Moving along in my read of the Smoke Eaters series, in preparation for the third book in the series. ^_^ Thankfully my library is awesome, and I found the audiobook for this one in hoopla. Thanks, libraries 💖
This one follows a different protagonist than the first, so I went in with high hopes for it!
With ex-firefighter Cole Brannigan in command of the Smoke Eaters, the dragon menace is under control. Thanks to non-lethal Canadian tech, the beasts are tranquilized and locked up, rather than killed. But for Tamerica Williams, this job filled with action and danger, has become tediously routine.
When a new threat emerges, a legendary bird of fire – the Phoenix – it’s the perfect task for Williams. But killing the Phoenix just brings it back stronger, spreading fire like a plague and whipping dragons into a frenzy. Will it prove to be too much excitement, even for adrenalin-junkie Williams?
This is the continuing story of the Smoke Eaters, an offshoot of the fire department in a somewhat far-ish flung future Ohio. Dragons reemerged from… wherever it was they were hiding 10 years ago and have been wreaking absolute havoc on the world. It’s up to Smoke Eaters to deal with them, and where it used to be their job to kill them, now it is their job to tranquilize them, since dragon’s blood is known to have healing properties.
Ash Kickers follows Tamerica Williams, who was a secondary (perhaps closer to tertiary at times) character in the first book. She’s finding the job more and more boring these days, with all the tranquilizing and not killing of dragons. She signed up to be a dragon slayer! So, when she accidentally nearly gets her whole crew killed on what should be a fairly routine job, her boss hauls her in for a good talking to… but meanwhile, there is a Phoenix in town, and it’s getting all the dragons really riled up. How can you kill a Phoenix when it just keeps on coming back stronger? Shenanigans, is how. Dragon-slaying firefighter shenanigans!
I did end up liking this one a lot more than Smoke Eaters. It was partially the point of view, which was thankfully a lot less male-gazey than the first, and yet still full of the dragon (and phoenix in this case) fighting action that I had enjoyed. I liked Tamerica as a character. She was relatable, to me. She has strengths and weaknesses, and doesn’t immediately succeed at everything she does. The overall vibe I got from this one was a Ghostbusters-only-dragons, which I really liked. It’s not going to be for everyone, obviously, but what is for everyone? 😀
I listened to the audiobook, and I thought that Adenrele Ojo did a great job with the narration. She brought Tamerica and company to life for me, and made it easy to just sit there and listen to almost an entire audiobook in one work day (alas, I was not willing to stay at work another two hours to finish it out. Sorry not sorry, lol… ^_^).
So all told, I thought this book was great fun! It also stood alone pretty well. It obviously makes reference to things that happened in the first book, but not, I think, in a way that made reading that one a requirement to finding enjoyment in this one. So, anyone who was on the fence about book one who still wants some dragon-butt-kicking firefighter action can jump right in here. 3.75/5 stars!~