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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Burning Bright by E.J. Stevens - 4.75/5 Stars

Today, I am reviewing the Urban Fantasy story Burning Bright by E.J. Stevens. The third full novel in the Ivy Granger series, it explores what happens when Ivy’s friend succumbs to fell influence, Ivy herself is drawn into honoring a terrible bargain with a fae queen, and the consequences of our protagonist’s halfbreed heritage come to the fore. As always, Stevens gives an engaging read and a thrilling story. I confess that I bought this book as soon as I found out that it was released, even though I didn’t get to read it until much later. 

I give this book a 4.75/5. Here is my breakdown.

Characters: 5/5. By now, the characters in the series are familiar, but Stevens continues to reveal new facets of their personalities and show us exactly how the events and environment of Harborsmouth affect them. The interaction between Jinx and Forneus, as limited as it was in this book, is always a thrill, and the evolution of Forneus himself is fascinating to me (how is he keeping his rank in Hell? Does anybody know?). Ivy’s mix of selfish- and selflessness ring true, and I am now utterly terrified of what will happen now that Kaye…
Well, you’ll have to find that out for yourselves ;).

Plot/Storyline: 5/5. Stellar. Gripping. Intense. Stevens is, by now, an expert in keeping her reader engaged in her story. The action is continuous and the tension so palpable that it kept me thinking about the story even when I wasn’t actively reading it. The twists and turns are believable and the sense of verisimilitude is maintained. It’s hard to do that in a long-running fantasy series, but Stevens does an admirable job.

Flow: 5/5. Like a river, Burning Bright carries the reader ever onward. Sometimes it’s fast, sometimes slower, but always moving with nary a dull page…or paragraph! The pacing was phenomenally well done, holding me to the book and bringing me back whenever I had to put it down…which was never by choice!.

Spelling/Grammar: 3.5/5. Burning Bright is plagued with more grammatical and typographical errors than I am accustomed to seeing in E.J. Stevens’s work. They weren’t distracting, but as my own experience grows I am more aware of them, and they were peppered throughout the work – there were a couple of incorrect spellings of glaistig, for instance, and a misplaced period and comma or two. I’ve seen much worse, but I’ve seen much better as well..

Overall: 4.75/5. Stevens continues her efforts to become one of the world’s foremost paranormal/urban fantasy authors by producing material of the highest quality. I favorably compare Burning Bright to works like Harry Potter in its depth and character development. I only hope that, when Stevens hits it big, she doesn’t forget about us, her readers ;)