I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Consumed (Firefighters, #1) by J.R. Ward
Series: Firefighters #1
Published by Gallery Books on October 2, 2018
FINAL DECISION: Wow, this book has one of the most heart pounding and shocking introduction to characters and their situation as any book I have read. I really enjoyed this book. The characters are flawed and complicated; the story kept me interested and I left this book wanting more.
THE STORY: Anne Ashburn is a woman with something to prove. The daughter of a revered firefighter (who wasn’t who he seemed) and the sister of the current fire chief, Anne is fighting for her own identity in a profession dominated by men. Brash, opinionated, independent and strong, Anne loves being a firefighter. The thorn in her side is Danny McGuire a fellow firefighter. There is a blazing hot attraction between them that Anne acted on once, but never again. One fire changes everything.
OPINION: While I’ve always read and thoroughly enjoyed and sometimes outright loved Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series, I think I might enjoy her recent contemporary series even more. Her BDB series is sprawling in scope with a huge set of characters. Her contemporaries take her ability to write overarching stories with compelling characters and compress them into smaller bites.
Whereas her Bourbon Kings series was a lush soap opera, the Firefighters series has a compelling sense of action, drama and urgency that is reminiscent of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, but exhibited in a totally different context. This is not the BDB and may disappoint those looking for a similar series, but I loved the complexity of the characters, their flaws and individuality, the connection between Anne and Danny, and the intriguing plot which propels the characters.
Anne is a woman who struggles with love, connection and trust after finding out the truth about her father. She loves the same profession that is the family calling but has difficultly reconciling being respected, being open and being driven. She is stubborn and reckless and good at her job. When her life is turned upside down, she has to find in herself the ability to go forward and reform her life into something worth living. I especially liked that Anne doesn’t fit traditional ideas of femininity. Like many of Ward’s heroines in the BDB universe, she is physically strong and unwilling to be the victim. And yet, she struggles with ideas of her own attractiveness and where she fits. She is flawed, arrogant and difficult and I liked her all the more for it.
Danny is excellent at his job, but terrible at following orders. But the realities of the job and its costs weigh on his soul. The dramatic events which occur at the beginning of the book tip him toward self-destruction. But through it all, he has a connection to Anne that marks him as a passionate hopeless romantic — even if he would never agree to that characterization. He can’t forget her and while he accepts her wishes for a while, I cheered when he finally decided that he was going to go for what I wanted.
At times I didn’t like the characters very much. They are at times, angry, foolish, annoying and arrogant. They are flawed. And ultimately, that is what made me fall for them. They felt raw and real. By the end of the book, I didn’t want their story to end and I hope that we get to see more of them in future books in the series.
WORTH MENTIONING: There is a slight overarching storyline that isn’t completed here. This book is a complete story, but there are threads that I expect will be picked up in the next book in the series.
CONNECTED BOOKS: CONSUMED is the first book in the Firefighters series. There are two prequel vignettes (and one prequel that is in fact the beginning of this book) but those are not necessary to read although you get some background on the characters.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to prepare this review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.