Fireborn: Embers of Atlantis
Tracy Hickman, 2011
Recent Release! Copy for review provided by Netgalley.
Premise: Based on the Fireborn role-playing game. Ethan Gallows, ace cameraman, liked his life and his job, until his footage of unbelievable events was 'proved false' and no one believed the truth. He's been making the best of it in a world gone mad until his dreams start leaking into his waking life. Plus people start telling him not only is he a reincarnated dragon, but he has to rescue his brother, who is trying to kill them all.
The best part is probably the setting. It is set in a modern world with magic, but not the kind where magic has secretly always existed, or where a select few know about the magic world. When it starts to flirt with those tropes, the tone becomes dull and lifeless. Rather, it is a world which once had magic, lost it, and then all of history happened, and now magic is suddenly exploding back onto the scene, alongside but surpassing all of the other problems of modern life. The way that the setting is introduced is pretty fantastic, and was probably my favorite part of the book.
It suffers from one of the problems that plague most novels based on role playing games: some aspects of the setting work really well (possibly better) than they do in the game, while some fall flat and awkward. The book is trapped by these elements, and has to make the best of them. For example, the stubbornness of civilians to disbelieve magic feels a bit like a cheat; something like that would only work for so long unless it was necessary for the game mechanics. Despite a valiant effort by one character to justify this, it feels too static for a literary world.
The characters are mostly fun, although there are a few easy ways out taken here and there.
Overall, this was a fun read, but it didn't quite live up to its early intriguing premise.
3 Stars - A Good Book
Check out Fireborn: Embers of Atlantis at Amazon.com