Master of Fire
While Master of Fire was generally interesting and easy to read, the weak plot and ultimately superficial characters made this book less than a keeper.
Logan MacRoy is a Lieutenant in a police bomb squad in Greendale County, South Carolina. He also happens to be the mortal son of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere, both of whom are immortal vampires. While Logan remains mortal, he is a Latent, a descendant of one of the original Knights of the Round Table. Latents carry a genetic spell in their DNA, and if this spell isn’t activated, they will have a mortal lifespan. However, if a Latent has sex with someone from the Mageverse, they will become immortal. A Latent man accordingly becomes a vampire and is called a “Magus”; a woman becomes a witch and is called “Maja.” Logan has no intention of becoming a vampire any time soon, and has sworn off all immortal women. Recently there have been a slew of Latent murders, and his worried parents know that their obstinate son won’t accept any protection from them. Instead, they secretly assign Maja Giada Shepherd to keep an eye on him. Giada is a brilliant chemist, and gets a job as a forensic chemist in Logan’s bomb squad.
As it turns out, someone is after Logan, and has hired an assassin to kill him. Things are further complicated by a bunch of other elements, including Morgana Le Fay’s interference, werewolves running around, personal problems, and, not least of all, the giant attraction between Logan and Giada. Giada has been expressly forbidden to have any intimacy with Logan, yet she has great difficulty in keeping her head around him. Logan pursues Giada, not knowing that she is a Maja. Of course, we all know who prevails in this war of wills.
The first half of the book had moments of excellence; the tension between Logan and Giada seemed real and was truly interesting. There was also just enough of the paranormal element to make the story fun without throwing in an entirely different world created by the author. But somewhere past the halfway point, I felt like the book took a sharp turn and descended into chaos. The slightly bizarre Mageworld (where Merlin was the source of all magical creatures, Arthur and Guinevere are vampires and Guinevere only cheated with Lancelot to make Arthur Truebond with her) appeared in full force, and made everything kind of cheesy.
The love scenes, once pretty hot, became almost-purple prose. The characters began saying things like “Oh Merlin’s Cup!” which made me cringe, and one of the later love scenes had a completely different tone than the rest of the book and was coarse and porny. The villains, who were ambiguous to begin with, ended up being kind of lame, and I didn’t really feel the urgency of their revenge.
One of my biggest issues with the second half is that all the good guys, especially all the legendarily powerful good guys, are wiped out within seconds. Imagine a bunch of feathers trying to withstand a typhoon, and you’ll have the general picture. And then, because we’re reaching the end of the story, suddenly everything works again. I don’t know; perhaps I didn’t sit there long enough to try and reason everything out, but something didn’t ring true in the course of action, and all the ends were too neatly tied up at the end.
I also started off liking the characters very much, but the more the book progressed, the less I liked them. Ultimately, I was forced to conclude that Giada is a bit of a Mary Sue. She’s a well-meaning person, kinda useless, but always very, very lucky. When the reader first meets her, she has a bit of an edge (which I liked), but after her relationship with Logan is consummated, she becomes the kind of woman who apologizes for everything (totally irritating). Then I began to notice that she doesn’t have much personality, and, well, it went downhill from there. Same with Logan – he begins as an attractive man, then develops a whiny edge and begins to say excruciatingly cheesy things.
My favorite character was Smoke, the talking magical elf cat creature thing. Throughout the book he is consistently amusing, a loyal friend, and his past is very intriguing.
Ultimately, Master of Fire was a little disappointing in its conclusion and character development. However, the next book in the series is Smoke’s story, and I will definitely look forward to that.