Of Flame and Light is the seventh installment to the Weird Girls, an urban fantasy series, set in Tahoe, California and featuring a fantastic blend of paranormal races. This is the second book that has Taran as the lead and it definitely needs to be read in order.
From this point, I will be summarizing and will do my best not to drop spoilers.
Taran is in a bad place after she is left with a replacement right forearm and hand and its origins from Were magic collide with her own cursed witch magic. When she can’t control it and nearly hurts her sisters, she gives in and agrees to go to the local witch coven for help.
Training with the witches is one of the most difficult concessions Taran has made in her life. They were not welcoming when she and her sisters moved to Tahoe and some of them even attacked her sister. Their snubbing and smirking attitudes because she and her sisters are different makes it tough to swallow her pride. It’s salt to the wound when the werewolf mate who left her because he can’t even look at her ugly new zombie limb let alone touch it seems to be cozying up with the head witch.
Bigger things are going on when a rogue witch proves she has dark powers that challenge the combined strength of coven and weres. Taran’s lessons are not going well, but she meets the challenges set before her with the fire and spirit that only Taran can pull off. Taran is so tired and grieved to be the weak one and the one who screws up, but she has to figure out her magic or dire things will happen.
Alright, Of Flame and Light got back to what I love best about this series. The author takes her heroine into the toughest of situations both internal and external making them hurt and get beat down even if strength has her climbing back to her feet and going again. Taran is the most outwardly fiery and colorful of the sisters. She brazen and in your face, but it covers her vulnerability. She feels the loneliness of being different, the fear of losing those she loves and of being rejected. While she fights to control her magic, she is also stubbornly fighting with herself about her bond with Gemini.
The story offers up exciting and intense action plotting with the battle against the powerful dark witch and Taran facing her training challenges that are never as simple as they should be because it’s Taran. I loved the wink toward Hogwarts and life at school in this one. Even though Taran is struggling and facing tough challenges it lended a lighter note to the story.
The situation with Gemini was one of frustration. Taran is so stubborn and Gemini silent. I wanted to smack both of them and definitely lock them in a room with no way out until they worked it out. When they shared scenes, it was sizzling and I loved that twister the author threw in there. I was freaking out there for a bit and having reader girl moans and groans and gnashing of teeth even while I loved every minute of what came next. But this pair- tears, laughter, heartbreak, frustration, and never easy though they are passionate and so good for each other if they can figure it out.
The larger cast of characters from the series are present mostly in the form of Taran’s sisters and their ongoing stories. Oh yes, Em’s thing that I noticed in earlier books is growing. Can’t wait to get more of that situation. It was good that, though this is Taran’s story and she narrates, there is plenty of time at home (I’m looking at you Mrs. Mancuso) and with her sisters, but also good that the story gave the witch coven the spotlight and set much of the story there and with those characters. There is one more new and startling character that I will leave as a fascinating surprise.
There was a great climax scene worth all the build up and some resolve on the earlier issues, but the door was left open for more of Taran’s story. Can’t wait to see what happens next.
So, a good time was had by this reader and I can’t recommend this series enough to both the paranormal romance and urban fantasy fans as it’s a fantastic hybrid of both and a series of action, passion, humor, heartbreak, and the best group of heroine sisters I’ve ever encountered.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
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I groan as I roll onto my back. I’d like to say this is the first time I’ve been knocked unconscious. I’d also like to say my boobs are the same size, but hey, such is my life.
Dirt. All I sense is that and dank heaviness that accompanies a . . . cave? Through the fog taking up residency along my brain, I make out a dim glow. It takes me a moment to realize it’s coming from my light-saber arm. I push up on my hands, grimacing when my fingers sink into the soil. Yet it’s what I see when I glance up that has me scrambling to my feet.
A lonely hand scuttles by me, chasing after a rat. Oh, but it gets better. I press my back against a dirt wall as a foot hops by, chasing after the hand, that’s chasing after the rat, with a decapitated head rolling —I shit you not—merrily behind them.
It’s like some kind of fucked up nursery rhyme. I don’t want to know the next verse, especially not with the collection of zombies gathering from all sides. These are different from the ones who pulled us onto shore. Their grisly faces are more emaciated and their bodies are in a more advance stage of decomposing. As they shuffle toward me, pieces of their skin fall in small moist clumps.
I hold out my hand. “Stay back.”
They collectively moan.
And move closer.
I grit my teeth, summoning that spark from deep in my core. The dank air seems to enclose around me, giving me a chill and snuffing out my inner heat.
Shit, shit, shit.
On wobbly legs, I slide my back against the dirt wall, my hands out. The zombies gather closer, cocking their heads, their empty sockets mesmerized by the glow of my arm. At first, I think they’re simply curious. But then their short thick tongues push forward, appearing to lick what’s left of their lips.
I jump when another hand scrambles by, its pinky brushing against my foot. My back presses against the dirt wall as I slide against it. I’m not sure where to go. I only know I can’t stay here.
I bang my fists against the wall, trying to stimulate my fire. My left hand doesn’t react, tensing uselessly. But that spark I so need triggers from my right arm, igniting flames along the path of my blue veins only to putter out.
Come on, light.