Title: Kian (The Fire Trilogy)
Author: RJ Scott
Publisher: Love Lane Books
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Paranormal M/M
Length: Novella (99 pdf pages)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Cole
Review Summary: Succinct world-building and a great element, fire, is explored in this well written novella.
Kian ap Rhys is a warlock, a protector and wielder of The Fire. This fire shines purest in a warlock and is coveted by the Nameless. When his uncle’s Fire is stolen, Kian vows vengeance and seeks the aid of Regan Campbell.
As a hunter of the supernatural predators Regan is the perfect choice to aid Kian on his quest, but Regan is suspicious of the warlock and unwilling to help. It isn’t until their lives are endangered by The Nameless and all choice has been stripped away that they realize they must trust one another or be destroyed.
Kian ap Rhys is a warlock whose only family, his uncle, has died after the man he took as his lover stole his fire. Living without the fire is impossible for those who have had it. It is passion, love, intuition and everything worth living for. However, there are those who do not have the fire in Kian’s world, and they (the Nameless) will do anything possible to take it from others. They are vampires, in a sense, feeding off of the life force of others — for though humans cannot wield the fire, they still have a small amount of it. Because warlocks can use their fire to protect it from being taken, the Nameless learned early on that Earth was a better food source and they crossed the gate that connects to two worlds. Now Kian has knows where to find the Danio Chwiwgi, the one who stole his uncle’s fire, and he must cross the gate to finish him. They are evenly matched, however, and Kian knows that the only way he might prevail is if he also has the fire of his bonded mate to sustain him in the fight. So, before he meets the Danio Chwiwgi in battle, he sets out in the human world to find the man the Council has foretold will be his mate, Regan Campbell.
Regan is a hunter and wanderer, living his life moving from place to place, wherever there is a threat to the population and a rumor of a vampire or werewolf. He knows that they don’t exist, but some kind of predator does. He has grown up in a legacy of hunters and has taken his silver knife out into the world. He is naturally cautious, so when he meets Kian he is more afraid than ever of his reaction to the strange, beautiful man with emerald eyes whose body calls to him. He knows Kian is not one of the Nameless, but he also knows that he is not human. Over a short amount of time, however, Regan starts to feel for Kian. He starts to fear that Kian will go back to his world once they have faced the Danio Chwiwgi. But is it the bonding instinct calling him, or a type of warlock magic?
I was nervous at first, as the world started to build, how RJ Scott could fit all of this into 90 pages. There is a bit of an info dump at the beginning, but nothing really off-putting and most of the world-building comes later — we learn as Regan learns about the fire and the world that Kian comes from. There is just enough world building to support the story, but not enough; and the premise of the story is pretty original and I wanted more of it. From what I understand, this is the beginning of a series, but it remains whether the others will follow Kian and Regan or highlight supporting characters from this first story. I only wish that there had been more room in this story for the characters to blossom. The way the plot is set up, Kian and Regan have very little time together before the you-know-what hits the fan, and then the post-climax was pretty brief. It made me wish this had been given fifty to one hundred extra pages. This outlines a problem that I have with short stories and shorter novellas alike: They are often novel-length stories and plots that are parried down to fit into a certain word count. To me, a lover of stories and charcters, that’s sad, because I feel like the reader misses out on a great opportunity to get to know the characters and the world better. I know there are reasons that authors do this, and I know that the opposite is also true (stories that are so long and that they become masturbatory), but a true novella is a story that can’t go any farther. I’m looking forward to the sequel for this reason — hopefully it will carry on the story started here. The world that RJ Scott created is interesting and enticing enough to keep me coming back.
I know that this specific quirk of mine is mine alone and many of you enjoy shorter stories much more than I do (give me a 500+ page novel any day and you’ll make me a happy man). That said, to build a paranormal world and make it work in a short page count is much more difficult that creating one in the first place, so I give props to RJ Stone for that. This is a story which I think many of you who love paranormals will like. There is one sex scene which is particurly steamy and because I can’t resist, here’s a clue: They both have FIRE. Imagine sex with fire and you’re on the right track.