mansion and starting a dangerous fire, begins to believe that these people might be right. Not only must she learn to control her powers, but is faced with the choice to pledge loyalty to one of five factions of paranormal beings. But she doesn't know who to trust, especially since two very different men are determined to win her over in the process.

Sage is not the usual type of paranormal heroine. She packs a sharp tongue, tons of mistrust and isn't about to let anyone push her around. And she carries baggage from her past. Tons of it, but it's not there to gather sympathy and pity. Rather, this harshness has molded her personality making her easier to understand despite her sharp edges. Of course, Sage has heart, and it's exactly this desire not to hurt others which keeps her from running away from everything.

The story is fast paced. Not only does she head from one action or dangerous situation into the next, but layers of secrets are constantly being brought to the surface. She is a special snowflake with a huge roll in destiny, but this weaves well with the other characters and story to keep it growing to cliche.

The side characters in this story add wonderful richness to the world. The tale isn't only told from Sage's point of view but allows several other characters to gain their own depth. It's hard to tell who to trust and who to cheer for as each has their own agenda in mind. Each has their own personality, some of which add a wonderfully playful level of snark and superficial girliness to counter the more serious, dark side.

As for the romance, Sage is not one to jump into anything. She does drool quick but has strong walls in the background. Trust needs to be won from both sides. Although this is sold as two guys loving one girl, it's not as clear cut as that. There's a lot going on in the background, all of which unfolds with time as Sage uncovers more and more secrets from her past. It's complex and not even what Sage thinks. It will be interesting to see where it all steers in the future books in the series.

And I do plan on reading more. What, at times, seemed like a normal urban fantasy, shifts into high gear by the end of the book and promises so much in the books to come. Fans of urban fantasy with fee, gods, shades, and so much more are sure to enjoy this read.

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