Title: Born in Fire
Author: K.F. Breene
Genre: Urban Fantasy; Supernatural
What it’s About: Reagan Sommerset is a magical bounty hunter, something that you don’t put or find on LinkedIn. She searches for information on her latest mark, finding him in a bar in New Orleans. Apparently, the guy has grabbed the interest of the vampires, which Reagan confirms while speaking with the waitress at the bar. She grabs her mark, and makes a run for it, but very quickly is surrounded by the vampires. She attempts to fight them off, but realizes that she is easily outmatched by them and gives up her mark, along with the payday that would have allowed her to buy an Air Conditioner, a necessity in the New Orlean heat and humidity.
The following day she makes her way to the office of Magical Affairs, meeting with her boss, who ultimately reveals to her that the Vampires from yesterday had requested her for a job–giving a bounty high enough that would let her not work, and stay under the radar for a while. He also gives her a bounty job that is very dangerous, but at least it would be a bit of a payday, to which she agrees.
Reagan makes her way to the house of the marker, and fights him, magic against magic, taking the guy down. She then searches the house for a magical book, and some marbles full of spells. Then she talks to the neighbor, Mary, for a little bit about John, the witch that she had just killed as per the request of the bounty. She then heads to the office with John’s body, and decides to take the vampires up on their offer.
Reagan visits the vampire’s lairs, meets the king of the vampires, Vlad, and talks to him about the deal. At first she considers backing out because she does not want to be bound to them–she likes being a free agent, with no loyalty to any faction in the magical world. Darius, the vampire that she has been assigned to work with, agrees that she will not be bound to him, but she has to be sworn to secrecy. He also agrees to up the bounty and the value that she stands to make from this job. Reagan agrees.
The two of them travel through the realm, starting at a marsh with two water-predators, unknown creatures that Reagan can see at the water’s edge. They investigate the land where the sentinels were supposed to be, and Reagan breaks through a very strong magical barrier, leading to her almost losing her consciousness. She gets saved by blood from a unicorn, which she is surprised to find is an actual magical creature. Darius tells her that the vampires have a relationship with the unicorns; they protect them, in exchange for the blood that helps them turn people into new vampires. They then find another unicorn trapped, and Reagan helps release it.
After that, they return to the real world, going to Callie and Dizzy–two mages–that make weapons and marbles full of magic as Reagan needs a new sword. They find a sword for her that siphons her magic without her forcing it into the blade, and she loves the way that it works. Darius and Reagan then go investigate around New Orleans regarding the coven of witches that are being told they could be turned into mages through Unicorn blood.
This leads them back to John’s home, which Reagan sees is burnt–the same people have destroyed her home as well. She and Darius interrogate Mary, as well as another neighbor–Tara and her husband Rodney–about John. Reagan takes the book from Tara that she had missed when she went through John’s house the first time. She returns home, hides the book, and talks to her neighbors, debating what to do next as Darius is doing some other investigation into the locations that Mary had given them about John’s whereabouts in the weeks before his death.
Reagan decides to go see Callie and Dizzy, both of whom knew her mother. The marbles that Reagan has and the ones she is requesting, after which Callie and Dizzy look into the locations that Reagan wants to scope out. They decide to go with her, and begrudgingly, Reagan agrees. The three of them go to the house, and Reagan fights while Callie and Dizzy throw magic, ultimately collapsing the house. They find a shed in the back, where it is very clear that the Powerful Mage did a demon possession, with no intention to return to the location. Callie and Dizzy drop Reagan off at her home, and she speaks with her neighbors, who tell her that someone has been around the house, dropping off a package. She goes inside, and finds a letter from the powerful Mage that shows that Darius has been captured. It’s too late to go out now because the sun is rising, which means it would hurt Darius, so Reagan decides to wait it out until the evening to go to the location given to her.
In the evening, she arrives there and Callie and Darius meet her. Together, they enter the church, and start blasting witches and wizards that have done weird magic and ended up turning into werewolves and zombies. Reagan saves a girl who has been hiding in a closet, and then tells her to stay hidden until she knocks on the door again. She then heads further inside, and finds Darius. A battle ensues where Reagan puts her full powers on display, and pulls the Demon out of the Powerful Mage. She holds the Demon in place while she continues to manage her fire to burn the other witches and magical creatures that are coming into the room. Finally she fights the Powerful Mage, who turns out to be no one other than Tara, and she reveals that Reagan is the daughter of Lucifer–the highest level demon there is.
She frees Darius, destroys the Demon because she doesn’t want it to go back to the underworld and tell her father, and when Darius disappears with Tara, she helps Callie and Dizzy with the girl that was hiding in the closet. Upset that she’s lost her mark and a payday–again, she returns home. The next day she visits the office and tears apart a desk of one of her coworkers, telling her boss to put it on the Vampire’s tabs. She gets drunk and returns home, where she fights a pack of vampires that are after her because she killed John and other humans that they were bonded to. Darius shows up shortly after they get destroyed, and he gives her the money she was owed, along with paperwork that will allow her to find a job. He then leaves, promising her that her secret will be safe with him.
My Verdict: I really enjoyed this book. I loved Reagan as a character–she’s so fierce and such a butt kicker in every situation, coming with a sharp tongue or retort for what someone says. She’s knowledgeable about magic, but she’s also naive as she doesn’t know better until Callie and Dizzy teach her about magic and the spell marbles. On the other hand, I’m not a fan of Darius–I didn’t really like the attempted romance between Reagan and him–he’s boring, and I don’t think that the relationship would ever work out between the two of them because of the nature of who they are. I struggle believing that Darius is going to keep his word and keep Reagan’s secret.
Still, I’m interested in reading the next book in the series to find out what happens next, though my preliminary research says that there are only three books total on Reagan, while another three are from a different character in the same universe.