Emberly and her red hot partner, Jackson, have hit an impasse in their battle against the crazed humans infected by a plague-like virus derived from vampire blood. Their quest to unearth the leader of the group leads them into an ambush—and leaves Emberly at odds with her former lover, Sam, who’s pressuring her to join his Paranormal Investigations Team.
To make matters worse, three local witches have been kidnapped—and if their spells fall into the wrong hands, Emberly’s powers could end up smothered. With time ticking until the virus consumes the world, Emberly and Jackson must race to save the witches, find a cure, and smoke out their nemesis—or go down in a blaze of glory...
The best thing by far about this series continues to be Emberly's character and FLAMEOUT was no exception. I just simply love how she's so fierce and determined, never wavering from her cause. She's willing to sacrifice anything and everything for others at all times, and more often than not this selfless nature comes at a great cost to her. She's come so close to death more times than I can count, and her injury and scar count are countless. All this is more than admirable, and draws me to her. But what really makes me continually fall in love with her character is that despite all that strength, she's so vulnerable as well. It would have been so easy after everything she's been through and all the so many lifetimes she's endured with heartbreak for it all to have made her bitter. And yet she's not, and so selfless, and I love her for it. All this was only further proved in FLAMEOUT as other people she cared about, even if only peripherally were held over her head as blackmail, and not even for one second does she think of faltering. As I said, it makes her vulnerable, yet so strong at the same time.
The romance continues to be messy, messy, messy in this series. Of course what else could it be when phoenixes are cursed to always have heartbreak in their lives. They fall in love once per lifetime and it's always destined to end badly. That being said, since this lifetime's love, Sam isn't completely out of the picture, but acts like he hates her instead, well it makes things a bit dicey. Emberly has found comfort, but not love of course, in the arms of a fire fae named Jackson, but there were hints in this book that it won't be long term. I'm glad she's found a bit of peace, but you can still feel that insane tension between her and Sam. If you had asked me previously if there was a chance for them, I probably would have said no. However, they just keep getting thrust back towards each other and when it all boils down to it, despite his anger, Sam keeps protecting her and risking his life for hers. So I'm holding out hope that they can break the vicious phoenix heartbreak cycle and find a way to overcome their past.
As far as the plot on this one, it's funny, it felt like both a lot and yet not a whole lot actually happened. While reading, I felt everything moved at a very steady pace, and I felt fully engrossed. However after finishing the book I realized that aside from the last few chapters, nothing major actually happened. It was a bunch of investigating and more posturing and threats that build up to the ending events. That being said, considering I didn't realize the lack of real overall plot momentum until I sat down to write this review, I don't think it's a problem at all. In the moment of reading, I was fully engaged, and in the end that's all I ask for.
FIREBRAND is another strong installment in the Souls of Fire series that I thoroughly enjoyed. Keri Arthur truly is a powerhouse in the genre and I've yet to read a book of her's that I haven't loved, and FIREBRAND is no exception. Fans of the series, and Keri's works will be more than pleased.