HEART OF FIRE by J DAMASK
EBOOK, 140 pages, Fox Spirit
Heart of Fire is the third volume in the Jan Xu series by Singaporean author J Damask, following on from Wolf at the Door and Obsidian Moon, Obsidian Eye. The sequence is set in modern-day Singapore, where werewolf packs fight and form fragile alliances with vampires and dragons, weaving a web of myth and magic around the city while human life goes on oblivious to the conflict.
Jan Xu is a wife and mother, a former teacher, and the recently elevated Alpha of one of the cities leading werewolf packs, juggling her human life and husband with the strength, and the turmoil, of her inner wolf. When she and her damaged sister Marianne rescue a badly injured foreign wolf from the side of the road, Jan is pulled back into a long-running conflict that she hoped she had escaped. Shan, the injured werewolf, is the lover of the son of one of the leading Vampire clans in the city, and he has also come to the attention and the desire of Sharon Sutherland, the daughter of the powerful Sutherland clan of drakes (dragons). Caught in the middle of this conflict, Jan is soon fighting for her life, and for the life of her pack.
Damask has an elegant writing style, simple but poetic, and she weaves an intricate story that takes in various legends, immerses them in Singaporean culture, and gives them a clever urban twist, so Fae and kitsune rub shoulders with werewolves and vampires in the magical green spaces hidden in the urban sprawl. My main complaint about the book was that I felt, at a slender 140 pages, the length didn’t do justice to the intricacy of the story, I would have liked to have sunk deeper into this very special, unique world Damask has created..