Review: Soul of Fire by Laura Anne Gilman (Portals #2)


Soul of Fire by Laura Anne Gilman // VBC ReviewSoul of Fire (Portals #2)
Laura Anne Gilman
Published: September 24, 2013 (Harlequin Luna)
Purchase at: Book Depository or Amazon
Review Source: Provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Mary

Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars

When Jan rescued her boyfriend Tyler from Under the Hill, the Elves gave her a very specific timeline for when they could come through the portals and invade our realm: Ten weeks, ten days, and ten hours. In the past they used ‘seven’ as their number of doom, but recently they switched to the binary system.

With the deadline looming, Jan and a global think tank of supernaturals and humans in-the-know are trying to stop the portals from being opened, and humanity from being enslaved.  The only idea they have managed to come up with is to find the exiled queen and see if she can stop her subjects from destroying this world.

While this book is easy to pick up as a second installment in the series without any confusion, you still spend a good portion of the book bumbling around. Poor Jan has a bit of crisis about her role in the upcoming supernatural apocalypse and realizes just how useless she is as a human.  When your protagonist has no purpose, neither does your book. It takes her awhile to come up with a plan, but even then, she goes off without any real idea of what she is doing. Her character really epitomizes the supernatural and preternatural opinion of humanity in this book: lots of ideas and creativity, but very little skill or function.

Not only does Jan struggle with her purpose, but also with her feelings. Since rescuing Tyler, she has come to appreciate what he went through at the hands of the Elves. Their brainwashing techniques left Tyler badly damaged and unstable, not the best qualities for a boyfriend to have. Then there is Martin, a kelpie, with a bit of blood lust, who likes to drown people for fun. She shouldn’t be attracted to Martin, but who doesn’t love a bad boy, especially when he keeps saving her life.

The one thing that really intrigues me in this book is the ongoing discussion of why other races were interested in humans. This is something that has always bothered me, especially when reading stories about the fae. In the back of my mind, I wonder why these magical, immortal creatures would even look twice at our seemingly inferior population.  Jan and the Queen have a really great discussion about this very thing.

Usually when I read a book about supernatural creatures, I want to be like those other beings, with cool powers or immortality or magic. Soul of Fire made me realize the power in being human. 

I think that the author was really onto something when magic started to integrate with technology. While we only saw a little of this in Soul of Fire, she left it open for more development in future installments. I thought that this was a really interesting concept and am looking forward to how this might affect the storyline in future books.

Sexual content: None, and, frankly, Jan could have used a little in this book.

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