Review: Child of Fire by Harry Connolly

Child of Fire by Harry Connolly

Child of Fire by Harry Connolly
Book 1, A Twenty Palaces Novel
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: Paperback, 368 pages
Published: September 29, 2009 by Del Rey
ISBN: 978-0345508898
My copy: Won on Twitter

Ray Lilly is living on borrowed time. He’s the driver for Annalise Powliss, a high-ranking member of the Twenty Palace Society, a group of sorcerers devoted to hunting down and executing rogue magicians. But because Ray betrayed her once, Annalise is looking for an excuse to kill him–or let someone else do the job.

Unfortunately for both of them, Annalise’s next mission goes wrong, leaving her critically injured. With the little magic he controls, Ray must complete her assignment alone. Not only does he have to stop a sorcerer who’s sacrificing dozens of innocent lives in exchange for supernatural power, he must find–and destroy–the source of that inhuman magic.

My Ramblings:

When I first read about Child of Fire by Harry Connolly, I just knew I had read this book and immediately put it on my wish list. So when I won a copy of it on Twitter, I was pretty psyched about reading it. Plus, the majority of reviews I had read were raving about Child of Fire. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case for me.

Child of Fire reads like a gritty, supernatural crime novel. Ray Lilly is not a super being, just an ex-con artist trying to make amends for past mistakes. Mistakes that you find out about very slowly. One of the best attributes of this novel, is knowing Ray was against powerful magic without much help besides his own wit and a tiny bit of magic. For the most part, he just rolls with punches as they came at him because he seems to have a nose for trouble and it always seemed to be right around every corner waiting for him. Annalise, though she is one of the good guys, has a bad guy's cold-blooded demeanor about her. It's also her attitude in how she views everything  and everyone around her. It gave her an air of mystery and made me want to know about what made her this way. But for the most part she remained a mystery as much as the Twenty Palace Society that she belonged to and you don't really get know much about either. Maybe more will be revealed in the next novel.

While I liked the premises of the world created by Harry Connolly and characters themselves, for the most part Child of Fire didn't keep me intrigued and kept falling flat. I felt like I was one step ahead of the story's mystery throughout most of the book so it didn't hold many surprises for me. In the end, I felt like I really didn't get know the main characters as well as I would've liked. Will I read the next novel? I'm really not sure because I feel the characters of this series deserve another shot.

My Rating: It's Okay

Places you can find Harry Connolly: Web Site | Blog

Twenty Palaces Novels:

  1. Child of Fire
  2. Game of Cages – August 31, 2010

Other Ramblings:


Anonymous said...

Hi Donna :)
Thank you for the review.
I was on the fence about this series and I'm glad you shared your thoughts here. I've too many great books on the bookshelf waiting to be read (settle down you books!) for mediocre ones.

Donna said...

RKCharron - You're welcome. You might want to check out some of the other reviews also, I was pretty much in the minority for Child of Fire. I guess it's hit or miss on how much a book can effect you. Thanks for stopping by!!

Unknown said...

It's a shame you didn't like the book, but I love the honest review. I am trying to read a few more urban fantasy books written by guys, I did check out the other reviews too. but still think I will give this one a miss.

Chris said...

Oh, that's a disappointing feeling - like the book almost has what it takes and you want it to, but...

Blodeuedd said...

Never read any UF with a guy as teh main character, I really should

Smokinhotbooks said...

I'm the same as Blodeuedd I don't think I've read any UF books where the POV is from the hero...I'll stick with my Ilona Andrews books :)

Erotic Horizon said...

I have this as well Donna

And I actualyl got it - because there are so few guys doing decent UF/ Spec Fic...

Sorry it fell a little flat for you...

I am going to give it a go - it might work for me..

Happy Monday hon


Donna said...

Chris - Yep, nice way to put it. Thing is it seemed a lot of other folks really like this book. It just didn't hit me the same way I guess.

BCC - Thanks, I almost didn't post a review about this one but then I figured since I was in the minority about this book I'd give it a go.

Blodeuedd - For me it really doesn't matter whether the main character was a guy or gal, as long as the story can keep me interested.

KC - I've read quite a few books that were written from the guy's POV since before reading UF & PNR, I read mainly High Fantasy or Horror. The flat part was the mystery of the storyline/plot itself. I actually liked reading Ray's thoughts.

EH - I'd be interested seeing what you think about this one.

Lola said...

I won this book a while back from Book Love Affair and have been meaning to read it. Thanks for your honest review Donna! I'll keep it in mind when I read it! :)

Unknown said...

Hi Donna!

I've heard a lot about this book, and well, I was sort of anticipating reading it. I've been on the fence about it. I still may try it, but not right away. I have so many books to read, and I don't want to blow the glow of good books right now, lol, I hate falling into reading funks. I can usually rely on your reviews as to whether or not I'm going to like the book too, so passing for not, but may pick up later.

Dottie :)

Donna said...

Lily C - I'd love to see what you think about this book after you have read it. I hope you post a review.

Dottie - I was anticipating this book also but it didn't turn out to be as great a read I was expecting. And thank you, I'm glad you trust my reviews! I feel the same about yours. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link! Great review. :)

Laurence MacNaughton said...

Everyone's different. Personally, I think it's an awesome read, but your mileage may vary. Harry Connolly talked with me about this gritty supernatural debut, and shared some insights about dark heroes, inspiration and the fatal mistake made by most aspiring writers. You can read the interview for free on

Donna said... - I agree, everyone finds something different in the books we read. Like I said in the review a lot folks liked Child of Fire and several of the reviews I linked really enjoyed it. One of the reviews said it was one the best books they had read in 2009. I'm really the odd person out on this one. I might give Game of Cages a try when it releases.

Thanks for stopping by. :)

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