cover image Ash Kickers (Smoke Eaters #2)

Ash Kickers (Smoke Eaters #2)

Sean Grigsby. Angry Robot, $8.99 mass market (352p) ISBN 978-0-85766-797-7

Grigsby’s pulse-pounding sequel to Smoke Eaters is a worthy successor that expands on the series’ already strong foundation of vivid action and meticulous worldbuilding. Tamerica Williams is a rare breed of human known as a smoke eater, able to withstand the smoke of the dragons that have recently emerged to wreak havoc on the world. Once dragon slayers, the smoke eaters have been forced to instead engage in dragon capture and harvesting: dragon blood has curative properties for humans. Then a phoenix shows up in Parthenon City, Ohio—one that kills the dragons but also sets everything in its path on fire. Complicating matters are cultlike self-immolations that take place in crowded areas, Tamerica’s dreams of a different career, and the arrival of a new military force. Current themes—refugees, political maneuvering, race and gender issues—thread their way through the lives of vibrantly imagined characters who ring with authenticity, and firefighter Grigsby knows just how to pull readers into scenes full of smoke and flame. Readers will delight in this fresh take on action fantasy. Agent: Paul Stevens, Donald Maass Literary. (July)