January 28, 2015

Review: Pacific Fire

Pacific Fire Sequel to California Bones (my review)
By Greg van Eekhout
Available now from Tor (Macmillan)
Review copy

I've gotten used to series where one book leads directly into another.  PACIFIC FIRE starts ten years after CALIFORNIA BONES ends, which is a refreshing change of pace.  In fact, the entire book is a refreshing change of pace.

First, if you haven't read CALIFORNIA BONES, please do so.  It is a heist novel wrapped up in a well-developed urban fantasy world with a generous dollop of horror for flavor.  If you haven't read it, this review will be full of spoilers.

Daniel Blackland spent those ten years after the heist on the run with Sam, the Hierarch's golem.  Both are wanted because they'd be perfect ingredients in someone else's spell.  When Argent, an old frenemy comes with news that various factions in LA are banding together to build a dragon, Daniel knows he has to leave hiding to stop it.  The point of view switches between the three men, giving multiple perspectives on a dangerous mission gone wrong.

I love the world Greg van Eekhout is developing.  It's full of sinister and helpful characters, a lovely mix of the wonder of powerful magic and the horrible things that are done to make it stronger.  Despite the fact that most of Daniel and Sam's bonding happens off page, there's never a doubt about their father-son relationship.  It is a strong emotional anchor for the novel.  I liked that most of the characters from CALIFORNIA BONES who survived showed up again, although lamented that Cassandra gets the least to do.

This is a fast-paced novel that ends in a killer cliffhanger.  It is looser than CALIFORNIA BONES, since it doesn't have the heist structure.  But as crazy as things get, they never feel like they're out of van Eekhout's control.  I can't wait for the next book, because things are going to go down.  And based on the strength of PACIFIC FIRE and CALIFORNIA BONES, I trust van Eekhout to stick the landing.

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