cover image Fallen Embers: Book One of the Embers Series

Fallen Embers: Book One of the Embers Series

Lauri J. Owen, Pearlsong (Ingram, dist.), $19.95 trade paper (384p) ISBN 9781597

Owen's debut is a flawed but agreeable fish-out-of-water romantic fantasy. After Alaskan lawyer Kiera is tattooed with a secret curse, she and her six-year-old nephew, Alex, are savagely attacked by a wild dog. They wake up in an alternate feudal Alaska. Encountering three children in mortal danger, Kiera unexpectedly calls up magical fire to defend them. After the local army offers her shelter, Kiera is romanced by shape-shifter Captain Laszlo; he's the first of many men who admire Kiera's plus-size body, which she learns is considered the pinnacle of beauty in this new world. Kiera learns how to control and increase her power while trying to avoid becoming a political pawn. Disgusted with the treatment of the enslaved shape-shifters by the privileged magical nobles, Kiera signs up with the approaching slave rebellion even though it may mean Laszlo will be ordered to kill her. Owen's heroine is strong and self-sufficient, but feels too perfect to fail. Though the implausible ending distracts from an otherwise reasonable plot, the overall result is a pleasant summer read. (Sept.)