Tuesday, August 6, 2013

(W)REC(K) A BOOK: Firecracker

Firecracker is a fun contemporary fantasy thriller about a young woman named Aideen Cassidy, who has to be careful with her emotions because when she explodes, things literally explode! Being a pyrokinetic - able to start fires with her mind - isn't an easy thing to live with, especially when trying to find work in the modern world.

Luck or fate lands her a job with a group of eccentric psychics who use their gifts to help local authorities with difficult cases. They can see the future, sense feelings, read minds - useful traits. All Aideen can do is blow things up. But there's something special about her that has caught the attention of the most powerful psychic in the world, and there are secrets about the organization even the psychics don't know.

Plans have been put into motion, secrets are unraveling, lives are in danger, and the group soon find themselves caught in a conspiracy of shadowy monsters, government spies, and ancient legends that date back 600 years.

All Aideen wanted was to fit in. Now the lives of all her new friends must rely on her talents for fiery destruction.
- Goodreads

The Shadows scared the shit out of me. XD

In this world, the 88 virus killed thousands of people. When the Zoe Vaccine came along, it did more than cure the virus; it birthed a new blood type, and with that, psychics.

This book started off on a hilarious note that job hunters could relate to. Cass isn't a genius, and with her pyro-problem being seen as a handicap, she's barely scraping by. The city of Detroit is sick and tired of the constant fire hazards that come with this vermillion-eyed redhead, so she goes to her only hope for a job: PsychTeam, an organization of psychics who help police officers with heady cases. She's a psychic applying to a psychic place. Surely her own kind would want her if no one else? Wrong. We're not even five pages into the book before her interviewer, Li Hung, flatly refuses her. Why? Because pyrokinetics are not only useless around a crime scene, they're dangerous. She wouldn't get hired because she was even more different than the people who were different! But Miyuki, the big boss in the form of a sickly sixteen year old, hires her right after Cass's departure. For a dark presence thought to have been gone long ago has come back, and Cass is the light that will save them all.

While Cass and Li are in Detroit, telekinetic Voss and psychic Tina, fellow PsychTeam members, are down in New Mexico trying to find the shadow monster's lair. They're a funny and very 'active' couple whom I fell for whenever their POV came up. They had enough issues from their pasts to be very interesting. If anyone can beat them down for most interesting past, though, I'd have to say Miyuki's got them beat. By six hundred years. This girl may appear young, but she's been living since the 1400's. Her father and men had gone looking for a mushroom that gave people immortality, but the natives who ate it warned them that only worthy ones could handle it. The crew ate it all, even forced Miyuki to eat it, and in the end, only she survived. The mushroom was a poison that would only work for someone with a particular blood type, body type, genomes and enzymes. She survived, and all of their current problems ironically started with the scientist who studied her.

He had found out about her immortality, and with his studies, had created a male counterpart of her. However, the boy couldn't control his powers, and shadows began to counteract the psychic waves he gave off when killing people. So it was because of this that the Zoe Vaccine was created, which birthed the psychics, and eventually started the war. The government wants Miyuki like nobody's business because of this and the fact that she has the map to the island on her back, something that'd appeared moments after eating the mushrooms.

As for the kidnapping case, it'd turned out to be a ruse. Li had been using a blood dummy, a training exercise they used on psychics, to get Cass to quit, but in the end, it turned out that a real missing girl with Zoe blood had been calling out to her. This leads them to the school the girl had found herself locked in, and it's there that they get a showdown with the shadow monsters.

There were different POVs telling this story that I thought made it even more foreboding and a big deal. A monster in the shadows has been terrorizing PsychTeam, though only a small handful know about it. Li is one of them, and because his father's death links to a burning building, he knows what the consequences are of having Cass on the team more than anyone. He's super sly and supportive of Cass, but all the while, he's been trying to make her quit: introducing her to a kidnapping case not even an hour after hiring her, putting her with Toby Brown (whom she'd set on fire earlier that day when he caught her at the wrong time) for gruesome physical training. And up until the beginning of the end, Cass believed he was the only one in her corner rooting for her, until she realized that he'd been trying to get rid of her. Though if it counts any, Li had a change of heart. He gave her the nickname, Firecracker, both for her gift and the fact that she resembled an emotional ticking bomb ready to go off into a new feeling at any given moment.

Cass met a lot of cool people in this story, like Kevin the empath with a talent on the piano. Miki was their go-to holographic operator who projects workers in their main building and also happens to run Li's restaurant. Jun was a little girl with a maturity that surpassed everyone because of the constant visions of deaths of people she came into contact with. Doctor Sheridan rarely showed up until the end, but her abilities had to do with ice, because in one scene, she let her guard down and had the whole room icing over like it was winter. She's got the particular talent of being genuinely sweet and clinically cold at the same time whenever she's around people. I suspect that's why she hangs out in her lab a lot. Neda isn't a psychic, but a British bodyguard for Miyuki. Li is a very powerful telekinetic, but doesn't use the full extent of his gifts. It isn't until everyone is dead and he gets shot that we realize his gift is being able to go back in time. He always believed his powers came with a price, though, and it gets thrown back in his face when he does use his powers, only to find out later that Toby gets viciously murdered by the shadow monsters.

Ah, Toby. I had a little endearment towards him, but when he shot Li under orders of a higher organization, I didn't like him so much. But he had family to think about, and when Li goes back in time, it showed him leaving Li to go outside and talk to his superior, demanding he be let go, only to then get attacked by the shadows as a way of being 'fired'. His poor family. :(

I recommend this. I liked it and thought it had a nice blend of the funnies, some drama, hints of romance with the drama, and lots of scary scenes. Cass is pretty funny, and she had me at her love for comic books and waving at random college professors while drawing in the park. And I don't know about you, but I can't stand the darkness, sometimes. I think reading this might've made more paranoid. XD

Happy Reading.

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