PJV Quickie: CIRCLE OF FIRE by Keri Arthur is a paranormal tease. It gives you a little show of a good paranormal book—sort of like slipping on some lacy lingerie and then throwing an old, ratty, Hello Kitty, terry robe over it. You have your requisite shape shifters, witches, sorcerers, psychics, and even a telekinetic flamethrower, but somehow they feel like handy titles use to meet a genre requirement rather than well-developed characters. Although this is Diet Paranormal, the book has some promise at the beginning. Unfortunately, the story ends where you want it to begin.

Review: I have had a hard time pinning down my thoughts on CIRCLE OF FIRE. The problem lies in that I think the story has a good plot line and characters but they haven’t been developed enough to keep the reader from feeling like there is something missing. Arthur alludes to paranormal aspects and abilities but she never really develops back stories or the book’s world.
The book hooked me within the first couple pages. The story opens in the middle of the night while Maddie is encountering an astral projection of a man named Jon. Jon needs Maddie to help him out of a hole (could that be both figurative and literal?). And we’re off or we thought we were. We learn that Maddie is psychic with a touch of telekinetic flamethrowing and Jon is a shifter. Maddie is ignorant of the paranormal world and thinks her abilities are a dangerous inconvenience.

***Spoilers really start creeping out here***
I feel it is usually hard for authors to write a paranormal world reveal. Typically in my experience, the best books have these coming outs, reveals, or great showings in the past. It’s hard to write realistic reactions to “Hey, this guy who I think is sexy as hell turns into an animal” so Arthur sort of glazes over the paranormal aspects. This may be why she doesn’t go into a lot of description of the paranormal world. The problem also stems from Maddie’s character development. Other than some references to Maddie’s ex-husband being a rat bastard who she ultimately killed, her strained familial relationships, and her confusion about her abilities, we don’t really get to know Maddie. We don’t get to see how much she can grow in her powers.

After Maddie saves Jon from the well, they work together to save her nephew, Evan, from a sorceress/shifter who needs teenage sacrifice to continue to be young (hmmm…sounds familiar). The End.

Until the epilogue, where a nice, pink bow is tied—Maddie develops control of her powers and Jon shows up declaring his domestic intentions. Hence, it ends where you want it to begin.